Hands-On with the Toshiba Libretto W100

And Now, For the Pictures...

And Now, For the Pictures...

There's plenty to like about the Toshiba Libretto W100, and we have a bunch of pictures to prove it. Despite its prototype status, the unit was very smooth on the fingers and the included Libretto program worked like a charm with this device. While the program can be a tad sluggish, we're guessing the final product should improve on this. While it's able to re-orientate the screen using an accelerometer to gauge how the notebook is handled, it really needs to transition faster. Right now, it takes around three to four seconds, which seems too long a time. Also, the top portion of the unit heating up notably will also need to be addressed, but we're confident Toshiba will work out these issues in the final production unit.

The Toshiba Libretto W100 is a mini-notebook that fully relies on its touchscreen inputs and offers plenty of interactivity.

Dual screens means no keyboard, but the virtual keyboard works pretty well here, especially since you can just use your thumbs to type on. Convenient.

The W100's screen can be re-orientated to used as an eBook reader. There's only one orientation you can rotate to though, and it does take a while for the screen to adjust - at least on our prototype unit.

As for the hardware, the notebook is snappy and quick, as it's not using the Intel Atom processor but an Intel Pentium U5400 processor. That said, we're not sure whether included Windows 7 operating system is actually a good idea and maybe a Google Chrome OS or even an Android OS may suite better for "instant on" and quick standby purposes.  But as far as familiarity and usability goes, Toshiba has made it the Windows 7 OS quite accessible and usable despite the small iconcs onscreen. Another rant, but on the hardware side of things is that the unit won't come with 3G support. It would have been perfect to access the net from anywhere if 3G support was included. There is an USB port though, so you can still establish connectivity with a 3G USB modem dongle.

There's one USB port for a mouse or maybe a USB 3G modem for surfing while not near a Wi-Fi spot.

Our prototype W100 came with a much bigger 8-cell battery that sticks out. The normal 4-cell  battery won't jut out, but battery life may be an issue here, as we're talking about two screens that need to be powered. We didn't test the battery life due to the prototype nature of the W100, but it was mentioned that it can last for about 4 to 5 hours on the 8-cell battery.

Lastly, we must say, this is a machine that's pretty innovative, especially in light of the competition in the tablet market from Apple's iPad. That said, the Libretto W100 isn't a tablet, it's a notebook that may change how netbooks and notebooks are being designed. The canceled Microsoft Courier may have been cool, but nothing beats having a real product in your hands, and Toshiba's Libretto W100 is one to get if you're a gadget chaser. The unit will be available this September for a cool price of S$1,999. Expensive indeed, but right now, there's no other mini-notebook that can quite compare.

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