Toshiba Libretto W100 review: First look

Reviews 22 Jun, 2010

We take a look at Toshiba's dual screen Libretto W100 to see what all the fuss is about.

Verdict: 
The Libretto isn’t a completely new form factor for Toshiba. Indeed, the company has had sub-notebook Libretto models for many years, although they haven't always been on sale outside Japan. The bet is that the interest in tablets and the excellent touch support in Windows 7 will make this unusual and flexible design more mainstream. All your favourite Windows apps will run well on the W100. What it really needs are apps that show off its unique strengths.

Any resemblance between the rumoured Microsoft Courier device and Toshiba’s new twin-screen multi-touch tablet is entirely co-incidental, according to Toshiba, which claims that the Libretto W100 was developed independently.

This is the tablet that Toshiba hinted at back in the spring and it’s certainly different from anything else on the market. The two 7in screens open like a normal notebook, Windows 7 starts up on the top screen like any other notebook and the second screen looks like a keyboard.

In fact it looks like six different keyboards. Tap an icon and it switches between a standard keyboard, one with larger keys, one with the full function key layout, a numeric keypad and two styles of split keyboard that let you hold the Libretto in both hands and type with your thumbs instead of sitting down at a table.

Haptic feedback and XT9 predictive text help make your typing more accurate and the choice of keyboards means you can switch to whichever one suits you best. There are also dedicated buttons for cut, copy, paste and other handy tools, although with a touch screen the virtual track pad seems a little pointless.

It’s not as good as a physical keyboard, but we found it more accurate than the keyboards on many 7in netbooks.

Although you get all the touch features of Windows 7, like gestures to copy, paste, undo and open jump lists, you don’t get one key feature. There’s no pen with the W100 and we couldn’t get handwriting to work - athough you can use your finger to draw diagrams in Office 2010 or finger painting in Paint. Toshiba says the screen size wouldn’t suit handwriting and you’d have to keep a stylus in the leather case, but it’s a shame not to get the option.

Specifications: 

• Intel Pentium U5400

• RAM: 2 GB DDR3

• 62 GB SSD

• Two 17.8cm (7") multi-touch displays with LED backlight, 1,024 x 600 pixels

• WLAN (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, Mobile Broadband (optional)

• 1x USB 2.0

• MicroSD-Card Reader

• Virtual software keyboard

• Built-in accelerometer to automatically switch from book mode to laptop mode

• 1 megapixel webcam

• Toshiba LifeSpace for dual screen user interface

• Toshiba Media Controller

• Size: 202mm x 123mm x 30.7mm

• weight: 819g

• battery life: 3-4 hours

• Windows 7 Home Premium

• Toshiba Eco Utility

• Energy Star 5.0 qualified