Hardware & Design
The Toshiba Thrive is a thicker and more rugged tablet that most out there. The Thrive has a 10.1 screen that uses Toshiba’s Resolution+ Video Enhancement to create a sharp and vivid image that’s looks great. The tablet gets it rugged feeling from its thickness and removable back plate that gives you a better grip. Behind that back plate is where you can remove and swap out batteries which is a first for Android honeycomb tablets. For its size the weight is pretty nice and isn’t as heavy as it looks.
There is a 2.0 megapixel front facing camera and a rear facing 5.0 megapixel camera with 720p video recording and no flash. The camera still images and video are on part with a cell phone camera from about a year ago that did HD. It’s nothing that will wow you but it will get the job done.
The biggest feature of this tablet is the full ports available on it. You get Full USB 2.0, SD card and HDMI ports to go along with mini USB and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. No other tablet has this so it’s a definitely a plus. There is dual stereo speakers, proprietary dock connection and DC jack for charging which is lame that it’s the only way the tablet charges. Internally you have dual core 1.0 Ghz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and this model is 16 GB of storage. Good design here from Toshiba and gives you everything you need without compromising too much on size and weight
Software & Usability
Like all Android 3.1 tablets they run on a stock version of the software. The OS runs smooth on it with no noticeable lag. Toshiba has included a custom applications most notably the file manager. The file manager allows you to manage all of your content on the tablet and on a SD card and USB flash drive. You can transfer content between devices as well too through it. This is by far the most useful app on the tablet especially if you are using tons of content. Print Share is available as well as a trial app that lets you print straight from the tablet to a wireless printer with just one touch.
The Media Player give you one central place to play all of your content on the device and connect to media PCs and/or NAS servers to stream media to the Thrive. Playing standard definition content is fine but playing some HD content in 720p or 1080p is choppy and out of sync. There is a bug here that they need to iron out with an update soon to get the video playing well. Audio sounds great using the media player and the stereo speakers. Its one of the better sounding tablets in the market. There is also a few content hubs they have created. Start Place is your central place for news around the world. Book Place lets you download books straight to the tablet and App Place where you can download well apps. It’s an alternative to the Android Market which is still limited in tablet centric apps.
Battery life is a bit shorter than other Android Honeycomb tablets with getting about 6-7 hours of usage before needing a charge. All the ports work as advertised. I’m able to transfer content from a full SD card to a USB flash drive quickly and the HDMI port connects to your TV instantly in 720 but is a bit off in scaling.
The Thrive aims to offer everything that you would need in a tablet and it pulls this off pretty well.It does have a few bugs and for the market that will probably get this tablet the tech enthusiast will deal with that. For the causal consumer those bugs will be major issues for them. The size or look is not as sexy as some other tablets out there and is a bit more intimidating to approach for them.