Toshiba Libretto W100 preview

The Toshiba Libretto W100 made a guest appearance on the Engadget Show last week, and since we got to spend a bit more time with the dualscreen laptop we thought it was only right to release some more impressions into the ether. We also got confirmation from Toshiba that the somewhat-of-a-concept-PC will be hitting retail channels in August, including Amazon, and will cost $1,100. It may be one of the only dualscreen tablets on the market, but no matter how you break it down that price seems a little outrageous. But you wouldn't make up your mind before reading some further impressions and watching a close up video of the screens working in tandem, would you? Well then, we'll see you after the break. %Gallery-96145%

The Libretto W100's external hardware design is exactly the same as we described it in our original hands on -- it's a cute little system, though a bit thick. We're still going to point fingers at its Intel Pentium CPU for the heat coming out of the top of the device, however. The fan does seems to be working overtime, but the whole thing still gets rather toasty -- Toshiba assures us that this is one of the issues it's rigorously working on. The accelerometer does turn the device into a e-reader of sorts, but it took a few seconds to adjust the orientation.

It's on the software front where we've seen major improvements, and the two screens sure do seem to be working as more of a team. To start Toshiba has put controls throughout the whole Win 7 OS -- on every window there's two added controls to the left of the minimize button. The first lets you extend the specific window across both screens, while the other moves the window either to the top or bottom screen. Beyond those controls there's also a home button on the right edge that brings up a shortcut menus on the bottom panel. The software is fairly snappy and helpful for launching programs, making OS tweaks, etc. However, for the most part we used the bottom screen as a keyboard. As you'll see in the video, Toshiba's come up with six different keyboard options, but we're preferential to the split one that allows for thumb typing. In addition to the keyboards, there's also a touchpad button that brings up a small touchpad area that functions just like a regular touchpad -- as ridiculous as it sounds to have a touchpad on a touchscreen, it's actually pretty helpful if you want to dig through narrower menus.

So, what's our overall takeaway after spending an afternoon with the W100? It's definitely working better than the model we saw a few months back, but even when it did work there's not much you can do with it. It's neat as a web surfing device, but very few things take advantage of the two screens -- for instance, we'd like to see a compelling e-reading app (eh hem Toshiba Book Place). In the end -- even if Toshiba gets all the hardware and software kinks worked out -- we're far from convinced that there's a place for the W100 in our lives for $1,100.