I think many users would want to have a high-performance, ergonomic and functional computer of a small size and low weight, but each attempt to combine all these characteristics in one product faces numerous limitations. First, it is the trivial necessity of space to put system components in. Second, it is the problem of a quiet and small cooling system with acceptable efficiency. And third, ergonomic issues arise due to the reduced size of the screen and of the keyboard keys.
At one time 12” notebooks used to be considered as having the most optimal size/performance ratio, but today more manufacturers of portable computers are offering super-compact sub-notebooks with a screen diagonal of 7-9 inches.
One device like that is going to be reviewed right here and now.
Design and Ergonomics
The small width and depth of this model contrast with its rather big height (30mm and 50mm with and without the docking station, respectively). The impression created may be that of a bulky thing, the straight lines of the contour and the overall “squareness” of the case deepening that feeling further. Yet this is just a psychological trick of our visual perception because the absolute dimensions of this notebook are really very, very small.
The Libretto U100-S213 has a plastic case with a metallic insert on the lid that serves aesthetical purposes only. The color scheme accentuates the austerity of the outline – everything is deep blue save for the top panel and the battery. The lid doesn’t have a special lock, but you can fix it firmly in any position by means of a stiff hinge.
A row of LED indicators is located on the right of the front panel:
- Power source connected/disconnected
- System on/off
- Battery charge (this indicator changes its color when the battery is depleted)
- HDD activity
- WLAN activity