One of the biggest obstacles Toshiba faces with the Thrive is that the company has no Android presence to help the company gain a foothold. They have no track record of Android phones or tablets to speak of and nothing reputable to bring to the table. At $429 the 16GB version is roughly $70 less than its Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 counterpart. Is it worth paying the extra money for Samsung’s 10-inch tablet? That depends on what’s most important to you. Do you want a functional tablet with great hardware and function? Or do you need to look cool and hip with the slimmest, sexiest tablet on the market?
Samsung has a history with Android, even if it’s not the best. We know from experience that the company has solid Android hardware and a decent record of providing software updates. Toshiba may have the best intentions with the Thrive and future Android tablets but this is a gamble that some may not be willing to take. On a positive note, Toshiba did do a good job of acknowledging a wake/sleep issue for the Thrive and issued a software patch in somewhat timely manner. Another good sign was releasing the tablet with Android 3.1 not long after it was made available. If they can continue to listen to their users and provide consistent updates, then Toshiba could earn valuable Android street cred. Unfortunately we could be six months away from Toshiba establishing a solid reputation either way.
Does it Deliver?
On paper, the Thrive is as good as its competition, if not better. The full-sized USB, HDMI, and SD card slots give it an edge over the XOOM and Galaxy Tab 10.1. Tossing in a 30-pin dock connector and mini-USB port and Toshiba leaves the door wide open for expanded functionality and added benefit. The 3.1 release of Honeycomb allows for the Android Open Accessory protocol so I imagine there should be problems supporting hardware from outside sources.
The 5-megapixel camera is good, not great, and the speakers are as loud and clear as we’d like them to be. It’s very easy to go “tinny” with speakers mobile devices and Thrive is occasionally guilty of sometimes shrill audio. Generally speaking, however, we were impressed with sound quality of the tablet. Getting back to the camera, the pictures and 720p video are impressive providing you have the right lighting. Low-light scenarios presented a challenge at times, making for a grainy experience, especially in video. This is not a necessarily a deal-breaker for me as, for whatever reasons, I typically don’t use the cameras on my tablets. I tend to prefer to use the camera on my phone instead as it’s more convenient and substantially more portable.
As thick and as heavy as the Thrive is, it’s still portable enough to toss in a bag or backpack for a daily commute or long-term trip. The “problem” of being heavier than its competition is really only obvious when you compare it directly to another tablet. I handed it to a couple of people who have yet to spend time with any tablet just to hear what their initial reaction was. Nearly every single time, the remark was something to the effect of how light it was. Turning the Thrive on its side, these test subjects would generally remark at how nice it was to see the ports. “So I can toss my SD card in here and review my photos and media?” I suspect that this tablet gets the same reaction in stores, just as long as it’s not sitting too close to a slimmer, sexier tablet.
Toshiba does throw in a number of applications and games but they’re not as bad as one might expect. Some are definitely a value and would come in handy for the business-minded user, while others come across as generic. LogMeIn Ignition, Quickoffice, and Kaspersky Tablet Security might save you upwards of $100 should go out and hunt them down yourself. A handful of additional titles (Angry Birds, The New York Times, and NFS Shift) are popular downloads whereas some feel crammed in for no good measure. I really enjoyed the File Manager and PrinterShare apps and look forward to seeing more implementation along these lines. The Toshiba store is virtually useless for someone who is a seasoned Android veteran however it’s a decent way to hold the hands of a new Android user.
I have a Thrive after buying and returning iPad1 and the ASUS Transformer. I wanted all the ports including HDMI and a sub-$400 price tag, so I am very happy. I would recommend for the same reasons as the reviewer. It’s not ugly, but it’s pretty thick!
I also purchased the thrive after researching all already available options. And the honeycomb 3.1 along with all the available ports and sd card options will make this a keeper for a long time to come.
I am all for the shiny and cute, but when you are spending in this economy, you need to also think about how you are going to use it, the life span, and how you can utilize what you already have with it.
And the couple of ounces extra, and the two extra lights I can live with.
My biggest concern is that the software companies get involved and create additional uselful apps fot the android market.
Picked one up and am quite disappointed. Skype is not supported (no word as to when). The cameras are exceptionally bad quality (far worse than you’re average cell phone). The mic is very poor. On top of that the front facing camera points directly up, which means when doing any sort of video calls, either your face is always out of frame, or you have to tilt the tablet at an odd angle rendering everything difficult for you to see.
It clearly wasn’t well thought out/designed.
I have a Toshiba Thrive. I would recommend that NOBODY buy this product.
1) Skype cuts out every minute when on call, now just the laptop for Skype calls
2) Zero support when emailing Toshiba people about issues – no answers ever
3) Lose internet connection randomly on tablt.
4) Only good for games
I bought this today with the intent to play Word with Friends through Facebook. Can’t do it. I will be returning this product tomorrow for “something” else.
Don’t buy Toshiba Thrive! Seems to have a design flaw. Less than 2 months after purchase screen cracks starting under the chrome piece at the camera. Toshiba will not warranty cracked screens and will repair only at my expense. In searching the internet I have found several others with cracked screens under normal use. Some have photos with the cracks beginning at exactly the same place.
I got mine about 6 months ago and I must say this device is a horrible excuse for a tablet. Everyday I find another reason. Im over this pos
Games are great. But anything else will just frustrate the hell outta you
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