I don't mean to alarm you, but I think I may have just disrupted the time-space continuum. The dual-screen Toshiba Libretto W100 (that looks to already be sold out in the US) arrived at Pocketables HQ a little while ago, and I'm quite certain that Conics has stolen it from the future and brought it back to the present day. It is seriously the stuff of futuristic gadget dreams.
I was actually just planning to do a standard unboxing today but now that the W100 is in my hands, I have no choice but to do much more. I'll put up a few more quick posts about the device later today, but in the meantime you'll find the unboxing, some size comparisons, and my first impressions below.
Considering what's inside it, you'd think the W100's box would be able to shoot lasers or at least open itself, but no. It's just a nondescript cardboard box.
Inside the main box is a long cardboard sleeve, a smaller cardboard box, and the W100 wrapped in plastic and wedged between pieces of foam.
The power brick (19V) and cord are in the cardboard sleeve.
In the small box are various manuals and paperwork (in Japanese), the extended battery (the W100 ships with both the standard and extended batteries), and a hard case reminiscent of a VHS cassette tape box.
It's of much higher quality than that, of course, and is actually more like a leather-covered sleeve for books. Libretto literally means "little book" in Italian, after all, so the case isn't completely random. I don't think it's practical for everyday use, though.
The W100 is equipped with two 7-inch WSVGA capacitive touchscreens. The only 7-inch device I have now is the HTC Shift, so here it is with that.
The Shift is a little bigger than the W100, but its leather carrying case is actually a nice fit for it.
I didn't round up a lot of gadgets like I usually do because I'm not putting together a dedicated size comparisons post, so here's the W100 with a few gadgets I had within easy reach (Dell Streak, Viliv N5, and UMID BZ).
So what's the Libretto W100 really like in person?
It's still too soon to make any definitive comments but so far, I think it's fun and impressive but not without some issues. To that end, here are some notes (in no particular order) that I jotted down during my first 20 minutes with the device.
Please note that these are just first impressions that could change as I use the W100 more; these are not firm conclusions and observations/opinions from a review.
- The "cool factor" is off the charts. This is definitely something that will turn heads and that you'll want to show off.
- Build quality is high and screen hinge is strong.
- All of the main components (SSD, motherboard, etc) are in the top half of the device, which makes it top heavy. Depending on the angle of the screen, it will tip over backwards when set on a flat surface.
- Top half gets hot pretty quickly. You don't touch that part much, though, so I wouldn't call it a dealbreaker. It may be an issue with extended portrait mode use, but it doesn't impact landscape use (on a desk or in your hands) very much.
- Screen isn't very bright. Max brightness looks like 1/2 to 3/4 brightness to me.
- Touchscreen could stand to be more responsive/sensitive. Even when calibrating, I had to tap the same spot several times for it to register.
- Users will definitely be fumbling around in the beginning, pressing the wrong buttons and trying to find out how to do things. This is not a pick-and-use device that anyone could jump right into without instruction.
- Vents are on the top of the W100, which doesn't look very nice to me.
- Screen rotation lags.
- The screens are so versatile. They can be used as one larger screen (where content is spread across both screens) or be displaying and doing completely different things.
- Windows on one screen can be sent to another with a simple tap.
- Several different on-screen keyboards (keyboard is accessible through the hardware keyboard button and also a small icon in a tray on the bottom).
- Split keyboard works well. Full keyboard is too small for comfortable touch typing, but multi-finger typing is easily possible.
- Keyboard doesn't automatically launch when tapping a text field. Maybe there's a setting to change this.
- Keyboards offer haptic feedback.
- Virtual touchpad and mouse buttons are great.
- In portrait mode, it's easy for right-handed people to mistake the power button for the home button. I accidentally put the W100 to sleep several times.
- Battery life won't impress anyone. ~2 hours with the standard battery and ~4 hours with the extended, presumably with both screens always in use.
- Japanese version comes with WiMAX but no 3G. US version doesn't have WiMAX or 3G.
- Needs more I/O ports.
- WiFi signal is strong (it has 802.11a/b/g/n). Connected to my home network (dual-band N) with no issue.
- Increasing font/icon size to 125% DPI makes Windows 7 much more usable with a finger.
- Scrolling web pages is smooth. No need for Firefox grab-and-drag add-on, as kinetic scrolling is already built in.
- I shudder at the thought of how many times this will be compared to the iPad on other sites.
- I'm wondering who this device is really for. Other than long-time Libretto fans and general gadget fanatics, who will buy this and how will they use it?
- Could the W100 replace someone's laptop or netbook? With an external Bluetooth keyboard, I think so.
Stay tuned for more Libretto W100 coverage on Pocketables.
What do you think of the W100 and to our forum members, do you think we need a W100 subforum? I've gotten a few requests for one, but I don't know how much interest is really out there.