08-30-2010 03:49 PM
I received my Toshiba Libretto W105 (the dual screen computer) today. So far the quality of my user experience is mixed.
(There isn't a Libretto forum, apparently, so I'm posting here. Feel free to move this post if necessary.)
Is the Libretto an iPad killer? No.
Is it what I expected? Mostly.
Someone will probably post videos on YouTube for Libretto unboxing, startup, and so on. I don't expect to post videos or photos except to demonstrate something about the user experience.
Notes & Caveats
I'm a full-time .NET programmer and GUI designer, and I've designed and implemented zooming user interfaces. I pay close attention to usability: responsiveness, text size, control size (such as button size), menu design, color palette, accessibility, smoothness of transitions, and so on.
Our household has an iPad, and I've been using an iPhone since summer 2007, about half a year after it was first released. I wanted a Libretto so that I could write touch-enabled Windows applications for a small device.
Be aware that although I'll post mostly negative comments, I'm glad I bought the device, and I look forward to using it and writing software to run on it.
Libretto Startup & Login
It's unfortunate that the first experience of the device is the standard Windows 7 setup. The dialogs and controls haven't been resized for the device, so the controls are tiny. It'd be easier to use a stylus than a finger.
When you log in, only the top screen is available. The keyboard for password entry does not occupy the full width of the screen, so the buttons are quite small. The visual feedback for this password keyboard is not good: when you press a key, your finger blocks the view of the key as it lights up briefly to indicate you've pressed it.
A stylus--if it would work--would be a better choice for password entry. Once you've logged in you have access to the keyboards that appear in the bottom screen, and those keyboards are much better.
Setup may be the first time you discover that the point you believe you are touching and the point where the touch is registered can be distant enough to cause mis-hits. This is compounded by the problem of the small buttons.
The Touch Experience in General
The responsiveness and accuracy of touch on either screen is just okay. Windows 7 support for touch doesn't compare favorably to touch on the iPhone and iPad, but that's Microsoft's problem.
To get a key press to register on a virtual keyboard on the bottom screen, I sometimes have to thump a virtual key fairly hard. It can take several tries to get the keyboard switch in the upper right corner of the bottom screen to register a hit. The problem may be a mis-hit rather than a lack of sensitivity.
The toolbar buttons at the top of the bottom screen are too small. I'd appreciate having slightly taller buttons even if that meant having fewer free pixels for the virtual keyboard and Bulletin Board and such.
When you touch the top screen, the lack of sensitivity means the screen can bounce a bit when you touch it. If you use your other hand or leg to support the screen then this is less of a problem.
There may well be a means to adjust touch sensitivity, but this setup feature doesn't jump out at you.
The more one needs to refer to a user manual, the worse the design is.
Applications and Widgets
The image and video capture applet is okay, but by default the colors are desaturated and the images don't look that good. Perhaps with bright light the images would look acceptable.
I started up the books app. None of the free books interested me, so I checked out the user guide. The text of the user guide was too small to be readable. After several attempts I still couldn't figure out how to render the text large and clear enough to be readable, so I closed the books app in frustration.
It's not immediately obvious why one needs the photo rotating/stretching feature in the Bulletin Board. The responsiveness isn't that good, and the way in which the image is pinned at the top center rather than the top left is odd. Removing the pin causing the image to "fall away". Is the image deleted? Retrievable? I guess I'll find out later.
There's a zoom feature of sorts--and zoom is desperately needed--but it doesn't behave the way I would expect.
The box included a glossy one page brochure: "Join the exclusive libretto (R) Owners Club!"
The website listed on the brochure doesn't exist. I called tech support to find out that, rather than visit
www.tais.librettoclub.com (do not use!)
Libretto owners should instead visit
There you can "register", which means
I was hoping to submit comments that the developers could read. Apparently it could be "several weeks" (?) before an additional survey is sent out. If that survey doesn't allow for "free form" answers I'm not sure it'll be worth filling out.
In general I'm surprised at the number of little goofs associated with the product rollout. Using the "early adopter" label doesn't excuse some of these oversights.
Oddities include the following:
In many ways I enjoy the Libretto. I'm not going to send it back (though the thought occurred to me), and I won't sell it. Although the user interaction is not on par with the iPad, it may be unfair to compare the two. The Libretto meets my basic need to have a touchscreen device running a full version of Windows.
The touch-enabled features need work. If the developers would have time and interest to improve a number of the features, this could become a very cool device. With this first version the usability is a bit disappointing. In my opinion it would be better to have fewer features and focus instead on the proper sizing of text and controls.
Toshiba may need to hire some new interaction designers to revamp the features. That or the designers should have more say over what features should be included or excluded, because there appear to be several "me too" features that aren't necessary.
The Libretto looks cool. It feels solid. I've used it to write long messages on social networking sites. (However, this forum post was written using my laptop.) The virtual keyboard may be a bit better than that of the iPad, but the virtual keyboards are the only touch-enabled feature that stand out.
If you've read this far, thanks for your patience.
08-31-2010 07:20 AM
Thanks for starting a new owner track.
The three people I spoke with at Toshiba could not help me with the s/n. I found it on my own by removing the battery.
It is a bit of a learning curve on this touch screen. It is different than others but I am getting the hang of it.
I am having a lot of trouble getting docs and such to split nicely between the two screen. Even in portrait many things are straddling the center. I have gotten a pdf to lay out correctly. Any ideas on this?
I haven't found information on syncing it to my other computers. Any ideas? I need my Google or outlook calendar to be displayed on the "opening board" that I've created.
I was delighted with the ease of setting it up on my home and work wifi networks. I used it as a back up to send docs to the printer yesterday.......
Anyone know of any sudoku games that will lay out correctly?
09-02-2010 08:37 PM
I have had my libretto now for 24 hours, and have spent a significant portion of that time interacting with it. As you described, the first was worst. The non-libretto virtual keyboard was nearly impossible to use. I was almost ready to list this thing on ebay before getting past that obstacle.
Things are getting better now, but I still have a number of issues. I hope there are actual answers to some of them, such as "is there a way to cut and paste without calling up a keyboard? Similarly, is there a way to open the pop-up menu for a link without having to invoke the keyboard or touchpad. I have not used the ipad or another tablet, but it seems there must be a positive answer to these questions for the whole tablet/touchscreen genre. Will get more practice with the touchscreen and v-keyboards as I google these questions. I'm pretty happy, BTW, because I am typing this message on the libretto now. Last night this would have been impossible.
The very tedious browser in my nook has one feature the Libretto should adopt - any-time I tap a text-input field on a website, the virtual keyboard pops up automatically. With the libretto, I will tap the text-box to put the cursor in it, then push the keyboard button, start typing away, only to find that my cursor disappeared in the process and my typing is not being recorded.Grrr!
I have done some googling on the Toshiba bulletin board software, but are we Libretto owners the only ones to have used it yet? Lot's of reviews parroting the claims of the promotional literature, but no discussion of problems with using it. I have not been able to drag anything from the top screen to a bulletin board, for instance. I did manage to put some shortcuts to office documents on a board by first saving them to the reeltime thing first, then dragging them from there. But, I think the bulletin boards are all fluff and not worth spending any more time on. Let me know if you find them actually useful for anything.
As has already been said, you can find your serial number on the bottom if you remove the battery. But there is an easier way, the first bulletin board has a todo list for getting started with your new libretto. Item 2 is to register. Clicking on that item launches a program that reveals your product # and serial #. I think I saw the registration app on the start menu somewhere as well.
Otherwise, battery lasted only 2 hours after a full charge -very disappointing! Keyboard makes grinding disk-access sound, besides the artificial key clicks. The toshiba books app doesn't seem ready for prime time, but I loaded the free Barnes&Noble Nook app for PC's and I like it better on the libretto, held in book mode, than my real Nook device, except the battery life will kill this as a true substitute for an e-reader device.
I have been waiting for a device like this since Compaq "luggables" were cutting edge. Sitting by the fireplace watching snow fall outside the window, I dreamed of a computer shaped like a comfortable book while duty called from the desktop monstrosity in the other room. I have drooled over press-releases about the next OLPC computer, the Entourage eDGe, the Courier, and then the libretto - the first viable-sounding version of my over 15 year-old dream to come to market. I didn't expect this concept computer to be perfect, but I really want to love it.
09-06-2010 07:51 AM
I've had my W105 for a week now, and am enjoying it. The form-factor is a little thicker than I had hoped, but its still great. This is so much easier to carry around comfortably unlike the iPad or a convertible tablet PC.
The screens are nice but do not to well outdoors (even in shade if its bright outside). I am having a recurring problem with the touchscreens working when it wakes from hibernation state (detailed in another thread).
The video processor is not as powerful as I had hoped, I tried the Blio reader with the "page-turning" effect on and it could barely handle it.
The fan noise is surprisingly loud for something so small. Its not like an airplane turbine or anything, I just didn't expect it from such a small device.
Maybe future models could use Liquavista Screens for lower power and outdoor use and a Tegra processor for graphics... I'm really hoping this form-factor takes off, and I hope its not Apple that does it.
12-12-2010 01:05 PM
01-12-2011 09:25 PM
You can still purchase the Japanese version from conics.net but it will cost around $1500, but you'll get WiMax and two batteries....