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WinLab Reviews
Toshiba Libretto 50CT
Libretto Redefines Ultra-Portable

-- by Jim Forbes

Those of you looking for the portability of a handheld PC combined with full Windows 95 functionality will be singing the praises of the Toshiba Libretto 50CT. This mini-notebook weighs 1.9 pounds (travel weight is 2.8 pounds) and measures 1.4 by 8.3 by 4.5 inches. It runs Windows 95 and, given its size, has a remarkable configuration.

The Libretto ships with an 810MB (nominal) hard disk, the mobile version of Intel's 75MHz Pentium processor, 16MB of EDO memory, a 6.1-inch (640x480-pixel) active-matrix color screen (with very crisp display), a VL local bus video controller with 1MB of EDO memory and a Yamaha OPL3-based Sound Blaster-compatible sound system. An external 3.5-inch floppy disk drive is standard.

External connections include one PC Card slot and a serial infrared port. A supplied port expander connector adds a serial, ECP parallel and video connector.

The Libretto lets you install mainstream applications, including e-mail and products like Microsoft Office (not an option with Windows CE or PDAs). The 80-key keyboard is much better than those supplied with WinCE Handheld PCs (HPCs), but still feels cramped in extended use.

In our battery tests, the lithium ion power cell provided 1.5 hours of operation. The Libretto's performance is comparable to notebooks available two years ago: 131 MIPS, 10MB-per-second cached-disk-throughput and 8.4MPixel-per-second video throughput. It ran our new Word and Excel benchmarks in 239 and 523 seconds, respectively.

Libretto's strength isn't wicked performance, but extreme portability. This is the smallest Windows 95 machine we've seen. Due to its high price, it won't replace the Philips Velo 1 (WinCE HPC) currently on our WinList, but if you need a fully capable e-mail and Windows 95 platform, the Libretto could be for you.


Toshiba Libretto 50CT

Bottom Line: Lightweight, Windows 95 alternative to CE-based machines
Price: $1,999
Platforms: 95
Pros: Better performance than Windows CE-based units; full Win95 functionality
Cons: Price; keyboard
Strongest Rival: Philips Velo 1

Toshiba America, Computer Systems Division, 800-457-7777, 714-583-3000. Winfo #781

Windows Magazine, October 1997, page 136.

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