*UPDATE 8* Now Up: See the addendum at the end of this review.
I pre-ordered the 32gb Thrive here on Amazon, but got impatient and went to a local retailer just to check them out. We loved this tab so much, we got a 2nd for my husband in 16gb.
First off -- No -- I do not work for Toshiba. But I fell in love with the brand a little over a year ago when I bought a new Qosmio laptop, and it's BY FAR the best computer I have ever owned. I love it as much today as the day I got it, so when I found out Toshiba had an Android Tab, I had to take a serious look.
Galaxy & Iconia in Brief
Prior to learning about Thrive, I was seriously considering the new 10" Galaxy Tab. I had been coveting the 8" model for some time, but just wasn't ready to take the leap. So when the 10" came along, I just had to stop by a local retailer to try one out hands-on. And I must say, I really fell in love with it -- the screen is vivid and stunning, the interface is clean and responsive. And it's super thin for sure. But, the first thing I noticed was there's no inputs of any kind; no SD slot, no USB, no nada. The sales rep said that's because everything is trending toward the "cloud." Well, that's all well and good, but I like products that I control, not products that control me (hence why I'm no fan of Apple's line of iShackle products. I'm all for "the cloud" and have one here on Amazon for my music, but I'm also the type that prefers to have my own stuff stored locally. I also like to get into the nuts and bolts of my peripherals and use them my way, so having no inputs on the Galaxy was a huge letdown for me. I left the store feeling underwhelmed, and like it wasn't the right time to buy a tablet. But I was bitten by the bug so I went home and started researching other tabs.
Reviews here on Amazon had me convinced Acer Iconia was better than Asus Transformer. And the Acer had USB inputs, so I was happy with that. But I've never been a big fan of Acer, so I still wasn't feeling the itch just yet. But then I stumbled upon the Toshiba Thrive, and still being so highly impressed with their laptop, I immediately felt a connection to the Thrive.
Every Input I'll Ever Need
Thrive has SD card, USB, mini-USB and full size HDMI ports. And for me, this is where Thrive clobbers the competition -- Toshiba just "gets it;" they make products that keep the end user in control and offer a truly freeing experience. I have a full size HDMI port on my Toshiba laptop too, and let me tell you, it completely changed my computing experience! My laptop is connected to a 50" plasma TV and I use a wireless keyboard and gyration remote for a mouse. Let me tell you, once you use a computer that way, there's just no going back. So all those inputs on the Thrive was a big clincher for me -- and once again, Toshiba stands head and shoulders above the rest in this department. I fully expect to connect my tablet to my HDTV as well. And the on-board SD and USB ports assure I'll have all the computing freedom and control I've come to expect.
Vibrant Screen and Color
When I first saw the Thrive at my local electronics store, I was a bit concerned the screen wasn't as vibrant as the Galaxy. But then I remembered Thrive has an auto brightness feature, so I was wondering if that was limiting the saturation in some way. I was easily able to find and navigate the setup menus right there in the store, turned off auto-brightness -- and voila! -- the Thrive's screen was every bit as vibrant and rich as the Galaxy! The colors and clarity are nothing short of stunning. I hate to say it, but the screen is probably better than my 50" plasma (it's only a couple years old, which already makes it a relic in tech world.)
Ease of Use
For me, the truest test of any piece of tech, is the ability to use it straight out of the box with NO help from user manuals. I got a new printer recently and had to fiddle with it for days because the install didn't set it up properly -- and in my book -- that's a sure sign of a piece of junk. This Thrive, however, was very simple and easy to get the hang of within minutes right there in the store. Naturally, that's as much a testament to Android 3.1 as it is to Toshiba Thrive. Either way, I was doing everything from surfing the net, to customizing the entire interface and settings in minutes, all right there in the store -- no user manuals, no nothing. I even tethered it to my cell phone just for fun. The interface is so smooth and responsive, and the Tegra CPU is clearly a beast; no hangs, locking or delays of any kind. Everything was fast, smooth and clean; just the way it should be. In fact, Thrive loaded and buffered YouTube videos better than the Galaxy, though there could be many reasons for that given all the devices on the store's WiFi network.
Some might not think much of this, but believe me, it's pretty awesome and makes the Thrive feel like velvet in my hands! It also gives me confidence in the tablet's durability and build quality. By contrast, both the Galaxy and Iconia have a hard, slick back, and as a result, I personally found them both harder to hang on to. I'm disabled and easily drop things, so I never felt fully confident holding either the Galaxy or Iconia. All of these tabs are just a few weeks old, and it's worth pointing out that the backs of both the Galaxy and Iconia were scuffed and scratched to the point of making them look junky. Granted, they're both display models in a high traffic store, but the physical condition of both these tabs after only a couple weeks on display suggests one can expect the same blemishes from personal use over time. By contrast, the Thrive's rubber backing assures there'll be no scuffs or scratches on my tab or anything I set it down on. And if it does wear out, I can just buy a new backing in one of 6 cool colors.
Yes, the Thrive is probably twice as thick as the Galaxy, but I'm ok with that. Especially since it isn't all that much heavier. I think the added thickness is due to the USB and HDMI inputs the Galaxy is lacking. Personally, I'd rather have a slightly thicker tab with all the inputs I want, than a wafer thin tab that has a USB dongle dangling from it that I always have to remember to carry. Smaller and thinner isn't always better, at least not for my taste. I don't want a 10" wafer thin screen that I'm scared to drop or set down anywhere, or that will easily get scratched or cracked. The Galaxy just doesn't feel very durable, nor did the Iconia. While the added thickness and rubberized back make the Thrive feel more durable; like it could survive being accidentally dropped, or if placed on a table, the rubber backing would help it survive minor spills. Being disabled, I need something durable, and to that end, the Thrive feels like it will easily outlast both the Galaxy and Iconia. And we're not talking a super thick tablet here; it's still plenty thin. It's also very light; if not, my hands would cramp up and I wouldn't be able to grasp it to begin with.
Wider Body - More To Get My Paws On!
The Thrive is a bit wider than both the Galaxy and the Iconia -- the screen size is the same on all 3, but the Thrive's casing is about half an inch wider, which is great because it gives me a little more edge to hang on to without my fingers covering part of the screen. I have big hands, so this all adds up to a good thing for me. Overall, the Thrive just feels better in my hands, and more sturdy and durable.
I'm a fan of those "helicopter blade" screen protectors and have been using them on all my touch screen devices for years. I went ahead and ordered a full body protector for my 32gb Thrive pre-order. But after getting my hands on my husband's 16gb Thrive, I'm realizing I don't want to cover the velvety rubber back of my Thrive with a screen protector. They haven't arrived yet, but I'm hoping we can use the back of the screen protector on the front of our 16gb Thrive (both pieces appear to be the same shape and size. If not, no biggie, we'll just order another screen protector. I'm a big believer in screen protection and they've saved me from accidental scratches more than once.
I've read that Tablets are trying to edge themselves into being the conduit that connects all your devices -- TV, cell phone, computer, etc. And after getting this Thrive in my hands, I can see how tablets can easily fill that void. I love my Qosmio laptop, but prefer not to take it away from home. And my smartphone is great, but the screen is just too small to enjoy surfing the net on it. But now with the Thrive, I can stay connected and still enjoy a full-fledged experience on the go, or even at home, all in the palm of my hands. I've never been much into social networking, but I'm realizing that for someone with limited mobility, this might be my conduit to the outside world. I can totally see how using this tab in a social aspect while watching TV would broaden and enhance my experience. I just may get into Twitter too, and all that thanks to this Thrive! Duh -- I'm starting to get why they named it that to begin with!
Some people might find this meaningless. But I just had to replace the battery in my expensive Harmony remote and it's only 2 years old. So for me, having a replaceable battery in an expensive tablet its HUGE! No other brand offers this but Thrive.
Bottom Line -- my head is reeling a bit from the thought of owning 2 tablets. It's really not an expense we can afford and I should probably cancel my 32gb pre-order here at Amazon or return this 16gb. But we love it so much... I guess we'll see what happens. Either way, I really love this tablet and am VERY happy with it. Every once in a while, a product comes along that fits my life like a glove. Last time, it was Toshiba's Qosmio laptop. This time, it's their Thrive tablet. These are the first 2 Toshiba products I've owned, and I must say, I think Toshiba has won me over for life. The quality, ease of use, superior construction and forward thinking innovation -- I'm sold; hands down. There are plenty of tablets out there to choose from. Just do your research and find the one that fits you. For me, that's Toshiba Thrive. I LOVE this tablet!!
7/22/11 UPDATE -- Tips & Tricks:
After using both 16gb and 32gb Thrive's for a couple weeks, I thought I'd add this addendum to my review:
HDMI DUAL VIEW
Hook up the Thrive to your HDTV and the screen will display simultaneously on Thrive and your TV; Angry Birds on a 50" plasma - FUN! I got a 25' HDMI cable, but am looking into wireless. Picture is stunning. BTW -- there's a reason why HDTVs _don't_ use mini or micro HDMI -- because the signal isn't as good as full-size HDMI, and only Thrive has that capability.
DON'T USE A USB HUB
I've had spotty results transferring files to Thrive when plugged into a hub. But when I plug the Thrive directly into my laptop's USB port, I've had no issues and transfers are quite fast. (Win 7 Pro 64bit)
FIREWALLS CAN BLOCK APPS
I was initially having problems downloading apps from the Market while on my home WiFi, but then I realized my router's firewall was blocking some of Thrive's inbound traffic. So I set up 2 simple Port Forwarding rules, and voila, problem solved.
Thrive charges in a about 1 hour; slightly longer if you're using it while charging. So far, I've been getting 14-26 hours per charge while using Thrive on and off throughout the day. My screen is set to 50% brightness with auto-brightness turned off. I leave WiFi on and just let Thrive go into sleep mode when not in use; naturally, the battery lasts even longer if I completely shut down at night. Yesterday, I started the day with 50% battery life left -- I played Angry Birds for 4 hrs straight, watched YouTube for an hour, surfed the net and checked email for another hour, and read a book for 90min -- all that before the battery finally died and needed a recharge. There's nothing scientific about my tally, but Thrive is giving me great battery life, IMO.
ADOBE FLASH, FAST SURFING & PAGE LOADS
Surfing the net is NOTHING like on my phone. Web pages load as fast as my laptop and I can have several tabs open at the same time. Fast, smooth and responsive. Flash works great. Haven't run into a website yet that doesn't work.
EXTERNAL USB & FLASH DRIVES
Make sure they are formatted with FAT (not NTFS) and you'll have no problems. I even hooked up an external 500gb Western Digital My Passport drive with no issues.
WHY 32gb IS BETTER THAN 16 or 8gb
Thrive comes pre-loaded with many apps; some useful, like Toshiba File Manager and Service Station; some not so useful, and they can't be deleted. Point being -- I've never heard anyone complain about having too much HD space. So do yourself a favor and get the largest GB you can afford. SD cards, IMO, are for convenience, NOT for extending your storage capacity and running apps off it. I use mine to view and transfer pics off my digital camera.
FUN & HELPFUL APPS
>Advanced WiFi Lock Free -- this solves the dreaded wake from sleep issue. Go into the app's settings and UN-check "Enable Timeout." Prior to this, I experienced the issue twice, but since installing this app, the wake from sleep issue has disappeared. I do sometimes have to push the power button twice to get it to wake from sleep. But other than that, I don't have any complaints about how the buttons work.
>Talking Panda Free -- fun for kids of all ages!
>Amazon Kindle -- read your digital books on Thrive. Just wish it had text-to-speech.
>DirecTV -- program your DVR(s) on the go and never miss a fave TV program.
>Angry Birds -- I never thought I'd get into this game, but it really is fun. Rio is my favorite edition.
>Paint Joy -- finger painting on your tablet. Save, share and even watch a time-lapsed rendition of your creations; kinda fun! Let loose your inner artist!
THRIVE PORTFOLIO CASE
I got this case for outings away from home. But at home, I prefer using Thrive without the case. The Thrive is thicker than Galaxy, but I probably would have left Galaxy in it's case, because I didn't like how slick it felt. So Thrive without a case is about the same thickness as with Galaxy with a case.
Thrive has already become another component of my home entertainment system. I use it simultaneously while watching TV or even surfing the net on my laptop, which is hooked up to my 50" plasma. The Thrive has become an addition and a natural extension of my home entertainment center.
That's it for now; I'll add more in time, if I think of anything.
9/5/2011 UPDATE 2 - over 2 months and still loving my Thrive. Here's a couple extra helpful tips:
HDTV VIA THRIVE
We took our Thrive on vacation with us for our anniversary (happy 21st to us!) and hooked it up to the hotel's 42" HDTV. Thanks to Thrive's full-sized HDMI port, we easily ran a 25' cable right to our bed and watched our fave TV shows right off the TV network's websites while connected to the hotel's free WiFi.
Do yourself a favor and get one if the expense fits your budget. It's a tad overpriced at $50 with no power supply (it uses the one that came with Thrive) but it doubles as a great lap stand and makes charging the Thrive much more convenient; just slip it in and out of the cradle. Don't like how the adapter fits into the Thrive itself and the dock solves that problem. Also, Thrive looks great on display in the dock too. I suppose if you don't mind changing the screen timeout a lot, you could even use it as a digital picture frame (just be careful with that if running off the battery. I have a review for the Toshiba Thrive Multi-Dock with HDMI too if you're interested.
I was going to post specifics in my last update, but thought it might be different for everyone and didn't want to misinform. But in case it helps anyone, here's how I fixed the problem I had with downloading apps from the Market on my home WiFi:
I have my router's firewall set to high, and when I played around with the different security levels, I noticed the 2 that were blocking my Thrive were Real A/V port 7070 and T120 port 1503. I set 2 specific rules and opened those ports for my Thrive, and then the Market apps downloaded without issue. (these were both inbound traffic. You have to know a little about port forwarding for this to make sense, but it's not that hard to do; a quick Google search never hurts. :-)
MORE GREAT APPS
> Scrabble is interesting because you can play online over time. I have 30 games going any given week. The app is a bit buggy, but it's still fun and I'm sure they'll improve on it.
> Documents To Go is half off @ $7.99 in the Amazon AppStore
> Twitter - works well but I'm still learning and don't tweet much, mostly follow.
> Gmail comes standard with the tab. GDocs and all of Google's stuff is awesome.
> GOOGLE SKY helped us find Jupiter, Mars, all the planets and stars in our solar system last night!! CQQL!!
> The Kroger app lets me add digital coupons to my grocery store club card.
> DirecTV Remote controls my TV's DVR; kinda neat.
> Weather Bug for Honeycomb has a neat widget where you can flick up or down to change the temperature amongst your saved locations
> Cloudy is a fun paper airplane game
> PhotoShop Express is free and always good to have.
> MXvideo Player has neat swipe controls that make it easy to forward, pause and reverse vids while they are playing.
> the Bookmarks widget that comes standard with the tab lets you scroll through thumbnails of each web page.
> Vevo and TV.com apps have some good content
> Fruit Ninja is surprisingly fun; I like Zen Mode. It speaks to my inner samurai.
> and don't forget my all time fave: Lily The Talking Panda
> All of these apps have free versions; the only one I've paid for so far is Paint Joy Pro at $1.99.
> & Remember - 1 FREE PAID APP A DAY here on Amazon!
That's all for now folks!
UPDATE 3 - 9/27/2011
Over 3 months and I still L-O-V-E my Thrive! It's a cornerstone of my entertainment experience. I do take it with me when I venture out, but home is my primary use. It is ALWAYS in my lap. Instant fit in my life and fills a void no other device can. Perfect!
Here's the latest Helpful Tips I'd like to share:
Project Your Thrive
I recently discovered that Thrive can be hooked up to an Epson Projector, which can be invaluable for those doing business presentations. Just plug in a standard HDMI cable from Thrive to the projector, and it will project your Android tablet onto any surface. Sure, you could do this with another tab, and HDMI dongle, or micro connection, but I never like being caught in the lurch with nonstandard cables. I've been caught more than once with a proprietary cable that's failed. I much prefer the convenience and reliability of Thrive's full size onboard ports. I have a review for the Epson Multimedia Projector on that page as well.
Tablets Are Touchy-Feely
For me, a tablet is a tactile experience, hence, external keyboards and mice are not required. I've tried them both and found them counterintuitive. If I want to use those things, I've got a great laptop for that. A tablet is a device that stands on its own like no other. It is a personal item, hence, it should feel good to hold. It's not a cell phone. It's not a computer. It doesn't play by the same rules. Quite simply, it's the most personal and indispensable component of all my tech items and fills a void no other device can.
More Fun Apps:
> Weather Bug for Honeycomb has changed its name to AccuWeather for Honeycomb. It's still the best weather app I found; the widget is great.
> Days Left -- has a neat widget that goes on your desktop and can countdown the days to special events and occasions.
> Amazon AppStore has a great app that makes it easy to shop for apps and get their Free App of the Day.
> Airport Mania 2 -- has become one of my favorite games. Think Chevron Toy Cars with wings! The object is to land planes at your airport, wash, paint, load & unload packages and passengers, maintain and fuel up all the planes visiting your airport, and safely send them on their way. It's like being an Air Traffic Controller, but fun!
> Word Mix -- a unique word scramble game that is addictive. You can play against the clock or Puzzle Mode.
> WiFi Finder -- will find free WiFi Hot Spots in a Google Earth-type layout. It finds everything in your vicinity and maps it. Be sure to download the offline database within the app, so you can use it without a WiFi connection.
> Rocket Bunnies -- If you read that title without a smile on your face, then you won't have any fun playing this game!
> Prize Claw -- why waste money at a stupid machine, when you can play this for free! The teddy bears are cute, too!
> Paradise Island -- think Sim City
> Flying Penguin -- slide on your tummy, away from the polar bear, before he eats you up!
> Fat Booth -- ever wonder what you'd look like chubby?! (or people you know or stars & celebrities)
> Guinea Pig Getaway -- yes, it's as adorable as the title. Tilt and move your tablet to help guide their boat and escape the big meanie chasing them.
> Foto Tiles Slideshow -- turn your desktop into a collage of personal photos that change on a timer; think digital mosaic, only it's a live desktop, not a screen saver.
And last, but not least, I'd like to share a post written by Pie Grrrl, in the discussion section of this review - she had a VERY interesting conversation with some techies over at Best Buy, who gave their candid impressions about Thrive and other tablets. The direct link to her post is below. In brief, here's the just of what she learned:
> All of them highly coveted the Thrive; the feel, the look and the full size ports.
> All of them are gamers and mostly used their tablets at home; like I said in the review, these fill a void in everyone's home entertainment experience. Personally, I live in a bit of a bubble, and my Thrive has been a natural fit in my life and a conduit to the world. It's indispensable.
> 20+ tablets coming out, including a newer, thinner Thrive. Personally, I'm excited to see what Amazon's got up their sleeve with their upcoming new tab. I'm hoping for a slide-out keyboard, not that I'm in the market or could even afford to buy! I just like drooling over new tech.
> Sales are tied between the Xoom and Thrive. The Xoomer's aren't interested in the ports; the Thriver's are.
> the guys loved the Android platform vs. Apple's because they loved tinkering with the tablets and rooting them. Personally, rooting is nothing to be afraid of, and gives custom access and features to any Android tablet or phone. Just be aware it voids your warranty. I'll probably be rooting my Thrive once it's a little older.
Looks like Amazon removed the link, so if you're interested, just look for Pie Grrrl's post in this review's discussion section: Posted on Sep 27, 2011 3:51:40 PM PDT.
And lastly, and this time I mean it, a word about NetFlix -- I've cancelled my account, but some people have found a workaround until the official app is released. Point being, it will work, but just do a Google search, and I'm sure you'll find plenty of info. Having said that, Amazon VOD works perfectly, no tinkering required.
BTW -- there's a post in this review's discussion thread, where on September 7, 2011 2:48:15 PM PDT -- where U. Shelat says explains how to get NetFlix working; As I no longer have NetFlix, I cannot verify if this works or not.
Okay, I lied, I have to leave you with 1 last suggestion... get the Kindle app and read Jermaine Jackson's book about his brother Michael -- it's riveting. Yes, I have a review there, too. Love reading Kindle books on m Thrive. The book is called You Are Not Alone: Michael, Through a Brother's Eyes
That's all for now, folks!
Go forth all, and "Androidify" your Life!
(Believe it or not, I didn't just coin that, it's actually an app)
UPDATE 4 10-18-2011
Had an interesting experience with an iPad today...
Ran into someone who was trying to get photos transferred to their iPad -- they fumbled with hooking it up to their laptop, syncing to iTunes, then futzed another 30 minutes unable to make anything happen. I just smiled. Told the person how much I genuinely admire Mr. Jobs' genius, but wouldn't it be easier to just have onboard ports like on my Thrive -?- you'd be 30 seconds away from being done. :oD
>MORE GREAT APPS:
>Webroot Security - FREE anti-virus, secure web browsing and rogue app scans. Paid version includes ability to wipe a lost device clean on command.
>Thumb Keyboard - Split your tablet's keyboard to the left and right corners of the screen -- makes typing and texting just as fast as a cell phone.
>Circle Launcher - A nifty launcher widget that you place on your homescreen. Choose from a circle, a horizontal or a vertical line.
>ADA Disabled Service Members - Free Americans With Disabilities Act info for Returning Service Members.
UPDATE 5 10-21-11
Thrive just got an update adding Google Video support; basically movies on demand for a small fee. Between that, and Amazon VOD playing so well on Honeycomb and the Upcoming Kindle Fire, I'm beginning to think Netflix not working on Android Tabs is no accident. Either way, Netflix's time may well have come and gone, by their own doing as much as anything else.
No word on Honeycomb 3.2, though at this point, I'm more interested in Ice Cream Sandwich! (Android 4.0) I saw a video and it looks yummy! :o)
UPDATE 6 10-24-11
NETFLIX -- User ID "Visa Citi" just posted in the discussion thread for this review that NetFlix is now working. I downloaded the app, but was unable to log in, because I cancelled my NetFlix account several months back. I'm not interested in rejoining, but I checked another forum and confirmed that it is working.
Android 3.2 -- is due shortly. And 3 weeks tardy in my humble opinion.
Android 4.0 -- is the one we all want; no word on if or when.
And it just goes without saying that I have to recommend more apps. Or as I like to call this portion of the review...
KAIO'S ESSENTIAL ANDROID APPS:
> AllRecipes.com Dinner Spinner -- Great recipe app.
> Iris Alpha -- A prototype app that mimics Siri iPhone 4s.
> Circle Launcher -- One of my new faves and recent Amazon Free App o' The Day -- Unclutter your desktop with this nifty launcher widget that you place on your homescreen. Choose from a circle, a horizontal or a vertical line. The widget contracts to a small icon that, when touched, expands to display all the icons you've enclosed within it. Can be completely customized to your preferences.
Th-th-that's all folks!
Enjoy and Androidify!
UPDATE 7 - 11/27/2011
Skype - is officially working. I don't use it myself but several users have verified it.
Android 3.2 - click the Service Station icon to update. No meaningful cosmetic changes; most likely bug fixes. No word on when 4.0 will be ready.
A word about memory, by Jeffrey Peterman:
"If you look at the memory on the tablet, you'll find it split into 4:
1. "Normal" internal memory, the same as the base memory on a phone.
2. Internal SD memory, which is internal memory allocated for storage.
3. External SD memory (an inserted microSD or SD, depending on the model.)
4. USB memory.
The system dynamically allocated memory between 1&2, without needing any user intervention, and this memory makes up the 8, 16, or 32 GB in the tablet. The other two "spaces" (inserted memory cards and USB memory) can ONLY be used for media storage - you can't run any program from an inserted card or a thumb drive, but you can open videos or documents that are on those removable spaces."
Comment posted: Nov 27/11 3:30pm
The question about memory comes up a lot; how much to get? Do I need 8, 16 or 32gb? To me, it's not a matter of the cost of a 32gb v.s. a 16gb + SDcard. That comparison isn't equivalent, because having all the internal memory I need is far more valuable to me than an SDcard. I'm not a fan of splitting critical and personal files that way. I use my SDcard to float between several devices, but it always comes down to personal preference.
Here's how it approximately breaks down:
> an 8gb Thrive will have about 2.5gb available
> a 16gb Thrive will have about 10gb available &
> a 32gb Thrive will have about 25gb available.
I've tried to write & update this review so it would answer an array of basic questions that come up often. This is new technology to everyone, and it's the beginning of an exciting, new frontier.
UPDATE 8 -- 3/17/2012
Durability: Well it's been 9 months with our Thrive, and still going strong. The chrome finish near the camera is showing slight signs of wear. And the lock on my SD card slot gave out just the other day. It still reads SD cards, but I guess I'll have to tape them down, so the spring doesn't shoot it across the room. Other than that, it's physically holding up quite well.
Cool Volume Boost App: I found a cool app called Volume+ that boosts the audio up to 20X on the Thrive's speakers, and I even installed it on my new LG Marquee cell phone. The app boosts the volume nicely on both devices, and can even boost bluetooth headsets and call volume as well.
WiFi Tethering: When I got my new cell phone I had to figure out all over again how to root it and configure the hotspot so I could tether my Thrive to it, but I got it working, and have a tutorial on how I did it posted on my blog. Just check my Amazon profile for a link to my blog if you're interested, or check my post on March 7th in the Comments of this review for more details on tethering to a cell phone.
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich: According to Toshiba's Twitter page, the Thrive will be getting this new version of Android by the end of Spring. FINALLY!
Android Green Back Cover: I got the green back cover for my Thrive awhile back and it looks really cool.
New Kid On The Block: Toshiba Excite came out a couple of weeks back. It's much thinner than the Thrive, so just decide if you need Thrive's ports and exchangeable battery. If not, take a look at the Excite; it's currently the thinnest tablet on the market.
More than likely this is my final update for the Thrive. It's been fun seeing just how long this review can get, and how many comments we can all generate!! Thanks to Everyone for all the fun.
Keep Thriving & Androidify!
... Still just visiting Earth!
on August 4, 2011
This is my first tablet (had it about two weeks), but I work in IT and have configured upwards of 40 iPads for employees to use at my job. I liked the iPads, don't get me wrong, and while configuring them for our employees, I came to see the real benefit of having a tablet. I'm a big fan of the Android OS, so I decided I'd go with an Android tablet since it offers superior customization and streamlining.
I went with the Toshiba Thrive and couldn't be happier. It's fast, responsive, and the Honeycomb OS is very, very slick. I can see a lot of potential in the OS and am looking forward to Ice Cream Sandwich (the next update that will integrate phone and tablet operating systems into one) later this year.
* Stable - I never experienced the sleep issue at all, but installed the fix yesterday anyway, since it offered some additional performance improvements. No issues out of the performance at all. Everything is fast and responsive. A joy to use.
* Responsive - Honeycomb OS is very fast, clean, and customizable. Very intuitive to use (at least for me). Adding widgets, etc. is fun and easy to layout.
* Video/graphics - Videos look great in all formats, but really snap in HD. All the graphics look great, and the text in the Kindle App looks amazing. Visually stunning. Everyone that has seen it has been impressed.
* Customization - You can set up the five screens any way you want. Widgets are wonderful things! Also plugged it into my laptop and it loaded up without any problems, allowing me to copy some pictures, etc. quickly.
* Multi-task management - The third button along the bottom left allows you to easily switch from application to application quickly. It's amazing how quickly you can get to something once you get used to using that button!
* Size - to me, this is a pro, because you feel like you're holding something and it's very easy to hold on to. You don't get the sense it's going to slip out of your hands, like you sometimes do with the iPad2. It doesn't feel cheap or cheesy, but very solid.
* Battery life - I've read some mixed reviews on this, but I get a good 7-8 hours of serious use out of it before it gets below 20%. Over nights, when sleeping, it uses 2%-4% battery life. And it does charge fast, they aren't kidding about that!
* The charger - Not a big deal, true, but it's a small laptop power supply, which I just find annoying to have to lug around. They should have a simple adapter you can use with the provided mini-USB to USB cable.
* Sound - Not really a big issue (and I may be missing something), but even with the volume all the way up on the device, it still sounds a little low to me using headphones. Maybe just a preference here, but I thought I should mention it. It does sound much better without the headphones on, though, but can be a little clinky and suffer from reverb on heavier tracks of music.
* Storage - not really a "con", but more of a heads-up. You won't have the full storage amount available to use. For example, if you buy the 8 GB version, you won't have 8 GB of storage to use. Honeycomb and other things (drivers, etc) take up part of that amount. Same with the 16 and 32 GB versions. Not a big deal, but I know some people are wondering why they only have 5 GB free when they bought the 8 GB version, for example.
A wonderful tablet, performs great, looks great, and has impressed a couple of co-workers enough that they are going to buy one. The full USB port was the big selling point for both. This tablet has been everything I'd hoped for and more. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a tablet. This is a great first step into the tablet pool by Toshiba, I must say. If you're wondering if this tablet will do what you want, I'm pretty sure it will :)
I give the Thrive 5 Stars.
* There were a couple of image/OS updates ready to be installed right out of the box using Toshiba's SERVICE STATION app. I recommend immediately installing those updates before you do anything else. As with any new laptop, PC, phone, or tab, you should update it first before jumping into other apps, etc.
* I use ADVANCED TASK MANAGER to kill open apps that don't come with a native procedure for closing them. It integrates into Honeycomb very nicely, and all you need to do is tap the icon along the bottom right of the screen to open it from anywhere. Very slick and easy.
* I recommend that after updating the Operating System and Tablet image through the SERVICE STATION app, you set the LOCK SCREEN PIN (founds in SETTINGS >> LOCATION & SECURITY >> LOCK SCREEN). Also fill out the owner information (it will appear on the lock screen with the keypad). You can never be too careful, and if you do lose it, at least when someone tries to activate it, you'll have it PIN protected with your contact info right there for them to see.
Thanks for reading. I hope this was helpful.
on July 8, 2011
I've had the 16gb Thrive for 3 days now. The Thrive is in my opinion the best tablet available. The things that set it apart from other tablets are: Removable battery, Full size HDMI port, Full size USB 2.0 port as well as a mini USB port. All on board with no dock or adapters necessary. You can take your SD card right out of your camera and plug it in to the Thrive ( Handles up to 128 GB SDXC, what?!!) . Toshiba was smart enough to include a file manager that makes it super easy to move data or media between the tablet and SD card or external hard drive, etc. Running Honeycomb 3.1 right out of the box as well. The wifi is the best I have seen, better than any device in my house and I have a lot. Tethers to my Android phone with no problem. The audio is the best I have heard on a tablet.Toshiba worked with SRS and it shows. (One note, the default volume levels are low. Go into settings and adjust right away) The screen is better than the Xoom but not quite as good as the Samsung (in my opinion) and it seems to do better with higher quality and higher resolution content. Looks phenomenal when viewing pictures from my Canon Digital with an L lens. Color accuracy is excellent,not just oversaturated like some other tablets. The screen response is great. Ran a multitouch test and it recognizes 4 separate touch points simultaneously. 2mp front camera and 5 MP back camera are both very good with good lighting. All in all this tablet offers more interoperabilty than anything on the market. It charges really fast, 90% in 90 minutes. Very, very happy with my decision to go with the Thrive. I had considered the Asus but with the horrific build quality issues and lightbleed I decided against it. I am so glad I waited because Toshiba got it right, right out of the box! This thing is solid! No creaking or flex. No loose bezel. Zero lightbleed. A tablet is the sum of all its parts and in the words of Charlie Sheen, #Winning!
Update: 14 hrs today on the battery with fairly heavy surfing and some music and video. The battery gave me 6-7 hrs the first few charges. Wow, I didn't think it would improve this much! Really happy with the Thrive!
on July 6, 2011
I purchased two 16gb tablets from a local retailer yesterday. First let me say this tablet is not perfect but I am am very pleased. It is like having a large smart phone. I love my smart phone! My husband was able to get most of his apps installed, but some of mine are not available for the tablet yet. I am able to use my cloud service and access several of my paid apps (spreadsheets, word docs, etc). The widgets & apps that are missing from the market are not an issue because I can access these items online (banking, personal finance site). I am optimistic that the android community will remedy this eventually. I am a techie and I love it.
The interface is flawless & smooth, saved photos look really good (even when zoomed in), wireless connection excellent (no connection issues). So far my battery life has been 6hrs; but let me say I did not turn off wireless or Bluetooth. My screen brightness was on maximum. I played Need for Speed briefly, surfed the web alot (3-4 hours), downloaded apps and files, looked at several youtube videos. I think the speaker quality is good; picture quality OK; used tango and talked to hubby while he was at work.
Remember this tablet is thicker than the Ipad 2, Samsung, etc; some may experience fatigue from holding it long periods of time. I typed this entire review on the keyboard. I like it and unless something really bad happens in the next 13 days I plan to keep it.
07/19/11 UPDATED REVIEW -- Well I decide to update my review. (I was able to purchase the tablets early at Fry's on 07/05/11) I had the sleep issue and called Toshiba the first time on 07/07/11. While they were nice there was no resolution given. So I exchanged by tablet at Fry's on 07/08/11. Then my husband's tablet had the issue. I decided to be patient and started surfing the internet to see if anyone else was having the problem. Slowly, I saw more postings about this problem. My new tablet was starting to have a sleep issue too and rebooting by itself. I called Toshiba again on 07/13/11 and the rep told me that he had never heard of that problem before. By 07/15/11 it was on Toshiba's thrive forums and the internet extensively. I even looked to see if it was an Android issue that plagued other tablets. My 14 days to return the tablets for a refund were quickly approaching and I was hoping that Toshiba sent an update or that some of the fixes would work. While I realize any technology can have hiccups I felt that I needed to decide what to do. I did not want to be stuck with a problematic tablet. I returned both tablets last weekend.
I been checking the internet and I am glad to see that Toshiba finally realizes they need to fix this issue. I am surprise that it never showed up in testing. I hope it is a software issue and not a hardware issue because I am sure some of you have met your return time limits. I still think the tablet has some really nice features and I hope they work them out. I decided to buy the Xoom- no surprises.
on July 20, 2011
I bought the Toshiba last weekend and I couldn't be happier, the tablet does everything I needed it to do. First, I would like to address some issues that some people and reviewers complained about.
The sleep issue: some people complained that the tablet when going to sleep mode it does not turn on again unless the whole tablet is restarted. The issue does exist, although it happened to me once in a week, but Toshiba acknowledged the issue and is now working on a fix and will be out soon so lets just move past that.
The size issue: well this will be a matter of preference, are the ports, expandibility and connectivity worth the trade off? To me the answer is yes. Im personally tired of Apple manipulating the consumer in order to make more money. Apple refuses to offer ports to make you buy adapters, they refuse to have a removable battery, even on phones (all phones have removable batteries except for Apple), because they want you to buy the battery from them and also have it installed by Apple and they charge you money for the installation. So,if you have an issue with the battery not only you pay for the battery, you also pay for the installation and don't try to do it yourself because you will void the warranty. Also, this tablet is not that much thicker or havier than most of the tablets out there, it might be heavy and thick on the spec. Sheet but it sure feels good in your hand especially with the rubberized back.
Lack of flash in the back camera: well lets face it, even phone cameras with flash don't produce good images in low light conditions. Plus, did you really buy a tablet to take pictures? I don't think so. If you really wanna go this route you can use your phone camera or your point and shoot camera. Cameras on tablets are meant for video conferencing more than anything elseand the Thrive does that well.
The battery: some people didn't like the fact that the battery gets depleted in one or two days of heavy use. Well, the charger provided with the tablet charges the battery in 1 hour! Try to beat that. Plus unless you are planning to use the tablet in the desert then you should be able to charge your tablet before the end of the two days.
Now lets talk about the good stuff!
Pros: Fast and responsive: apps, screens and the internet load fast, even keyboard responsiveness is great Ports and expandability: Full USB port, HDMI port and SD card slot. I love the SD card slot because unlike Apple iPad, it gives you options. You might need a 16 gb tablet today but what if you get a different job tomorrow or your needs change for any reason? With the iPad all what you can do is to put it on eBay and buy a bigger memory which is capped at 64gb, with the Thrive, just buy an SD card or save your work on a flash memory or even an external hard drive (full USB support remember?) Screen: I like the screen, I really didn't get the chance to put it next to an iPad but the screen resolution and color look great to me. Its very comfortable for reading, I do a lot of reading using the Kindle app., yet performs great for gaming and videos' which I do occasionally. Printer share app: this is the easiest and fastest way I have seen and experienced that make printing from a tablet a breathe. The app allows you to print from multiple sources and apps on the tablet via any wifi or Bluetooth printer available in range. I was able to print a PDF file sent to my email using the wireless printer in my room. The app detected the printer right away and printed the document in seconds. File manager: that's the only tablet that comes with a file manager that makes it easy to navigate through your files, documents, pictures etc.., exactly like you do on your PC and you can also create folders etc.. Camera quality: I think that the camera quality is great especially for a tablet or a mobile device in general. Removable battery: you can remove the battery and change it so you can have a new battery when the current battery is depleted or when you just feel like having an extra battery just in case. Back covers: I personally like the stock black back cover but I appreciate the fact that Toshiba thought about this and offered it, I think its a great way to customize your tablet by choosing from multiple colors, fast and easy.
Cons: Android 3.1: definitely needs a little tweaking, there are minor issues across the board but overall I'll give it a 9 out of 10. Plus, all these issues im sure they will be ironed out in the next version or update of android. Apps: definitely the android market lacks tablet specific apps, the number of apps is much less than the ipad and the phone apps that look good on the tablet. Developers should accelerate their efforts and develop more apps and games for honeycomb. One of the main reasons people wrennot buying honeycomb tablets as much as the Ipad, is the number of apps available for download that are tablet specific. Lacks accessories: I really can't complain much here because the tablet just came out so hopefully in the future there will be more cases and stuff.
Overall, I think the Thrive is a terrific tablet and it gets the job, any job done and done fast and I would definitely recommend this tablet to any one looking to buy a tablet and by the way this review was written on my Thrive using the on screen keyboard and it functions great. Typing was responsive although I was tyoing fast, exactly like if typing on my PC, there was no lag or any issues.
on October 29, 2011
In today's tablet market, there are a lot of choices. If price is no object, you could easily be drawn to a 64 gb Ipad 2, which would give you a reliable, user-friendly package with plenty of onboard storage. Ios 5 has also brought wireless syncing with Itunes and cloud storage. With a great selection of apps, and strict quality control on the hardware and software, Apple is really tough to beat.
So why buy an Android tablet? Maybe you hate Apple. Maybe you love native Flash support in your browser. Maybe you like more flexibility from your desktop layout, to storage and peripherals. A lot of people go straight to the Samsung Galaxy Tab instead of the Ipad 2, seeing the Samsung as an Android Ipad, and why not - it is thin and light, has flashy aluminum on the back, and has a great display like the Ipad.
For me, the Ipad was both expensive and restrictive, so I went looking for the Anti-Ipad. I wanted expandible memory, the ability to plug in a flash drive, independence from Itunes, and I wanted it to be rugged. It also needed a great display, needed to be comfortable to hold, and needed to be reliable. That left me with the Toshiba Thrive and Acer Iconia A500 to choose between.
I initally bought the Acer, as it had good reviews and the price was right under $400. Three days with the A500 left me disappointed. It would go into a coma instead of going to sleep. The battery would drain, and it wasn't comfortable for me to hold, just like my wife's Ipad, because it was too thin. For me, there is a point when something is so thin it becomes hard to hold, which is why screwdrivers all have handles of a certain size, and why coffee mug handles do too, as well as why the handles on pliers flare out instead of closing to the point where they would meet- it's about comfort.
I returned the Acer (I still have an A100 that I use when I want something smaller) and ordered the 16 gb Thrive from Amazon. I knew it was among the heaviest, and most likely the thickest tablet there is, but I had a feeling it was what I was looking for. As a bonus, it had a full-sized HDMI out, takes up to 128 gb SDXC cards, has a removable battery (who else offers this?) and a rubberized back for easier grip. Like just about every other tablet, phone, mp3 player, and toothbrush these days, it has 2 cameras.
So with about 3 weeks of daily use, this has been everything I wanted. I ordered a 64gb sdxc card, dropped my favorite music and movies onto it, and have room for tons of storage left. Around the house, wifi reception is great, and I get good reception anywhere, whereas I sometimes had poor reception with the A500. Like all Android tablets, there are seemingly endless apps in any imagineable category, and Netflix streaming now works without having to fiddle with various workarounds.
The device is comfortable to hold in either portrait or landscape mode, and the border around the display lets my finger/thumbs rest without accidentally taping on something. Does it weigh a lot? I don't think so. The difference between my wife's Ipad and the Thrive are negligible, and the Thrive is more comfortable to hold, and the same is true vs. the HP Touchpad, which weighs about the same, but is as big (or small) as an Ipad 1. Its weight is hidden in how comfortable it is to hold. As for size, a tablet just needs to fit in a suitcase, small bag, or backpack, which the Thrive does with ease. It is thick, but never seems too big, or behind the tech curve. Toshiba isn't hiding vacuum tubes inside, they made it bigger because it is easier to work with. If it was a cell phone, this would have been a mistake, but full-sized tablets don't fit in your pocket, no matter what brand.
ON THE GO
This is where battery life, storage capacity, and connectivity either help or hurt you. Go somewhere without wifi, and there's no cloud access, no downloading, no streaming. Having your music and movies onboard makes this a non-issue. I can easily get 7 hours out of the battery if I turn off the wifi and just watch movies. An extra battery doubles that. If I need to plug in, I am not teathered to a 3-foot cord, like many tablets have. I can be several feet away from an outlet and not have to hold it awkwardly because the cord is too short. Charging seems to be reasonably fast, which is another plus.
This is what the user looks at all the time. The screen looks great. Colors are good, brightness is enough to use outside, and the screen responds well, too.
The speakers are not huge, and won't blow you away. HP's touchpad has better speakers, maybe it's just that the slots are bigger and let more sound out. They are adequate.
The USB port works as a host. I have used it to charge my Ipod. It sometimes wants a reboot before it will recognize some flash drives, but it has not had any serious problems, and is a real plus. HDMI out works immediately, and gives you the ability to stream Netflix to a hotel TV in a snap. Full sized SD card is very flexible, but I sometimes have trouble with micro SD cards reading. It could be the adapter itself, but i can plug the micro SD into a USB card reader and there is no trouble reading that way.
1) No charging through USB. It would be nice, but even the Ipad requires a wall charger. The Thrive's charger is just like a netbook charger with a small brick. This has not been a problem, but it would be nice if it was smaller.
2) Android 3.1 isn't always stable. Probably not Toshiba's fault, but apps crash sometimes, which is a rarity with Ios stuff. I hope 4.0 will be better.
3) The power button is hard to find sometimes. You won't accidentally hit it, unless you're going for the volume rocker right next to it. I also like the home button to be a real, bonafide button, rather than the one on the screen. Only Apple and HP have a real button on their hardware for this. I like a real button because hitting it is always intentional, and an accidental sweep of it doesn't send you home.
4) No flash for the rear camera. I think it's absurd to hold up a tablet and start taking photos, as I can't believe anyone would use a tablet primarily for this, but since they have a camera, why not put a flash in with it, like others have? I do have a device that is made for this, and will always do a better job, though. It's called a camera. Also, Acer did it right by offsetting the cameras so landscape mode doesn't cause you to inadvertently cover the camera.
My advice to people who don't want an Ipad for whatever reason is to seriously consider the Thrive. Everything else has compromises and limitations, and nothing else is as rugged. You will need to buy a protector to prevent the plastic or aluminum from being scratched on everything else. Asus has the transformer, which I have not tried, but I didn't want to spend an extra $150 for a keyboard and USB (it's really a matter of what each person values). The Thrive is unique, and in a good way.
on July 12, 2011
I returned the Iconia when I found out the Thrive was going to have Honey Comb 3.1 a SD card, a REAL HDMI port not a mini, a removable battery and an electrical cable longer than 20 inches (a total joke you will find on the Iconia.)
They both offer endless memory expansion with a USB thumb drive but the Thrive lets me easily plug in and out a dozen SD cards quickly. The Iconia has a mini SD and it is painful. You will not switch out one card for another.
The Ipad and its closed architecture are NOT for people who know how to use computers.
Let me be brief so you can read the rest of the review on these stellar products. On more than one occasion the contents of the IPad have disappeared due to ITunes Sync issues. Nothing and I mean nothing beats the drag and drop of files onto the Android tablet. When you are done delete them as opposed to doubling your storage needs, a copy on the computer and one on the Ipad is a pain.
All three IPads that I tested ALL had wireless G/N connectivity issues; regardless of the router brand they constantly lose the connection.
The Iconia and Thrive kick Apple to the curb on that technical glitch. Apples solution is to force you to use N only on the router but this does not solve the connection problem. Add the closed design of ITunes to manage everything with zero built in ports and just forget it.
Enter Thrive over the Galaxy and over the Iconia. What you get here is Honeycomb 3.1, the email client alone is a step up. On the Iconia with 3.0 if you wanted to create email in anything other than Gmail you had to enter all the inbound/outbound crap. Thrive with 3.1 automatically figures that out for the most popular email systems.
Add the USB port and the full SD card and you have instant access to an UNLIMITED library of material when you are on the road. Take your SD chip out of your camera and you are instantly looking at your photos. Carry a few SD cards with your music tastes, specific presentations per industry or client type or a bunch of ripped movies for a 10 hour flight and you get the idea. Why be limited by fixed storage.
Honest case in point, my family came off a plane today, the car was dead in the airport lot. While waiting for AAA we took the SD card out of the vacation camera that just landed, popped it into the Thrive and watched an hour of photos talking about the trip with those who had not been there while we waited for AAA. Productive and keeps the kids busy.
Next test will be compact flash adapter that will shortly get plugged into the USB slot.
Go to any hotel/presentation room with your $10 HDMI cable or walk into any story if you forgot it and instantly connect with a FULL size standard cable. The Iconia uses a mini HDMI, just one more pain in the you know what to go and find if you lose the original. Never mind lost the sale if you cannot connect to a panel. Just about everyone has a standard HDMI cable in presentation rooms today.
The pluses on the Thrive are endless but the weight is killer, it's heavy and thick. Add the Toshiba versatile rotating carry case and it's huge but it is a price I am more than willing to pay for all the connectivity ports. This is a Swiss army knife of Tablets.
The Iconia I must tell you with 3.0 was faster on connecting to internet pages. And I mean lightning fast!!! I have to blame 3.1 like any OS update since the processor is the same on both. I don't know if the wireless adapter card on the Iconia is a better or faster unit. Here the Iconia beat the Thrive but it might lose this edge when the Iconia updates to 3.1.
If you are on the road the endless power with removable batteries is great, it just keeps on ticking.
Another issue regarding power: the Iconia provides you a useless 20 inch electrical cable. The Thrive has the equivalent of a laptop small power adapter and 6 or more feet of cable. FORGET the idea that you will use a universal mini or micro USB plug to power either the Iconia or the Thrive; NOT GOING TO happen, just buy a universal adapter that works on your laptop and then switch connector for the tablet.
So far, the Thrive wins hands down.
Other Cons on the Thrive so you know it's not perfect. The power button is too recessed on my unit. I have to hunt for the button.
on July 6, 2011
Strangely enough our local Fry's electronic store put their stock of Thrive's on sell July 1st! I picked one up and all I can say is that I love it! Aside from a few Honeycomb 3.1 quirks, and the fact the Thrive is a little thicker than its competition, it feels solid in my hands and responds smoothly and quickly to my touch. One of the things that has me really happy is the full size SD card and the full size USB port! For twenty dollars I doubled my memory with a 16GB SD card, lets see the Samsung Tab or IPad do that. I've been using it non-stop for five days and so far no crashes or freezing up. The battery life is ok, however the battery charges faster then my cell phone. I can pretty my charge the tablet in an hour, not to shabby. Apps have gone on smoothly with no problems, I have the kindle app, MOBO player, Pulse for news, Catch for note taking, Documents To Go for reviewing and editing spreadsheets, and the Adobe reader for looking over PDFs. If there is any APP you should check out is Google Body, my kids love looking over the different anatomy viewpoints. The browser works like any full size browser you would experience on your laptop. That's all I got. I am not a Toshiba rep or even a techie, just another person looking for an alternative tablet to the IPad or the ridiculously expensive XOOM. It was either the Transformer by Asus or this. All I can say is that Toshiba has made a solid product that doesn't feel like its going to break on me or like they tried to cram every feature into a tin can. For once I'm not disappointed.
My company creates applications for various mobile devices, and so I have access to many different tablets. After working with it for a few weeks, I'm finding the Toshiba is a solid product and credible alternative to other Android tablets and iPad.
In terms of construction quality, the Toshiba is beefy and solid feeling. Most surfaces are covered in a rubbery non-slip material, and although it's slightly heavier and thicker than most competitors, it still feels right in your hands. The screen is reasonably high quality...to me, not quite as readable as Apple's, but certainly more than adequate. Touch screen performance is very good, and unlike some other models, I find it easy to interact with it, even for objects right near the edge of the screen. I'm generally more of a physical keyboard fan, but Toshiba's touchscreen seemed more appealing than most.
The Android implementation is generally very good, and it seems more stable than previous versions. Still, I've had a few application crashes on the Toshiba, but it's difficult to know whether it's Android, the app developer or the Toshiba. Overall, I'd have no trouble recommending it for day-to-day use, even for demanding users. One particular issue I've been having is connecting to my corporate secure network. It's locked with a WPA2 key, and while I have other Android devices working fine, the Toshiba seems to struggle. It's worked fine on other networks I've tried - including others protected with WPA2 - but for some reason, the network I use most often seems to be difficult.
Where the Toshiba really shines is expansion capabilities. It supports Bluetooth 3.0, giving you access to keyboards, mice, headsets and so on. It has standard USB ports, meaning you can easily attach things like external disk drives. It has an SD card slot, making on-board storage almost limitless, since you can easily carry as many SD cards as you like. It even has HDMI and a fairly strong docking station, so when you're in the office, you can use your desktop monitor and keyboard, making the Toshiba a PC replacement for less demanding tasks. Indeed, one of the first apps I installed is virtual desktop client software, letting me have my full Windows desktop, right on the Toshiba. In large companies with virtual desktop initiatives, these devices make very cool endpoint devices.
The cameras are about average for this type of product. If you have the bandwidth, video conferences are possible, and stills are good enough so that the Toshiba makes a great barcode scanner. I was able to get a usable scan of a 2x2 inch QR code from about two feet - better than most. Still, I'm not giving up my DSLR yet.
The only reservation I might have is about whether you want cellular (3G/4G) network integration. Devices like the Toshiba Thrive generally mean you'll need to be carrying a cell phone, and if you want to network your tablet in a place where 802.11 WiFi networks aren't available, it can get complex. Certainly, many modern smartphones can act as a WiFi hotspot, or you can pair via Bluetooth or cables, so there are ways to have mobile access. But, if you're looking for that all-in-one, use it anywhere experience, you might prefer integrated 3G/4G capabilities.
Cellular networking feels like the only obvious omission to me, so if you're the type who seems to always be in range of an 802.11 signal, then I definitely recommend you check out the Toshiba Thrive.
on October 11, 2011
20120626 UPDATE (THIS IS IMPORTANT) - The MOG app uses "*read sensitive log data" permission -- The THRiVE is still the best tablet on the market this is just one of the "bad" things app writer's (both Apple and Android) do to unsuspecting users. If you are using Evrenote or are planning to download it, it too, uses the *read sensitive log data" permission.
Using your favorite search engine, read about the potential evil of the "*read sensitive log data" permission. It appears it should be a debugging-only tool! It should NOT be a permission left in app that is released to the community. MOG comes as in intrinsic app with the TOSHIBA THRiVE seemingly meaning that it cannot be removed, only the updates can be removed.
I WILL NOT USE the MOG app since it has over stepped common sense boundaries by forgetting about the user's needs for privacy and protection of their personal data from unintended disclosure to MOG; and, by MOG; or, by malicious apps using this exploit. If you want to learn what MOG collects, use the aLogcat app. For additional information about the *read sensitive log data, these URLs discuss how this permission has affected users and vendors ...
(NOTE: the URLs will probably be censored by amazon.com. Not to worry, use a search engine as mentioned above to do your research)
20120625 UPDATE - MoKo folios have been in use for over six months and have taken a lot of wear-and-tear abuse protecting the THRiVEs traveling in a backpack through airport security then being dumped unceremoniously in an overhead bin then bumped and dragged through cities and the countryside in a daypack.
On another note, while traveling, the THRiVE's screen withstood a direct hit from a piece of metal that that came flying through the air making a sickening thwack that left a mark making me think, "Oh stuff!" I carefully wipped the screen with a soft microfiber cloth and was pleased to see no trace of the screen's encounter with the piece of metal. Several weeks later, this moment is only a memory!
20120420 UPDATE - There are notes scattered below of changes or new information. Here is one that may be useful. To make listening more comfortable, I initially added the Cyber Acoustics AC-204 Headset&Mic w/PC Y-Adapter (a necessity for Google Voice since the 903+, mentioned next, only operates as a headset on the THRiVE); however, I have migrated to the Plantronics BackBeat 903+ Headset for Music/Video and my cell phone - both of these are available "Prime" on Amazon.com.
WE BOUGHT TWO AND THIS IS WHAT WE THINK ABOUT THEM!
I looked for a tablet that met my needs. The iPad is way to proprietary for me and I do not use/like the iTunes closed environment. I also looked at the Xoom and the now defunct HP. I read about many others. Here is why I chose the Toshiba THRiVE tablet over any of the other tablets available and have been using it for several months now.
1. User replaceable/changeable battery that gives some 11 hours of usage (my longest continuous was 16 hours - of course, doing work that involved no movies, no video, and for grins and giggles I uninstalled the apps that unnecessarily consume battery and those apps that launch for no good reason at boot time and just run even when there is no need).
2. The spare battery allows me some 22 hours of time. I have run four (4) full length movies on one charge and there is plenty of battery charge remaining to do more stuff. If you travel long distances whether by airline, train, car, boat, etc., you will appreciate the time the THRiVE gives you with its replaceable battery. The "grand" iPad dies after a few short hours unless one has an extension cord or a power source to keep it running which means you must be okay with being tethered to an automobile's battery or a power outlet (if available).
3. Two fully functional USB ports. One for the stuff in the toy collection that needs a large USB connector; and, one for the other stuff in the collection that needs a small USB connector.
4. Though not suggested or recommended, it is possible for the THRiVE to be connected to a desktop and act as a drive. You will need to do your own research to learn more!
5. The THRiVE has a standard SD card slot. A few of the other tablets have a microSD card slot. The THRiVE offers 128gb SDXC (yes, that is an 'X') card usage capability. 128gb is not really what I need at the moment but I am glad I can upsize to 128gb should I need it in the future. Two 32gb class 10 SDHC (yes, that is an 'H') cards are pre-loaded with video and music and apps when I am on flights lasting as long as 13 hours. Unless first class is affordable, there are usually no outlets in the back-of-the-plane. The EuroRail offers 220 outlets that are suitable for the THRiVE without buying additional power modules (an adapter for the power plug is required to fit the power sockets). The SD cards give me the capability of having a tremendous amount of material to keep me occupied whether video, music, work, or whatever.
6. The 10 inch screen is very readable and the refresh rate is very good. The color appears to be good even though I have not done anything to color correct it. It fortunately does NOT seem to have that garish color saturation for the fake "vivid" look.
7. The THRiVE does not have to be "rooted" or "jailbroken" like some devices (iPad is the most notible) to provide some great features and wonderful capabilities that are highly desirable.
8. The Kindle app is available from the android market (20120420-now called Google Play) as are other great apps to meet probably most, if not all, of your needs. It is important to get the google account! Remember, like all of the tablets, it is a "cloud" device and connection to the "cloud" is an absolute MUST! Next, so you will never be disappointed with an app, it will be a very good use of your time to login, using your THRiVE account at Google.com, to the android market from a desktop and then find the apps that seem like something suitable for you. The android market will use your THRiVE login and the developer information to inform you if the app will work with Honeycomb 3.1 (your THRiVE's operating system) and the Toshiba tablet. Please do this. You will read a lot of comments from folks about apps they tried to use, on their tablet/smartphone, but did not check to learn if the app would work on their device.
9. The THRiVE has been traveling with me for some time. It always has worked as it should. It works even better when the developer creates a proper app that knows when the "cloud" is present and prepares itself to know how to work when the "cloud" is temporarily unavailable!
10. There are many more features and capabilities provided by the Toshiba THRiVE that set it apart from the other tablets that caused me to buy two (2) of them. I am trying to get time to play with all of the THRiVE's features and capabilities.
11. The THRiVE works flawlessly with my Pogoplugs so that I can stream/download video via Wi-Fi at the brick-and-mortor places I have tried this. Of course, I can put the THRiVE to work listening to my music on my Pogoplugs, vi Wi-Fi, while I do other things on the THRiVE.
12. If you are lucky enough to have, and can afford, a Mi-Fi or a Car-Fi the THRiVE's capabilities and features work flawlessly keeping you at work and entertained.
13. 20111011 UPDATE ... How could I forget! The next best thing to a user-replacable battery is a battery recharge that takes a discharged battery and fully recharges it about one (1) hour. The importance of this is that those two or more hours of "sit" time, in an airport, waiting for the next leg of the flight allows me to totally recharge both my batteries and use the THRiVE at the same time.
14. 20111013 UPDATE ... When reviewing an apps' permission, do make sure the "Show All" is clicked so that you can view the permissions that are not popular for a developer to use yet the permissions are used because they can be used and the use is not necessarily for the benefit of the THRiVE user.
Ya just have to admit that Toshiba and its THRiVE was the first tablet that was done correctly from the get-go!
Short comings (of wireless, developers, and ... that limit the THRiVE)
1. The THRiVE is a cloud device like the Xoom, the iPad, the xxx, etc. and is limited in what it can do once it is away from the internet. This limitation is mostly the fault of the developer of the app that forgets that Wi-Fi is not every where as one might think or is told. There are really places in these United States that are devoid of McDonalds, BurgerKings, and the like. When this happens, the interaction with the internet goes dark, very DARK! 3g/4g is no better. Unlike the advertisements where the wireless vendors would like you to believe that 3g/4g is pervasive, it is NOT if you leave the city/metropolitian areas.
2. The so called "unlimited" 3g/4g data packages are "capped" and very expensive. If you take a moment and read the fine print that I have read in the data service contracts it really limits what can be done with their 2, 5, 10 gig data plans (fine print from one wireless privider indicated if you use to much of your "unlimited" plan they can disconnect your service -- how does one use to much of "unlimited?"). I think T-Mobile is the exception at the moment but this may not be so for long with the eminent purchase by another wireless provider (?). A movie is about 4gb to download/stream unless you buy/obtain the movie and then dumb it down (lower the resolution/size) with software available at some retail outlets/online. The wireless vendors also control the speed available to the device at the tower. I can tether my old Motorola Razr (vintage 2007 - D and EV capable) to my computer and use a real "unlimited" data plan that is grandfathered at $30/mth that has gone, when tower allowed, to 1,000Kbps for extended periods when in the right place.
3. The THRiVE cannot access the Whisper Net like the 3g versions of the Kindle. Even the "crappy" experimental browser on the Kindle is better than a cell phone, Wi-Fi, laptop, iPad, Nook, etc. when there is no other access. "I know!" I was in the middle of no where on the EuroRail in Europe just East of the French border and I needed information. Nothing, from unlocked SIMM'd cell, to ... woked except the Kindle, it's "crappy" experimental browser, and Whisper Net. The "silk" browser of the "Fire" kindle is supposed to be much, much, better?
4. The THRiVE might be a little heavy for some of the critics. If you are like me and travel with a backpack it is no big deal. The provided default non-skid back has been a lifesaver - granted, it is not pretty but I do not need pretty!
5. Since the rage is the "black" appearing screen we are stuck with it. Like laptops, and other displays, the "black" appearing screen is for indoor office/home use. The designers forgot about us folks that are of the out-of-doors sorts. It has a mechanism that really tries to make the screen bright enough to see in the sunlight that does only a minimal amount of good. Fortunately, a shadow can often be made that allows the eyes to adjust and the screen can be seen a whole lot better than a smartphone.
6. A netbook, a laptop, and a desktop offer some privacy that is not in the scope of how things seem to work in the tablet/smartPhone cloud environment. App Permissions MUST be carefully checked (check the apps Permissions from a desktop/laptop connected to the Android market). Some apps watch and disseminate everything that is done and will continue to do so 24x7x365. As an example, think of it this way. There are certain apps where the coordinates of every bathroom stop made every day can be sent out into the internet along with any other information the developer chose to include while the device is carried and power to the device is enabled. The only way to stop this behavior permanently is to uninstall the app. The way to tolerate and coexist with this behavior is to review the intent of the app and plan what you do accordingly (20111027 - this context must be applied to the list of apps below for your use). When the tablet is not being used, totally power down (this would be the same as removing the battery if the provided on-off switch were not available). Another way is to uninstal the app when it is not useful (this is not painful and is for the most part a rather quick process unlike what most of us have experienced in the Microsoft world). With more research in the Android market, there is probably another app that will more than likely do the same thing and be less intrusive and invasive. I mostly go for the "free" apps and NEVER, never, the ones that have advertisements!
7. It is important to have something watch for malicious apps. "Yes!" there are evil people masterminding "tricks" to steal anything and everything (processing time, identity, passwords, etc.). Kaspersky, and Norton are probably the better tools designed for the Android tablet at the present time. There are some free tools that have not-so-good reputations in the technical trade publications.
8. Android tablets are also thought of as Smart Phones seemingly because when Android was first marketed by Google, there were only smartphones and there were no Android tablets. So, this might be a little confusing at first when the app only makes reference to smartphones.
20111027 - UPDATE ... I am answering this question, "What do I use on the THRiVE?" This is no endorsement of any of the Android apps, the developer(s), or any personal involvement (financial, ownership, etc.). I like these apps because they do what I want-and-need until I find something better. Keep in mind that some are particularly invasive to privacy, some use processor cycles that could be better used by another app, and some consume battery whether they are being used or not. The apps (in no particular order) ...
20120420 - UPDATE ... Try "Airplane Mode" with the apps on the THRiVE. Airplane mode often makes an app that tracks the device user workable so it becomes a way to manage "some" invasive apps that might otherwise be useful. Just remember to either uninstall/"Force Stop" the app and clear cache when finished using it. It if "pops up" on reboot it might be an app that has to be uninstalled when not in use.
ANDROID APPS (I use - downloaded ONLY)
A. Pogoplug - It provides access at the tablet to my Pogoplug that I use to store my video, music, pictures, and other stuff that I want to access while I am out and about (encrypted with PKWare AES 256). I do not really need it since I could go to <...> and do most of the same things if not more. (20120420-PKWare has posted that it will make available a reader for the android market in the 2nd quarter 2012. This is great news when one has to carry protected documents that now can be accessed on the THRiVE).
B. TripAdvisor - The online version was not all that interesting to me. There apps do it right! If you want to see what I mean, get one of them say, "Hawaii Travel Guide or Los Angeles City Guide!" When one is traveling it is not always possible to be connected to the internet (like flying - and a legal requirement is to have the THRiVE in "Airplane mode" over the Pacific on an aircraft that is not Wi-Fi equipped or I do not want to pay the fee to use onboard Wi-Fi ... ). TripAdvisor series of apps work where-you-are and when-you-need-them even if there is not internet connection (of course, an internet connection is necessary for updates to the apps and the data that can be done whenever). These folks are responsive to a user's thoughts, comments and feedback.
20120420-For some odd reason, the folks at TripAdvisor changed their strategy. An internet connection is now a necessity to use their apps - I would rate this app "BAD" if it were not for their good information. Now, I have to put myself on pause until I am within range of internet access ... .
C. Kaspersky - This is the only paid app on my THRiVEs. It was available before Norton. I wanted protection. These folks are responsive to a user's thoughts, comments and feedback.
D. Adobe Reader - Just have to have my PDF's! Enough written.
20120420-Check the settings for a lot more tools that will be very useful.
E. Amazon Kindle - Need I say more?
F. Google Docs, Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Translate, Google Voice, and Google Books - Each provides a glimps into the developer's Android creation. Keep in mind that the Google developer's belief appears to be that the user would always have "open" internet connection no matter where they were or where they went. "Ain't happening yet!" However, the tools are worthwhile.
G. Adobe Flash Player - Yep, it works and does what it should.
H. Androidify - Okay, so it is cute. I liked it and fits my creative side when I am bored.
I. Barcode Scanner - The one by ZXing Team I like the best. These folks are responsive to a user's thoughts, comments and feedback.
J. Centrury 21 Real Estate Mobile - The developer did a good job for the most part. These folks are responsive to a user's thoughts, comments and feedback.
K. Cracker Barrel - It is food that meets my picky needs.
L. ERA Mobile Real Estate - (see J.)
M. Finance - A Google tool. Weird that it only completely works on one THRiVE. I have hopes they will tell me where to find the corrupt data and how to delete.
20120420-There has yet to be a response on this from Google.
N. FlightAware Flight Tracker - This is good if you have to sit in an airport wondering where in the world and what is happening to the expected flight (also good for people collecting passengers from baggage claim and even better most other information that might be useful).
O. MyQR Code - You will understand once you acquire this one (see I.)
P. My Tracks - If the THRiVE can get a GPS signal, the track across the ground/highway/trail will be shown - map and terrain is optional because the developers forgot that internet connection is not pervasive.
Q. Kayak - Ah, I just love the multiple cities option and all the better "traveler" places to search for hotel, car, and plane reservations. These folks are responsive to a user's thoughts, comments and feedback.
R. WeatherBug - Get the version for Honeycomb. These folks are responsive to a user's thoughts, comments and feedback.
S. USA TODAY for Tablet - I am still looking. It fills the gap for now.
T. Norton Snap QR Code Reader, Norton Anti-Theft Plugin, Mobile Utilities & Task Killer, and Mobile Security and Antivirus - Keep in mind that some of these offer the complete set of advertised options for an additional subscription fee. They serve a purpose for me just as they are, for now!
U. 20120420 - Additional apps that might be of interest: BASIC!, Firefox Beta, Google Googles (careful!), Google Sky Map. Then there is Sketch n Draw that has advertisement; however, just go into "airplane mode" to mitigate and enjoy.
ANDROID APPS (Of no use or ... )
ZZ1. Adobe Photoshop Express - it is a social media tool that does not allow me to do what I want. If social media web sites are used, it might be okay?
ZZ2. Videos - It is a Google app. It cannot be uninstalled. It just arrived a day or so ago. Even though I might like it (?), Google gives me no choice in the matter and appears to think everyone should have this. I suppose it is in the fine print, somewhere, so ... .
20120420 - Google+ became the user environment that added a lot of features of absolutely no interest to me. It was a disappointment that Google just did this, ... again, its probably in the fine print ... . Then, there is also Google Play Books. I did not want this but ... .