Configuration and Accessories
Traditionally for this class of devices, the Libretto U100-S213 does not come with too many accessories. Besides the notebook, you only receive an external universal power adapter (100-240V, 50/60Hz), a Li-Ion battery (10.8V x 3400mAh), documentation, a registration card, a docking station with a DVD-burner, and various cables and adapters. You don’t get a bag or pouch, but this sub-notebook can be easily carried in a knapsack or a handbag.
The compact power adapter is rated for a wide range of input voltages and for both frequency standards (European – 50Hz and American – 60Hz). So you’ll only have to take care about adapters with appropriate plugs on your foreign voyages.
There’s a curious thing included with the power adapter:
When put on the power cable, it increases its inductance and thus slows down the transition process that occurs as you plug the cord into the wall outlet and is often accompanied with a spark. In other words, this small detail reduces the risk of electrical damage to the power circuit. It’s strange they didn’t put it on the cable right at the factory.
The included battery is rather large, both in dimensions and in capacity. The most annoying thing is that part of the battery protrudes from the rear panel of the notebook spoiling the appearance of the product somewhat and making it less portable. On the other hand, this battery can ensure a long time of autonomous work even at high computational loads and the maximum screen brightness (as you will see in the tests section below).
A feature that distinguishes the Libretto U100-S213 from other similar models is its docking station with a universal DVD-recorder.
The docking station is connected via Toshiba’s exclusive connector. It is very handy that you can disconnect the station “on the fly”, i.e. without powering the notebook down. To do so, you should use a special lever and look at the indicator – when it goes out, the station can be undocked.
The buttons on the front panel of the docking station control the playback of audio discs. There’s a special lever that locks these buttons to avoid accidental presses during transportation.
I consider the lack of S-Video or RCA connectors as a drawback of this notebook. One video output is available, but it is non-standard and you have to use the enclosed adapter for the ordinary D-Sub output (another accessory you may want to take with you on your trips).
The two-mode cooling system deserves my praises, however. The centrifugal blower is halted at low loads. When there’s high load on the computer (which seldom occurs at everyday office work), the noise is audible, but not very discomforting. The exhaust opening is located on the left, so as I said above, the hot air won’t be blowing at your hand if you attach a right-handed mouse to the notebook.
As you can see, the results are quite expectable. They are not very impressive as they are, but this model outperforms many other notebooks that have taken part in this test session. Don’t also forget about the size of the computer.
The Toshiba Libretto U100-S213 seems to be a reasonable compromise between size and configuration. It is not free from such common drawbacks of sub-notebooks as small keyboard keys and a small screen with a high resolution. Some people may also find it inconvenient to control the cursor with the pointing stick.
The main purpose of this cutie is to replace a full-size notebook when the latter is too big. The Libretto doesn’t even require a bag – you can easily put it into your suit pocket. Don’t also undervalue the opportunity to use this notebook as a portable system case: if you attach an external monitor and a keyboard with mouse, the Libretto U100-S213 will become a typical office computer (it has enough memory and disk space and a powerful enough processor to perform everyday office tasks). This notebook will be most useful on trips, for example, as you can copy the snapshots you’ve made with your digital camera to it and edit them right on the spot and then burn them to optical discs or send via the Internet (the Libretto U100-S213 offers good networking opportunities for that).