Toshiba ac100

It's never easy to guess which direction the tech industry will take next. Currently it's looking like tablets and 3D are the next big things, but in such a period of transition it's very hard to tell.

It's not surprising, therefore, that manufactures take the odd stab in the dark, hoping to strike gold with a device such as the AC100. This is how, after all, Asus kick-started the netbook market with the Eee PC a few years back.

For all its failings the AC100 succeeds in that you can carry around the internet with you, and access it whenever and wherever you are.

Unfortunately it fails because the execution of Android 2.1 on the AC100 is awkward and clumsy. This makes the experience equally awkward and clumsy, and it's not one we'd pay £329 to repeat.

We liked

The AC100 offers excellent portability. The impressive battery life, tiny form factor and durability of the build make this a device ready for the road.

The inclusion of a 3G module is also great, meaning you can browse the web whenever you're in suitable coverage, giving you plenty of flexibility to carry out your work wherever you are.

The Nvidia Tegra platform works great, and provides enough power for the AC100 to work fluidly at all times – very impressive.

The AC100's screen is also decent, and typing on the keyboard is largely a pleasure.

We disliked

The implementation of Android isn't the best we've seen. The operating system loses it's intuitiveness and fluidity without touch inputs, and the AC100 admirably demonstrates this.

Things aren't helped by the number of different keys and buttons the AC100 employs to control the OS, and it just goes to show there's a good reason why tablets tend to run Android (and similarly tailored software) while netbooks stick to Windows 7.

We also missed Android's Market apps store.

Verdict

If you want a device for carrying the web around with you, and you don't want a tablet and can't be bothered with a Windows 7 powered netbok, then the AC100 may be for you.

There's no denying it works and that you can browse the internet on it, but it's how it goes about doing this that most disappoints.

Especially as the AC100 could have been great, it still has lots going for it – the most crucial being excellent portability.

For us, however, the poor implementation of Android 2.1 remains a deal breaker.

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