Tag: 3D display technology

Product Review–Toshiba Satellite P750 multimedia laptop computer (Part No: PSAY3A-05F001)


I am reviewing the Toshiba Satellite P750 multimedia laptop which is Toshiba’s effort at a work-entertainment multimedia centre that would suit current needs. It is a 15” equivalent of the Satellite P770 which is on a par with the Dell XPS L702x multimedia laptop. It is also infact the first Sandy-Bridge-driven laptop of this mainstream size to have the full “multimedia” works to become available for review on this site.

Toshiba Satellite P750 multimedia laptop

– this configuration
Processor Intel Sandy Bridge i7-2630M Cheaper options – all Intel Sandy Bridge
cheaper options:
4Gb or 6Gb
shared with graphics
Secondary Storage 750Gb hard disk Blu-Ray burner, SD card reader.
cheaper option – DVD burner
Display Subsystem NVIDIA GeForce GT540M with 3D Vision (1Gb display RAM) Alternate option:
NVIDIA GeForce GT540M with Optimus dual-chipset (2Gb display memory)
Screen 17” 3D widescreen (1366×768)
cheaper option
17” widescreen (1366×768)
LED-backlit LCD
Network Wi-Fi
Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet
Connectors USB 3 x USB 2.0
Video External display
Audio External audio
Operating System on supplied unit Microsoft Windows 7 Home Edition
Windows Experience Index
– this configuration
Overall: 5.9 Graphics: 6.6
Advanced Graphics: 6.6

The computer itself

Aesthetics and Build quality

The Toshiba Satellite P750 is finished in what Toshiba describes as a “metallic urban” finish. This is a dark charcoal black finish with a finished-metal texture on a plastic case. It is the same across the lid and the palmrest.

The build quality is very good for its class I would expect a lot of time of use out of this series of machines.

User interface

Toshiba Satellite P750 multimedia laptop keyboard detail

Keyboard and trackpad detail

The Toshiba is equipped with an illuminated chiclet keyboard with numeric keypad. Unlike a lot of illuminated keyboards, this only lights up when you actually use the keyboard, the same practice as observed with a lot of mobile phones. Like for most recent-issue 15” and 17” laptops, there is a proper numeric keypad. The keyboard is still roomy to use and allows you to touch-type accurately for longer periods, although it feels very slippery.

It uses a trackpad is just slightly recessed and is highlighted by an illuminated bar at the top of the trackpad area. This can still be very sensitive and cause the cursor to jump around.

The Satellite P750’s keyboard and trackpad is augmented by a Supplementary touch buttons row above the keyboard. This provides control over wireless, 3D, media play-pause, sound volume and display brightness.

Connectivity and Expandability

Toshiba Satellite P750 multimedia laptop - right hand side with Blu-Ray burner

Right-hand side with Blu-Ray burner, 2 x USB 2.0 sockets, audio input and output and power socket

The Satellite P750 laptop has three USB sockets, with one being a USB 3.0 connector for hard disks and similar applications. Unlike most other laptops I have reviewed, it doesn’t have an eSATA connection but this won’t matter if the external hard disk has a USB 3.0 connector.

The Toshiba has the same “Sleep and Charge” as the previously-reviewed Portege R830 from the same stable. This is where it can use the USB 3.0 port to supply power to external devices while it is off; and can allow you to leave the mobile phone charger behind yet charge your mobile phone.

There are two 3.5mm jacks for connecting a microphone or line-level audio device; and a pair of headphones or external speakers. This Toshiba laptop can be set to become amplified speakers for a connected external audio player even if it is off through the “Sleep And Music” mode.

External displays can be connected to the Satellite P750 using the HDMI or VGA connectors, with the HDMI connector also supporting control of HDMI-CEC compliant displays and audio setups. For example, this would cause a connected Panasonic Viera plasma TV to light up with the computer’s display image when you turn this laptop on or a home-theatre receiver like the previously-reviewed Sony STR-DA5500ES to select the right input when the laptop comes on.

Toshiba Satellite P750 multimedia laptop - left-hand-side

Left hand side connections - Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, VGA, USB 3.0 with Sleep and Charge, USB 2.0 and TV antenna

The TV antenna connection is the standard Belling-Lee (PAL) connector that is part of the machine’s connection set. This avoids the need to mess with cord adaptors in order to connect regular TV-aerial setups for the TV tuner. Of course, ATSC (USA) variants would use the screw-on F connector.

Audio and Video

The Toshiba Satellite P750 uses a 2.1 speaker system that has been “worked” by Harman-Kardon. The main benefits that I have heard include a very “punchy” sound for all kinds of media playback.

I have tested this Toshiba’s 3D Vision capabilities on the demonstration material that is made available by NVIDIA and it is effective. The NVIDIA 3D glasses worked properly on their own battery and did provide the proper effect. They were able to be used by people who wear prescription or other glasses by just simply wearing them over those glasses. You should really have the laptop connected to AC power if you want to use 3D capabilities because this can drain the battery very fast.

There are variants in the Toshiba Satellite P750 Series which have the Optimus version of the NVIDIA GeForce GT540M. These only support 3D when connected to a 3D-capable display like the newer 3D flat-panel “main-lounge-area” TVs. But they have the the Optimus automatic dual-graphics modes that allow you to conserve battery runtime.

The screen front is very glossy which can be of nuisance value in brightly-lit rooms and can attract fingermarks.

The Satellite P750 is equipped with an integrated digital-TV tuner which would be configured for the market that this laptop is supplied in. Personally, I would prefer that the tuner is software-based so that it can be set by the user to work in any country that the laptop is taken to.

Battery life

The main disadavantage of using only a discrete graphics chipset is that you lose on the battery runtime. I was able to engage in mixed tasks (typing, multimedia) for around three hours before it run down. Even running a DVD would make through two and a half hours. Use of the 3D functionality also places more demand on the battery.

It may be not of concern if you often run the machine from AC power rather than the batteries.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

The Toshiba Satellite P750’s trackpad could be recessed further so it isn’t easily activated during a bout of touch-typing.

The lock slot could also be repositioned so you can use larger locking devices while the laptop is connected to external power. This may be of concern with some of the combination locks that may have their release button close to the power cable.

I would also like to see the Blu-Ray drive be a direct-insert (slot-load) type rather than the typical drawer-load which becomes a bit too ordinary, especially on a premium-tier multimedia machine.

As I have said before, the TV tuner could be software-based for round-the-world TV reception; and the software-based operation could also support newer standards like DVB-T2 which is being rolled out across Europe.


I would position the Toshiba Sattelite P750 Series laptops as multimedia work-entertainment systems for nomadic users such as those of us who sail or fly for work. The combination of the Blu-Ray player, TV tuner and self-protecting hard disk would be of benefit to university students, nurses and the like who primarily live in on-campus accommodation that has small rooms like the typical college dorm. It also has the graphics ability that would expose it to image or video creation tasks.

Of course, if you were to take the screen size and the self-protecting hard disk out of the equation, this computer would be on a par with the Dell XPS L702x that I previously reviewed.

Internationaler Funkaustellung 2011–Part 2

IFA LogoWelcome back to the second part of my report on the Internationaler Funkaustelluing 2011. In the first part, I had touched on home appliances briefly but had focused on computing technologies like smartphones, tablets, laptops and the home network.

Now I am focusing on consumer electronics which mainly is focused around digital cameras, TV and home-theatre / hi-fi technology.

Consumer Electronics


3D is still being considered a dominant technology with some of the cameras being equipped with two lenses and sensors. As well, Samsung have also fielded a camera with two screens – one on the back and one on the front.

The camera manufacturers are releasing more of the small interchangeable-lens cameras. These are typically in the “non-SLR” style with the screw-on lens mounts. It is leading towards the appearance of more compact cameras with high-factor zoom lenses. Here, these cameras are being pitched mainly as  mainly “bridge-cameras” which exist between the “point-and-shoot” camera and the SLR camera and have many adjustable photography factors including semi-automatic and manual exposure modes.

An issue that may affect the launch of digital photography equipment at this or subsequent IFA shows is the up-and-coming Photokina photo/film/video trade shows. These shows appear in Cologne at the end of September and they are often seen as a major launchpad for anything to do with photography or videography. A valid point may be raised about whether companies with digital photo / video equipment show their equipment at both shows, launching consumer equipment in Berlin and “enthusiast” equipment (DSLRs, high-end camcorders) in Cologne.

Of course, there hasn’t been much interest in using network technology for photo and video equipment when interlinking with computer equipment.

TV and Display Technologies

There are a few key trends that are occurring concerning the television receivers being promoted at the IFA.

One is the DVB-T2 digital-TV standard which is to launch in Germany. This revision of the DVB-T terestrial digital-TV standard will provide for more HDTV with H264 video. It will also allow for advanced interactive TV (HbbTV, VoD) platforms, robust terrestrial reception as well as more services per TV channel.

3D is still a dominant technology with Toshiba and other names promoting glasses-free 3D viewing where their sets use a polarizing screen and support an ersatz 3D effect for regular content. Haier are also using a similar technology for their 3D Internet-enabled set. LG are running 3D TVs that work with cinema-style passive polarizing glasses. ,

For content, Deutsche Telekom  is providing “Entertain 3D” channels as part of their Entertain IPTV service. This requires the  Deutsche Telekom “Entertain” set-top box and access to a VDSL2 next-gen service. There will be the magazine channels as well as highlight footage from Bundesliga football (soccer) matches as well as the “usual suspects” – those popular 3D action and animation films from Hollywood.

Another key trend is Internet-driven smart TV. This is with access to the Social Web, video-on-demand / catch-up TV amongst other interactive-TV services using the home network.

Hama are releasing at this year’s IFA an Android STB with access to full Android Honeycomb service  on the TV screen. This time, the set-top is able to connect to the network via WiFi, or Ethernet.

Samsung are pushing the Social TV agenda. This allows you to view TV and chat on the Social Web at the same time with a button to press to focus on Facebook/Twitter/Google Talk chat streams or TV content. There is also the ability to use a Samsung smartphone or Galaxy Tab as the TV keyboard once you install the appropriate app. Of course, there is a Samsung TV remote that has a QWERTY keyboard and LCD display to facilitate the chat function.

Samsung have also released an app for their Android smartphones and tablets which allows the image on their Smart TVs to be shown on these devices.

Sharp have contributed to the smart-TV race with the AQUOS Net+ app subsystem for their TVs. As well Metz are showing a network-enabled 3D TV with HbbTV broadcast-broadband support and a 750Gb PVR.

There was an increased number of TVs that had the 21:9 aspect ratio being launched at this show. This aspect ration was more about a “cinema-screen” aspect ration that was often used with a lot of movies since the 1950s.

Even the projector scene is going strong at this year’s IFA.

Acer are showing the H9500BD 3D Full-HD home-theatre projector which is to be released October. This unit can work at 2000 ANSI Lumen with a 50000:1 contrast ratio. It fixes the keystone problem that often happens with projectors by using a lens-shift setup rather than digitally skewing the image; as well as a high zoom lens that permits a big image with a short throw and also has wall-colour-correction for projection to non-white-walls  It is expected to sell in Europe for €2499 recommended retail price

Sony are also launching a 3D-capable projector with a 150,000:1 contrast ratio and use of lens-shift as the keystone correction method. The big question that I have about this projector is how bright this projector is in ANSI lumens.

Canon also launched the LV8235 which is an ultra-short-throw DLP projector. Here, this projector can throw a 2-metre (80”) usable image projected with it being positioned at 32cm (1 foot) from the wall or screen.

As well, Sony had used this show to premiere a set of 3D personal video goggles. Here, these glasses show 3D video images on separate OLED screens, mainly for use with personal video players or games systems.

Home Theatre and Hi-Fi

There has been some activity concerning networked home-theatre and hi-fi equipment.

Harman-Kardon are launching a 3.1 HTIB with has an integrated 3D Blu-Ray player and uses a soundbar as its main speaker.

Loewe have used this event to launch the Solist single piece audio system. This has a CD player and access to FM and Internet radio broadcasts as far as I know. It can connect to home networks via WiFi, Ethernet or HomePlug and uses a 7.5” touch screen or Loewe Assist remote control as its control surface.

Sony have launched the SNP-M200 network media player which is the follow on from the SNP-M100, It offers 3D video support and an improved Facebook and Twitter experience. Of course, like the SNP-M100, it has the full DLNA Home Media Network credentials including being a controlled device. They also launched another Blu-Ray player in the form of the BDP-S185 which supports 3D Blu-Ray playback and access to online content.

As well, Pioneer have launched some network-enabled hi-fi equipment including a component network-audio player for use with existing hi-fi setups. Philips are using this show also to launch a Streamiun MCi8080 music system with DAB+ and Internet radio, a CD player as well as network audio. Intenso have launched their Movie Champ HD media player which is one of those media players that play off USB (or the home network). But this one can properly play 3D video in to 3D-enabled TVs.

It is also worth noting that Jarre Technologies is a newcomer to the scene of “worked” audio reproduction technologies. This firm has been set up by Jean Michel Jarre, known for setting the tone of European ambient-music with Equinoxe and Oxygene, and is now following the same path as Dr. Dre’s “Beats Audio” name. Here, they are launching their highly-powerful iPad speaker tower which can work comfortably at 10,000 watts and uses “speaker tubes” but would need a large area to perform at its best. Here, this product is all about proving Jarre Technologies metal and I wonder when there will be premium and multimedia laptop computers that have their audio subsystems tuned by Jarre Technologies on the market and who will sell these laptops.

Germany is now heading towards DAB+ digital radio broadcasting which yields an improvement over the original DAB digital-radio technology that it worked with before. Here, this technology uses AAC audio coding, allows for an increased number of broadcast services per multiplex and, from my experience with the Australian setup as I used many DAB+ enabled Internet radios on review, provides for highly-robust digital radio reception. It may be easier for set manufacturers to launch DAB+ digital radios in to this market due to them having DAB+ radios already on Australian and other DAB+ markets; and UK readers may find that their newer digital radios may be already set up for DAB+ technology even though the UK is working on “original specification” DAB radio.


The Internationaler Funkaustellung 2011 has reinforced the role of the networked home especially as Europe takes to the newer Internet technologies like 4G wireless broadband, IPTV and next-generation broadband service.