I compared them all and none had everything I wanted. Digging deeper, I found that proprietary models use their own software for stuff and you can't get around it! Sony was the worst. You had to use all Sony Music stuff and they blocked downloading some others. Samsung, while highly rated in the reviews didn't have what I need. The highly rated ASUS EEE Transformer also was lacking quite a bit but, was also the cheapest on the market.
Recommend this product?
I never found an honest review on any tablet. Not one. All compared every model to the author's favorite and at that point the review instantly favored the authors. Another review thing that really bugged me was comparing 10 different Android tablets against the Apple iPad. Duh! Apple, meet Orange. Also, THRiVE reviews were not on my initial radar. I guess many reviewers just avoided it. (magazines, web sites, etc.) but, all the stores here carry them. Odd
After I listed what a tablet had to have, the list got very small. Here is my list...
* WiFi G & N protocols
* Bluetooth for local accessories (mouse, keyboard, etc.)
* SD Memory card capable for expanding memory AND file transfer/storage
* USB port for my Flash Memory stick
* Dockable if I decide to get a docking station for it.
* User OS Version Upgradable (not burned into ROM)
* External keyboard, mouse & drive capability
* No moving parts in the tablet (no drives or fans)
* 10 inch display
* Dual cameras - front & rear (more on that later)
* Skype capable
* Kindle capable
* Built in mic and speakers
* Built in GPS for mapping, navigation and fun
* User Replaceable Battery
* 32 GByte minimum memory for music, photos, apps, files, etc.
Enough - you get the idea. I want it all - Ha ha ha ha
So, the field got quickly narrowed but, it did exist. Surprise! The Toshiba had it all for a good price (one I could afford using gift cards). It looked to be better built although it is a bit heavier (4 oz/0.25 lb) than the competition. The feel is outstanding from first touch. It just feels nice, the back isn't slippery like some others and the buttons and screen buttons don't require strange reaching to get to. Somebody thought this out very well.
I got a nice leather cover for it that also folds into a stand so it sits up on the desk, in your lap, or wherever you set it.
I added apps for an Office suite, Super User, Kindle, Opera, Notepad and some other basics like AVG antivirus. That cost me $14 for the office suite -- the rest were free. Big deal.
It came with about 25 apps on it already installed like browser, file manager, games, their own Books program, etc. Browser, Email, GMail, Google Talk, Media Player, You Tube browser, Kaspersky Anti-Virus (I didn't install it), Calendar, contact manager, Remote printer utility, etc.
The Android user interface is very intuitive. The manual is just a startup sheet. How to get it started on first boot. The Online user guide isn't very useful -- at least I couldn't find anything I needed to know in it like how to get their Email program to work. The included Email utility isn't mentioned in the book....
It's very fast but some tasks do continue to run in background. I'm not sure how you kill them yet.
It has 2 cameras. A low res in front and a high res on the back. For Skype, you use the forward camera so the person on the other side can see you although, you can switch between them, The rear allows you to use the screen as a large viewfinder and take pictures or videos using the 5 MPixel rear camera. It also allows you to show a Skype user what you're looking at without having to turn the tablet around where you're looking at the back. Very Convenient. Camera quality is fair on both.
I did manage to freeze it once but, I'm not sure how. I had to reboot it to get it to recover. Same thing happened with the tablets Portrait/Landscape orientation changing on the screen. Kindle froze it in landscape mode and it needed to be rebooted to restore that feature. A reboot takes about 30 seconds.
I gave it a real workout yesterday and it didn't even get warm. I had the camera working, WiFi, apps, Skype and all running at the same time for 3 hours and there wasn't any noticeable warm spot on it. I don't know how they do heat dissipation but they got it right.
The touch screen takes a bit of getting used to. They put things in easy reach of the corners but, that also makes them easy to touch when you don't want to! This will take some ergonomic getting used to. Also, the built in touch keyboards are smart -- when you enter an email address, the @ symbols is there. For URLs, there is a ".com" key to finish the address. Numerics have a numeric keypad pop up for those types of entries so, it has like 8 different keyboards but, again, they are all intuitive. Just don't rest your fingers on it while you're trying to type!!! I guarantee, I don't type my usual 40 words a minute on it :)
The built in speakers are not enough. Outside where there is car noise, wind noise, etc., it is hard to hear but, you can plug a head (stereo mic) into it. In the house, they are fine for what I need but they are NOT music speakers! The Mic quality is also less than my expensive PC mic but, that is to be expected I suppose.
This is not a programming device by any means -- you still need the desktop PC for writing code, editing audio & video files, using things like Visual Basic, etc. Advanced games like FS9 also requires the PC but that isn't what I got the tablet for.
You can use it with a fancy stylus but I haven't found the need for that yet. I also don't want to risk scratching the screen so, I didn't buy their fancy $15 scribe (a plastic stick with a rubber type tip).
On the down side (hey, nothing's perfect) the bad things are:
The speakers suck. The audio system is just a bit above worthless but, they all were. Only Apple's iPad had halfway decent sound. But, what do you expect from a 3/4 inch speaker?!?!?
Some programs get the touch area and the graphic out of whack. One program, you have to touch below the label -- not on it -- to get it to respond. This appears to be application dependent and only a few of the 3rd party apps have this problem.
No easy way to kill background apps. There is an app for that but it isn't Android approved so I'm waiting a bit before I install it.
Hard to see in bright daylight. It was expected and if you can get out of the sun, it is bright enough to use. It would be difficult to use as a camera if the sun is behind you.
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