Toshiba celebrates 25 years of laptops with new Portege, Libretto models

At the quarter-century mark, Toshiba is releasing a pair of laptops, including the dual touch-screen Libretto W100.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
2 min read
The Toshiba Portege R700. Toshiba

The very first laptops started turning up about a quarter of a century ago, so it's natural that we'd start seeing some nostalgic looks back (we've seen some vintage models recently from the Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba archives). Toshiba is taking it one step further by releasing a pair of 25th-anniversary laptops.

The first is the Portege R700, a follow-up to one of our favorite laptops, the Portege R500. While that 2007 model had a 12-inch display and was one of the last vestiges of the $2,000-plus ultraportable category (before Netbooks came in and provided a less expensive small-screen option), this new version is an almost entirely different animal. It's a 13-inch model, still light and portable, but not in the same way the R500 was (especially in its solid-state-drive version).

Instead, the R700 comes in at under $1,000, weighs 3 pounds and is about one inch thick, while still including an optical drive. Unlike the latest 13-inch MacBooks, the R700 uses Intel's newer Core i-series CPUs. The magnesium alloy casing is reinforced with a honeycomb rib design, which, when we handled a demo system recently, felt much sturdier than the old Portege R500, which suffered from some serious lid flexing.

The business version of the R600 starts at $999 and includes a port replicator connection on the bottom, while the consumer version (differentiated by a blue lid) is $899, and includes Intel's Wireless Display technology, which uses a sold-separately receiver to transmit video signals to your TV.

Toshiba's Libretto W100. Toshiba

The second 25th-anniversary laptop from Toshiba is a bit more of a showpiece. The Libretto W100 is a limited-run touch-screen laptop that pays homage to Toshiba's long-running line of nearly handheld-size laptops. This new version is particularly eye-catching, as it replaces the typical keyboard/screen combo with two touch-sensitive panels, hinged in the middle.

One of the two 7-inch displays acts as a normal laptop screen, while the other can display a usable keyboard (a bit like the one of the iPad), or one of six other navigation layouts. We tried a demo unit out recently, and while it's probably not going to be a practical substitute for traditional laptop keyboard anytime soon, it's an interesting look at the idea of a virtual keyboard. Helpfully, a built-in accelerometer can rotate the screens automatically as needed when viewing in portrait mode.

The W100 has an Intel Pentium U5400 processor and has 2GB of RAM and a 62GB SSD. It isn't being pitched as a mainstream device and only a limited number will be available online from Toshiba and online retailers. There's no official price yet, but it'll be north of $1,000.

Toshiba's Portege R700 and Libretto W100

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