Toshiba thrive review

There's a predicament with the Toshiba AT100: it has a certain appeal for advanced users who'll appreciate the GeForce graphics and speed, but the bulky size is a major problem.

We liked


On the plus side, the Toshiba AT100 is fast. In benchmarks, this tablet smoked the competition. That finding didn't really play out in average daily use, because Android felt about the same speed as always.

Yet, if Toshiba stays with the device and doesn't pull a TouchPad-style about-face, we may see games and other apps that take advantage of the faster speed and the GeForce graphics.

One brilliant move was to make the USB and HDMI ports full size. You can just unplug your Xbox and snap in the Toshiba AT100 when you want to watch on an HD TV. The tablet enables you to plug in a regular keyboard and mouse – this ease of adding peripherals is a win.

Battery life is another bonus. You'll find that the time you can use the tablet depends greatly on how you use it, but Toshiba claims about 11 hours of use, and we didn't see any great disparity with that claim when we used the AT100 for typical tasks including checking email and web browsing. Playing a movie continually will suck the battery power up quickly, though.

Toshiba includes a few choice apps, including QuickOffice and several card games. The Toshiba apps, when they worked, added some value for finding ebooks and catching up on the news.

We disliked


We've harped on about the hefty size, and that's the most critical black mark. There just isn't a sense of pick-up-and-go mobility with the Toshiba AT100, and it seems too bulky and heavy to lug around every day.

The screen isn't outstanding. Images looked a bit dull and washed out, without the colour depth of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or the Apple iPad 2. You can hardly see the screen in direct sunlight.

The camera doesn't add any extra features beyond the Android basics. Despite the GeForce graphics on the tablet, Android apps tended to run at roughly the same speed as on other Android tabs.

Verdict


In the end, the Toshiba AT100 is a good choice for those who really need the full-size HDMI and USB ports and can envision a day when games run faster on the GeForce graphics.

For a specific use, including customisations and future upgrades, the Toshiba AT100 offers some extra flexibility. Maybe you want to be able to claim your tablet has the highest score in several benchmarks.

Yet, the hefty size and weight (plus the passable screen quality) is the main reason we prefer other recent tablets.