Inside Toshiba has equipped the Libretto with an Intel Pentium M Ultra-Low Voltage CPU running at 1.2GHz. This is supported by 512MB of memory and a 60GB hard disk – pretty reasonable specs for a device this size.
Bundled with the Libretto is a docking base containing a DVD writer and, well and nothing as it happens. I found this a little odd, since it would have made sense to build some port replication into this base, especially considering there’s no D-SUB port on the machine itself. The base does have multimedia controls so you can playback your media files without resorting to using the trackpoint, but I do feel that Toshiba has missed an opportunity of adding some extra functionality.
Performance wise, the Libretto is neck and neck with the Fujitsu-Siemens LifeBook P1510, turning in a SYSmark 2002 score of 154 compared to 152. When it comes to battery life the Libretto edges ahead with 229 minutes, compared to 190 – although the Fujitsu-Siemens does ship with an extended battery, but Lars didn’t have time to test it before FS snatched the machine back.
When it came to finding a price for the Libretto I was surprised at the broad spread. I found one price near £1,500, while the best price was under £1,200! Working on the latter price, the Libretto looks like a reasonable option for the mobile worker, but when you throw the keyboard into the equation, the attraction soon melts away.
The Libretto was a landmark product when Toshiba launched it back in the late nineties, but unfortunately it hasn’t worn well. With devices like the Sony TX1XP offering better keyboard and screen, longer battery life and an integrated optical drive with an added weight of only 250g, the Libretto seems somewhat out of its depth. Throw the Fujitsu-Siemens LifeBook P1510 into the mix and the Libretto is in even more trouble. Ultimately, despite stiff competition, with the right ergonomics the Libretto could have been great. Unfortunately the keyboard is very poor and brings the whole package down – I defy anyone to type at speed while maintaining a decent level of accuracy.