The Swiss Army Knife of Tablets: Toshiba's Thrive - HotHardware

The Swiss Army Knife of Tablets: Toshiba's Thrive

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Android Honeycomb based tablets are beginning to feel like they're a dime a dozen. 10.1-inch slates are coming out of the woodwork from a bunch of major players, and for all intents and purposes, they're built upon very similar base platforms with NVIDIA's Tegra 2 processor powering them. Capacitive touch displays, integrated 802.11 WiFi, 8 - 32GB of ROM storage, 1GB of RAM, accelerometers, gyroscopes, front and rear facing cameras and Android 3.1 -- you know the drill.

Fortunately, beyond the cookie-cutter reference platform, some manufacturers are building tablets that stand out from the crowd.  Asus stepped out early with an innovative approach to expanding the tablet experience and Samsung decided to take on the iPad 2's thin and sleek design approach but augmented that with what is arguably (or perhaps not depending on your tastes) the best looking tablet display currently on the market.

Toshiba historically has been known for building notebooks that perhaps aren't as thin and sleek as other machines but rather have a build quality and feature set that is best-of-class.  On the tablet front, Toshiba's first effort with an Android-based 10-inch slate looks to be cut from the same cloth.  The not-so svelte Toshiba Thrive showed up here recently for testing and a run-through with our usual fine-toothed comb of analysis.  How does it measure up in the buzzing hive of Honeycomb goodness already in the market?  You're about to find out.

Toshiba Thrive Android 3.1 Tablet
Specifications & Features
Display:  10.1" LED Backlight WXGA (1280x800) LCD
Capacitive Touch, Multi-Touch, Scratch resistant glass

  NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 @ 1GHz
  8GB/16GB/32GB Models

Wireless Data Network:
WLAN 802.11 b/g/n@2.4GHz

Bluetooth V3.0 + HS

2MP Pixel Front Camera, 5MP Pixel Rear Camera, 720P HD Video


Toshiba Sound Enhancements, SRS Premium Sound Stereo Speakers, High Quality


1 x 3.5mm Audio Jack (Headphone)
1 x Full-Sized HDMI 1.3a
1 x Card Reader, Full-Sized SD Card Slot
1 x Full-Sized USB 2.0 Port
1 x Mini USB Port
1 x Docking Connector
Ambient Light Sensor

Multi-Task Support :
Flash Support :

Software :

- Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) Operating System
- TOSHIBA App Place, TOSHIBA BookPlace™, TOSHIBA Media Player, TOSHIBA Service Station, TOSHIBA File Manager
- Adobe® AIR® Runtime, Adobe® Flash, Kaspersky Tablet Security, LogMeIn Ignition, Hardwood Backgammon by SilverCreek Games, Hardwood Euchre by SilverCreek Games, Hardwood Solitaire IV by SilverCreek Games, Hardwood Hearts by Silvercreek Games, Hardwood Spades by Silvercreek Games, MOG Music, Printer Share™, Quickoffice®, Need for Speed™ Shift by EA Mobile

Battery: Up to 11 hours: 23Wh Li-Polymer Battery

10.75" W x 0.62" D x 6.97" H
Warranty: 1 Year Limited Warranty

We know what you're thinking and yes, the Thrive is over a half inch thick.  But before you get your slide rule in a jam, take a good look at the type and number of ports on this tablet.  Toshiba is one of, if not the first, manufacturer we've seen offering a full-sized SD card slot in an Android 3.1 tablet.  You also get a full-sized HDMI port and a full-sized USB port with the Thrive, so there's good reason for that bit of extra bulk, but it doesn't stop there. The back skin of the Thrive (as you hopefully witnessed in our video preview above here) is also removable and its battery is user-serviceable.  As such, the Thrive has a few things going for it that a lot of competitive tablets don't.

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Pretty good features for a tablet, especially the access to the battery. Just like you mentioned Dave every tablet is about the same with some having a distinct feature that will set it apart. I'm in no rush for a tablet so I will just watch as the tech gets better.

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Galaxy Tab doesn't have an AMOLED display at all, it uses a PVA derivate. They don't have the capacity yet to produce such large panels in large quantities.

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Noted and thanks. Corrections made in text and video. Galaxy Tab 10.1 uses a PLS LCD and it still has slightly better contrast and color saturation.

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Swiss Army Knife? Did you forget your title? I assume you were thinking of the design vs other tablets?

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Source: Wikipedia - "The term "Swiss Army knife" was coined by US soldiers after World War II, presumably because they had trouble pronouncing its original name, "Offiziersmesser".

Sometimes, the term "Swiss Army knife" is also used metaphorically to describe usefulness, such as a software tool that is a collection of special-purpose tools."

Hope that helps...

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used metaphorically to describe usefulness

So it's a MacGyver tab?

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LOL! Exactly, Neil.

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"Great review. Its a nice Tablet, very nice. does Toshiba offer a larger capacity Battery? 5-6 hours is not enough for my girlfriend or me, she pretty much uses the Ipad all day without having to re-charge, sometimes even days. We will upgrade though, during Christmas time. so this is one option."


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I don't think there is currently a larger capacity battery, Optimus. However, I'd offer that our 5 - 6 hour battery time was in a constant on test condition with the web browser refreshing every 3 minutes. If you give it a rest and let the panel time out between use, I'm sure it would provide "day long" use, so to speak.

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If you give it a rest and let the panel time out between use, I'm sure it would provide "day long" use, so to speak.

"That's true, my girlfriend only uses it for an hour or two at a time, so the Thrive will actually last a lot longer than that. I like the Galaxy Tba 10.1 also , had a chance to try out, but some big cons , No USB ,No native HDMI output (have to buy a expensive dock) and no Micro SD slot. Bummer."


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