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Toshiba Libretto U100 - Toshiba Libretto

By Riyad Emeran



Our Score:


When I looked at the original Libretto I remember thinking that the keys were just too small to type on comfortably. In fact I vividly recall comparing the Libretto keyboard to the one on my Psion Series 5 PDA and coming to the conclusion that Psion had squeezed a far better keyboard into a much smaller device. To be fair though, Psion didn’t have to also squeeze in things like a hard disk, colour screen, proper CPU or memory, but the fact remained that typing on my Series 5 was easier than typing on the Libretto.

I had assumed that when Toshiba resurrected the Libretto, updating the keyboard would be paramount, but unfortunately it feels much like the one I used all those years ago. Putting it simply, the keys are just too small to type on. Now, anyone who reads my notebook reviews regularly will be aware that I usually don’t have a problem with small keyboards, since I have pretty small hands. However, the keys on the Libretto are too small even for me to type on. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not impossible to type on the Libretto, but you’re not going to be typing very fast. No matter how carefully I positioned my fingers, as soon as I tried to raise my typing rate to a respectable speed, I started miss-spelling pretty much every other word.

Unfortunately, the keyboard seems to be a victim of dimensions – in an effort to make the Libretto as small as possible, Toshiba has made it almost unusable as a mobile computer. The chassis would only have needed to be extended by a couple of centimetres to make all the difference. Making the device 2cm wider would have allowed the keys to be that little bit larger, since there’s already plenty of space in front of the keys that could have been utilised. In fact, if Toshiba had stuck to the original Libretto’s trackpoint placement, there would have been even more room for larger keys. You see the original Libretto had the trackpoint mounted in the lid, next to the screen, while the selector buttons were on the back of the lid – the new Libretto has the trackpoint and buttons located below the keys, like a traditional notebook, despite the fact that there’s plenty of space next to the screen.

Andy 3

August 6, 2008, 5:02 am

Unfortunatly, I could disagree more about the review. The Libretto is a marvellous little PC. I have owned one for quite a few years and it does everything I ask of it. Yes, the keyboard is small but you get used to it and I can type as fast as I do on a full sized keyboard.I am using the Libretto now to type this and I find the keys positive and very easy to use.

The Libretto goes everywhere with me. I use it with a aircard so email is always on, mobile IM, it plays my mp3's in the car via bluetooth and its my map(Google maps) It fits in my jacket pocket and has been worth its weight in gold by being able to download information immediately. It even acts as an alarm clock and wakes me up in the morning. I have looked at a few of the newer sub-notebooks, and frankly, can see no reason to change. No, it doesn't have built in webcam but have you tried mobile webcam outside of a 3G area in the uk? Pointless!

The only downside is Windows XP as an operating system. Its getting very slow, with lots of things loading on start up but thats my fault. I really should clear all the dross out cos it did load very quickly to start with.

It's been dropped, kicked and sat on and still works. It's the real deal for road warriors and still the best of the bunch, I think.

Bravo Toshiba!!!

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