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I can still remember getting my hands on the origingal Toshiba Libretto. It was a Japanese import that Toshiba had supplied to Computer Buyer well before the UK launch, meaning that I had to contend with a Japanese keyboard and Windows installation, but even so, I couldn't help but be amazed at what Toshiba had achieved. Back in 1997 the idea of ultra-portable notebooks was still a pretty new concept, so when a tiny, fully functional PC arrived on the scene it was bound to cause a stir. But here in 2005 things are somewhat different. The ultra-portable notebook is commonplace, and mobile workers expect full functionality from a device as light as a feather. So how does the Libretto measure up in a modern environment?
One thing is for sure, the Libretto still gets a reaction when you take it out of your bag. Pulling such a small PC out in public always elicits curious glances and much over the shoulder peering. You see, even in today’s climate, the Libretto is still pretty small. Talking of size, let’s get the basics out of the way. The Libretto measures in at 210 x 165 x 33.4mm (WxDxH) and weighs a feather light 980g. Now that’s pretty impressive, but you should also consider that the Fujitsu-Siemens LifeBook P1510 weighs in at 1kg on the nose, while the super svelte Sony VAIO X505 weighs only 820g.
So, the Libretto isn’t the lightest mobile computer around, but it is very small. That said, it’s not as small as the Sony VAIO Type U or the OQO model 1, but then the former doesn’t have a keyboard and the latter has a qwerty thumb-board. But having a keyboard is one thing, having a usable keyboard is something else altogether.