What do you do if you are a company with a retired series of ultra portable computers that users love and other companies start entering that niche market? You probably bring back the brand and give it a face lift.
Toshiba launched the original Libretto series of portable computers back in April 1996. The original Libretto 50 was based on a Pentium 75MHz CPU with 16MB RAM, 810MB hard disc and 6.1" TFT display. Their final model on the old series, the Libretto 110, was based on a Pentium 166MHz MMX CPU with 32MB RAM, 2.1Gb hard disc and 7.1" TFT display.
The Toshiba Libretto series is back with the introduction of a new model, the Libretto U100. This new version is powered by a Mobile Intel Pentium M Processor 753 (1.2Ghz), with 512MB RAM (256MB + 256MB DDR) and a 7.2" widescreen WXGA (1280x768 resolution) LCD. An external monitor is supported with resolutions up to 2,048 x 1536 pixels. The graphics controller is based on an Intel 855GME chipset, with 16 to 64 MB (shared).
The screen is just the minimum size for work at such high resolutions. I recommend changing the font size on your configuration to make it easier to read the content on the screen. It is also very light as you would suspect. At only 790g (thanks to a Magnesium Alloy chassis) and measuring 210mm x 165mm x 29.8mm the Libretto U100 easily fits in a man bag – and I actually had it with me a couple of times while out and everyone was surprised at the size of this notebook.
Imagine having a Latte and taking this small notebook out of a bag, connecting to a Wi-Fi hotspot and work. I had some people come to me and ask about this Libretto when doing this.
Storage space is provided by a 2.8” 60GB hard disc and optical disc is available through a dock station. The Libretto U100 comes with HDD Shock Protection with motion sensor and the computer can “feel” when it is dropped and park the hard disc heads. Interesting, but better disable the warning message that comes up every time you move it.
The DVD Super-Multi Dockable Drive read/writes both CD and DVD (Read: CD-ROM (24x), CD-R (24x), CD-RW (10x), DVD-ROM (8x), Write: CD-R (24x). CD-RW (10x), DVD-R (2x), DVD-RW (2x), DVD+R (2.4x), DVD+RW (2.4x), DVD-RAM (2x)).
The optical drive is quiet during playback of movies and overall the size of this notebook is perfect for those trips where the in-flight entertainment is not up to the level we expect. With a battery life of up to 5 hours it is easy to use it for personal entertainment.
In terms of sound, it comes with built-in stereo speakers, Direct 3D Sound, DirectSound, DirectMusic.
It is nice, but a little too small. The keys in the 84 key keyboard are too small for my fingers and typing too fast would mean missing some letters. But I think it is easy to get used to it after some time.
The cursor is controlled by an Accupoint Pointing device, those little blue buttons. On the right of the pointing device there is a fingerprint scanner.
The fingerprint-based security software is quite good and allows you to enroll multiple fingers for Windows authentication and password management. It provides visual and audio feedback. Quite cool to hear “User authorized” when you swipe your finger on power on.
Other stuff to note, but not much different from (bigger) notebooks: Wi-Fi (802.11g), Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, 10/100 Ethernet, V.92 56K Data/Fax Modem. And plenty of expansion: 1x PC Card slot (Type II) with CardBus support; 1x SD card slot; 2x USB 2.0, IEEE1394 Firewire.