Pros: Lots of ports for HDMI, USB, and expandable to an additional 128GB plus removable battery.
Cons: Less battery life than others, may be difficult with some wireless setups.
OK, everyone in creation has IPhones and IPads because Apple is great at marketing and making their devices things that you HAVE to have. I've heard, "Apple is so easy, nothing ever goes wrong." Yup, they own the hardware and the operating system (which was originally designed by Microsoft when the first Macs showed up on the store shelves). That makes for very few flaws. Microsoft, on the other hand, has to deal with a trillion different scenarios for hardware and software. AND, because they are the "big guys" they are always the target for hackers.
I reluctantly bought an IPhone4 when it came time to upgrade my phone solely because it had the longest battery life on the market (later found out that when the battery goes dead, you have to take it to the dealer to have it replaced!). Needless to say, I'm unimpressed - ITunes is a monstrosety that is required for syncing to your PC. Oh, well, enough of my rant against Apple.
I wanted to buy a tablet for my wife for Christmas because she loves to browse the internet, go on facebook, and check mail. She has an HP laptop, but that can be cumbersome and she always has to be careful because the cooling fan inlet is on the bottom of the case (stupid design). So, a tablet made sense for her. She doesn't get into any heavy apps and loves something that is large enough to read the screen, but small and light enough to sit in her lap.
I looked at various reviews from CNET and Epinions and felt that the Toshiba Thrive was the best deal around. First of all, it is one of the few tablets that has an HDMI out port, full-sized USB, Micro USB, replaceable battery (so you can buy extras for $80 and swap them out if you aren't near a wall outlet), and last and best, can be upgraded by an additional 128GB with an SD card. All of those IPad2 folks will start screaming when they've loaded their 32 GB with photos, music and movies and have no way of expanding memory.
The Thrive runs on an Android platform which really didn't take a lot to get acquainted with. Just turning it on is an experience - the unit vibrates and a gorgeous display with colorful graphics lights up in front of your face while the system is loading.
One negative that I have to say about this tablet is that it took me 4 hours to get it to connect to the Internet through my router. I performed the automatic wireless setup and the device showed that it was connected to my router with a speed of 65Mbps, but as soon as I opened the browser, everything came to a screeching halt. I have two laptops, a WII, a Wireless Access Point, and my DirecTV DVR all connected to the router and working flawlessly. I finally broke down and called Toshiba support.
The tech asked me to see if there was anyone in the neighborhood who was foolish enough to have an unsecured network, and there was, thankfully. I connected to it and VOILA, the browser opened immediately. So, we thought that it may be a security problem with the router which is a Cisco E1000. I was terrified that he was going to tell me that I would have to notch down to WEP, but when we turned of ALL security, the tablet still was stuck in limbo.
Not being able to help me further, I was told to contact Cisco support. That turned out to be worse ending in the tech telling me that i had to call Toshiba support. Well, I'm the type of person who will not stop until the problem is solved. For some reason, the tablet didn't like DHCP addressing (even though it connected without problem) because when I changed the parameters to a static IP address with the gateway and DNS entered manually, it started to browse the Internet with WPA2 Personal.
I'm absolutely blown away at how fast the download speeds and browser loads are on this device. I have a 6Mbps DSL line and my Windows 7 PCs are fairly fast, but the Android loads in 1/2 the time.
Toshiba also loads the tablet with a nice sampling of apps including Kaspersky Antivirus trial (30 days) which I think is terribly important because of more and more people using internet banking, purchasing with credit cards online, and Apple IPads have NO antivirus which I think is a huge mistake. I also loved having Adobe Flash back on the browser which is conspicuously missing on Apple products.
As another reviewer said, from a lot of other reviews, one would think that this tablet is a 3-ton tank. Yes, it weighs in a little more than others at about 1.5 pounds. Other complaints were about the ridged back plate. I find it very helpful to keep a good grip on the device. Besides that, the back plate can be replaced with a variety of choices at about $20 each.
The battery life, of course, depends a lot on what options are turned on. If you want to get the most out of the battery life, disable the bluetooth (unless you're using a bluetooth keyboard or headset), disable pushing updates and mail, leave the screen brightness up to the sensor that adjusts the brightness according to the ambient light. As another reviewer stated, it charges the battery to 100% FAST - around 50 minutes from almost empty. You can also buy an optional docking stand which charges the device while keeping it at a comfortable angle.
If I can fault it on anything else, it would be the placement of the camera. As long as you are holding the device in portrait mode, you have no problem, but when it's in landscape mode, you can cover the lens completely unless you hold the camera side on the corner.
In conclusion, the Toshiba Thrive gives you a lot of bang for the buck and for hundreds less than an IPad2. I would recommend buying the 16GB model (the 32GB is almost $100 more) because you can get great deals of SD cards to expand the memory on Egghead.com, Tigerdirect, and Ebay. Toshiba really did their homework on this one - I've never been a fan of their laptops as I've had many friends who had their laptops arrive DOA or die just after the warranty expired. I believe that their Thrive will give anyone hours of entertainment in a small package and at a reasonable price ($369-399 for the 16GB model).
I highly recommend this as a hefty contender to any other Android or Apple OS tablet on the current market. It has plenty of output ports and lots of expansion available.