Toshiba rolls out new Libretto models

Toshiba Corp. has unveiled two new models in its Libretto sub-notebook line.

Both are based on an 800MHz version of the TM5800 Crusoe processor from Transmeta Corp., have a 10-inch widescreen TFT-LCD (thin film transistor liquid crystal display) capable of 1,280 by 600 pixel resolution, 256MB of main memory, a 20GB hard-disk drive, ATI Technologies’ Mobility Radeon M graphics accelerator, an Ethernet port and slot for Toshiba’s Secure Digital (SD) memory card.

The major difference comes in an internal wireless LAN adapter in the L5/080 TNKW model, which runs the Windows XP Professional operating system. The L5/080 TNKN has no built-in wireless adapter and runs Windows XP Home Edition.

These are also two of the biggest differences between the new L5 series machines and the previous models, which did not include wireless support and ran the Windows 2000 or Windows ME operating systems. The previous model also used a slower 600MHz Crusoe processor.

The new Libretto models have a battery life of 4.5 hours on the standard battery, said the company.

Toshiba’s launch comes a week after Sony Corp. announced its new Vaio C1 and Vaio U1 sub-notebook computers. The Vaio C1 comes closest to the Libretto in terms of looks but runs a slightly faster 867MHz version of the same Crusoe processor and has a smaller 8.9-inch widescreen LCD that manages the same resolution.

The Vaio U1 is a class smaller, based on the 867MHz processor but fitted out with a 6.4-inch LCD. When Sony launched the computer, the company claimed it was the smallest Windows XP machine on the market, which is something that the new Libretto does not change.

The new Toshiba machine weighs 1.1 kilograms and measures 26.8 centimetres by 16.7 centimetres by 2.0 centimetres. In contrast, the Sony Vaio C1 comes in just a touch under 1 kilogram and measures 24.9 centimetres by 15.2 centimetres by 2.0 centimetres while the Vaio U1 is much smaller and lighter at 18.5 centimetres by 13.9 centimetres by 3.6 centimetres and 860 grams.

While the Sony machine may win on size and weight, road warriors will likely appreciate the Toshiba’s larger keyboard. The Libretto has a key pitch, the distance between the centre of one key to that of its neighbour, of 18 millimetres and a key stroke, the depth of the key push, of 2 millimetres.

In comparison, the keyboard on Toshiba’s full size and high-spec Dynabook G5 that was also announced on the same day has a 19 millimetre pitch and a 2.7 millimetre depth. The Sony C1 and U1 have a pitch of 17 millimetres and 14 millimetres respectively while the depth is 2 millimetres and 1.5 millimetres respectively.

The new machines will go on sale in Japan on Friday and the wireless model will sell for around