The Swiss Army Knife of Tablets: Toshiba's Thrive

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The Thrive doesn't make any apologies for its size and weight.  It's built with very rugged construction and is designed to be full-featured. It's a tablet, so it's still relatively thin, but Toshiba took the stance that they would address some of the inherent limitations in many tablets already out there; most of which pertain to expandability and accessibility. You'll have to tolerate a slate that is just over half-an-inch thick and weighs a little over 1.5lbs. You wafer-thin types might be inclined to whine about that but we say suck-it-up and deal with it. The Thrive brings a bunch of extra utility, not just junk in the trunk.

 

Ports-a-Plenty Including Full-Sized HDMI and USB

The top edge of the Thrive has a traditional volume rocker, power button and screen orientation lock switch.  Also along the top edge is a full-sized SD Flash card reader slot.  So, why did it take so long to get this simple feature into a tablet?  Good question. Thank you, Toshiba, for giving user direct access to their images and videos recently shot on SD cards. Those gathered around the coffee table thank you as well. Except for Uncle Ernie. He's never into the family photo tour anyway. The bottom edge of the Thrive has two speaker ports and a synch/dock port that has a removable (and easily lost) dust cover. 

However, the right edge of the Thrive -- well, that's where the party's going on.  Here Toshiba located the power input port and a traditional headphone jack.  Next door to those two, behind a small concealing panel (and tethered to the tablet thankfully), are the Thrive's full-sized USB and HDMI ports, as well as a mini USB port. Care to attach a mouse or USB stick directly to the tablet?  No problem.  Toshiba also compliments all of this added functionality with some software as well.  More on this later.

 


 
Along the left edge of the slate, just above its 2MP front-facing web cam, is a back cover release switch.  Push that switch to the unlocked position and then you can carefully pull off the back skin of the Thrive.  From there you have access to the tablet's Lithium Ion battery as well as the blue CMOS battery you see here. Access to the CMOS battery could come in handy perhaps, for hard resets.
      
Toshiba Thrive Optional Dock

Finally, in addition to other accessories, like different color backings and cases for the Thrive, Toshiba sells an optional dock, which can turn your tablet into a multimedia file server for slideshows and video, when connected to an HDTV over its HDMI port.  Just drop the Thrive into the dock and there's no messing with wires to get it hooked up.  You also get additional USB ports and a headphone jack on the dock as well. This setup could even come in handy with a USB mouse and keyboard plugged in, should you want to get some real work done on the Thrive.


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