The Toshiba Thrive tablet. It’s plump, homely, a little bit awkward, and although smart and supportive, you won’t be showing it off much to your buddies. But if you’re reading this review, you probably already know that. You’re considering the Toshiba Thrive because you see past a pretty exterior and a tight slender body. You want great specs inside, a good clean install of Android 3.1 Honeycomb, ample full-sized ports, and a swappable battery among other unique features.
The package contains:
- Toshiba Thrive
- miniUSB Cable
- Wall Charger Adapter
- Start Guide
- Health & Safety and Warranty Guide
The Thrive has a 10.1-inch display with a 1280 x 800 resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio. This makes it just a tad narrower than the iPad 2 and a bit longer. Display quality is excellent with wide viewing angles as you’d expect from an IPS panel. In landscape orientation, the widescreen works nicely for viewing movies but makes it a bit unwieldy when attempting to hold in one hand and navigate the interface with the other.
On the opposite end of the top edge is the full-size SD card slot, which accepts cards of up to 128GB in capacity. Near the power button, on the bezel, are three LED indicator lights that glow to indicate when the power is on, when the battery’s charging, or when wireless or Bluetooth is switched on. While you’d likely get used to the lights after a while, they’re not typical of the tablet experience and can be distracting if you’re looking for a completely clean interface.
On the bottom right side are the power and headphone jacks. Above them is a 3-inch-long door, concealing the full USB port, full HDMI port, and Mini-USB port. On each of the far sides of the bottom edge sit 1-inch-long speakers. In the middle of the bottom edge is a dock connector port.
The Toshiba Thrive’s very aggressive pricing gives it an advantage over most other tablets. Its grooved back, full HDMI and USB support, full SD card slot, and replaceable battery justify its very bulky design. Also, its built-in file management system makes finding and accessing files in Honeycomb easier.
The Toshiba Thrive is powered by the all too prevalent 1GHz dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor with 1GB of RAM, which dishes up the same exact performance as other comparably equipped tablets. Navigating around the homescreen in landscape is effortlessly accomplished with a decent amount of responsiveness, but we’re still seeing the same choppy execution when doing it in portrait. Besides that, we’re satisfied with its overall operation, however, the experience is marred by quite a few annoying bugs and force closes that randomly appear.
Android 3.1 Honeycomb experience, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, but the only new additions to it are some new static and live wallpapers. Besides that, everything else remains intact with its resizable widgets, grid-like app panel, and available shortcuts.
Typing up long messages is such a joy with its responsive stock keyboard, but as an alternative, the Thrive also offers the Swype keyboard as well. However, we’re not all too keen about using the landscape one mainly because its layout extends to the entire width of the display – meaning, there’s a lot of travel required by our fingers, which causes fatigue very quickly.
The Thrive has a 2 megapixel front camera that worked well in Google Talk video chats. It has a 5 megapixel autofocus rear
camera with no flash. The camera does well outdoors for photos and 720p video recording with decent color balance and saturation and good exposure. Video looks sharp but not artificially sharp and artifacting is minimal. Indoor video is very poor unless lighting is good. Our indoor home video with room lighting and natural lighting from windows looked murky and blurry, a la cell phone camera circa 2006. With strong artificial light at a bright office and mall, quality improved.
In addition to the stock music player, which offers one glitzy looking presentation when browsing through songs and albums, the Toshiba Media Player is an alternative option as well. Although it’s not as pronounced with its layout, it’s nevertheless functional in playing some tunes.
The Toshiba Thrive has a removable battery pack that’s 10.8v and 2030 mAh. It’s a 6 cell 23 watt/hour battery, and though the mAh seem low, battery life is decent (we wonder if there’s a second sealed cell in the unit). Toshiba claims up to 11 hours on a charge, and in our tests we got 7.1 hours with WiFi on and brightness set to 50% in a mix of tasks including email, web, playing 45 minutes of YouTube videos, playing music in the background for 45 minutes and installing quite a few apps.
The Thrive’s connectivity and battery is where it really shines. Like no other tablet, it throws in a full-sized HDMI-out and a full-sized USB 2.0 port in addition to the common mini-USB port. The full-sized USB port gives the Thrive an almost laptop-like functionality allowing you to attach hard drives, flash drives, keyboards, and other accessories you normally wouldn’t be able to on a tablet. It also has the standard support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Toshiba Thrive Specification
- Part Number:AT105T1016
- Product TypeTablet
- Width10.7 in
- Depth0.6 in
- Height7 in
- Weight1.6 lbs
- Display Type10.1 in TFT active matrix – LED backlight – Yes
- Display Resolution1280 x 800
- Flash Memory16 GB
- RAM1 GB – DDR2 SDRAM
- Supported Flash Memory CardsSD Memory Card,
SDHC Memory Card,
SDXC Memory Card
- ProcessorNVIDIA Tegra 2 1 GHz
- Multi-Core TechnologyDual-Core
- Wireless ConnectivityBluetooth 3.0 HS,
- Rear-facing CameraYes
- Sensor Resolution5 megapixels
- Focus AdjustmentAutomatic
- HD Video Recording720p
- Front-facing Camera2 Megapixel
- Supported Digital Video FormatsH.263,
- Max Resolution (external)1280 x 800
- AudioMicrophone , speaker(s) – Stereo
- Supported Digital Audio FormatsAAC,
- GPS NavigationGPS receiver
- Software IncludedGoogle Maps,
Google Maps Street View,
Google Maps Navigation
- Installed Qty (Max Supported)1
- Technology / Form FactorLithium ion
- Capacity23 Wh
- Run Time (Up To)11 hour(s)
Expansion / Connectivity
- Expansion Slot(s)1 x SDXC Memory Card
- Interfaces1 x Hi-Speed USB – 4 pin USB Type A,
1 x Audio / video – HDMI,
1 x Hi-Speed USB – 4 pin mini-USB Type B,
1 x Docking / port replicator,
1 x Headphones – Output – Mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
- Voltage RequiredAC 120/230 V
Ambient light sensor,
- FeaturesVolume control,
- Included AccessoriesPower adapter
- Compliant StandardsRoHS
- LocalizationUnited States
Operating System / Software
- OS ProvidedAndroid 3.1 (Honeycomb)
- SoftwareGoogle eBooks,
Adobe Flash Player,
Android Music Player,
Google Calendar Sync,
Google Contacts Sync,
Google Voice Search,
Toshiba App Place,
Need for Speed Shift,
Toshiba Start Place,
Toshiba Book Place,
Toshiba Service Station,
Toshiba Media Player,
Toshiba File Manager,
- Service & Support1 year warranty
- Service & Support DetailsInternational warranty – 1 year
- Min Operating Temperature41 °F
- Max Operating Temperature104 °F
- Humidity Range Operating20 – 85% (non-condensing)
- Min Storage Temperature-22 °F
- Max Storage Temperature140 °F
- Max Altitude Operating10000 ft
The tablet had no trouble playing 720p and 1920p MPEG4 H.264 videos encoding using baseline profile. High profile encoding resulted in some frame drops when Toshiba’s video enhancement software was turned on. This software essentially upconverts non-HD content to make it look better according to Toshiba, but we found it did slightly degrade performance for more challenging HD content.
The Toshiba Thrive isn’t an inner geek tablet; it’s an outer geek tablet. It’s for those of you who want a tablet that was designed with a computer philosophy and looks the part. It’s thick, it’s rugged and it has the ports to challenge less readily expandable products like the iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab.
- Standard sized ports
- Removable battery
- Brilliant looking display
- Massive size
- Buggy platform experience
- Shoots below average photos & videos
- Choppy kinetic scrolling with web browsing