Toshiba Tablet (AT100)
Toshiba Tablet (AT100) review: A 10.1in Android tablet with full sized HDMI and USB ports, and a removable battery
- Full sized HDMI and USB ports
- Full SD card slot
- Removable, replaceable battery
- Poor screen quality
- No 3G connectivity
- Build quality could be improved
Toshiba's unimaginatively named "Tablet" (AT100) tries to stand out from the pack by offering a removable battery, full sized HDMI and USB ports, and a full sized SD card slot. Unfortunately, Toshiba appears to have opted for a poor quality display that suffers from ghosting and yellow tinge issues. If Toshiba can fix these issues in an upcoming software update, the Toshiba Tablet is definitely worth a look and provides a few unique features that set it apart from the competition.
Price$ 579.00 (AUD)
Toshiba Tablet (AT100): Software
The Toshiba Tablet (AT100) ships with Google's Android 3.0 Honeycomb platform. The software is largely a 'vanilla' version of the Honeycomb OS, though Toshiba does include a few extras. The Australian model of the Tablet ships with Norton Mobile Security software, the ThinkFree office suite that enables the creation of Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents, and the Toshiba Media Player that handles a wide range of video, audio and image files, and can stream music and videos to a DLNA-enabled TV. Toshiba also includes a PrinterShare app that enables wireless printing, though oddly, the app appears to be designed for Android phones rather than tablets, and only fills about a quarter of the Tablet's screen. Perhaps the best inclusion is Toshiba's File Manager app, which easily allows you to access the Tablet's internal memory, the SD card and the USB slot.
Most of the core Honeycomb functionality remains unchanged on the Toshiba Tablet. The Web browser is slick, fast and displays Flash content. It also supports tabbed Web browsing and the entire browsing experience is as close as you'll find to a full desktop or notebook computer. The standard Android on-screen keyboard is relatively comfortable to type on.
The Android Honeycomb user interface, particularly the home screen, looks striking and is easy to use, and the handling of notifications is excellent. The recent apps list also makes flicking back and forth between recently used programs a breeze. We love the flexibility of live widgets, and they are particularly useful on a tablet device with much more screen real estate than a smartphone.
Despite all Android Honeycomb's positive experiences, it is clear the software is still in its infancy. Flash video performance remains hit and miss, the browser still automatically switches to mobile versions of many Web sites, the home screen jitters if there are too many widgets on the screen, and despite the presence of pretty powerful specs, the Toshiba Tablet often felt sluggish when performing basic tasks like opening the apps drawer or switching between running applications.
A more pressing issue is the lack of third-party apps in the Android market that have been designed with a tablet in mind. Many common apps, including the official Twitter and Facebook apps, have not yet been optimised for the larger screen size the Toshiba Tablet offers. In fact, we couldn't even get the Facebook app to install on our review unit. The default Google apps like Maps, Gmail and YouTube all work excellently, and there are a few downloadable apps like Angry Birds and Pulse News Reader that filled the screen perfectly and worked without issues. However, many apps in the Android Market simply resize to fit the Tablet's screen. This issue will, of course, change over time as the platform evolves and develops, but means the current user experience offered by Android tablets is still very much a work in progress.
Toshiba Tablet (AT100): Other features
The Toshiba Tablet (AT100) has two digital cameras on board: a front-facing, 2-megapixel camera that acts as a webcam for video calling, and a 5-megapixel camera on the rear that takes still photos and records standard definition video. The lack of HD video recording is a sour point and the quality of still photos is rather poor.
The Toshiba AT100 Android tablet is powered by a 1GHz dual-core, NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, and has 1GB of RAM, along with 16GB of internal memory. Disappointingly, the Toshiba Tablet is a Wi-Fi only device with no 3G connectivity option, though a 3G model is likely to be released at a later date.
Toshiba claims the Tablet's battery is good for between seven and eight hours, but we managed about six and a half hours on average before it needed a recharge. Toshiba sells a HDMI multi dock ($89.95) that will charge the tablet and enable users to connect a hard drive or keyboard, along with a portfolio case with adjustable stand ($49.95). However, you can plug in a USB keyboard directly into the Tablet and use it for text input without the dock accessory if you wish.
The Toshiba Tablet (AT100) is available now through major Australia retailers for $579.
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