2,279 of 2,341 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For me, Thrive beats Galaxy Tab and Acer Iconia
*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...
Published on July 9, 2011 by Kaio
416 of 446 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice product but not problem free (for now)
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...
Published on July 6, 2011 by TIR
Most Helpful First | Newest First
2,279 of 2,341 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For me, Thrive beats Galaxy Tab and Acer Iconia,
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!
204 of 209 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than pleased,
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.
312 of 328 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Innovative, Best tablet yet!,
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!
416 of 446 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice product but not problem free (for now),
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.
97 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Toshiba Thrive Review, a great product!,
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.
61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Android tablet yet,
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.
198 of 214 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Actual hands-on review,
66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The most flexible of them all,
This review is from: Toshiba Thrive 10.1-Inch 32 GB Android Tablet AT105-T1032 Black (Personal Computers)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.
94 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot to like,
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.
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Thrive great for world travel-Updated Dec 2012,
I bought my 16Gb Toshiba Trive 6 weeks ago for two types of travel: long airplane flights to and travel in Africa, and electronic charts and plates for flying our airplane. I couldn't be happier with my purchase. And I've found some benefits beyond my original reasons for purchase.
As for charts and plates in our airplane the iPad is the standard for pilots. But the iPad is a closed system. We have Windows PCs and a Windows 7 Phone other than my wife's Android phone. So adding an Apple product just wasn't going to work. I found Android apps that will do all I need in the airplane. I don't need the Thrive for locating the plane on approach plates as can be done with the iPad. I have two aviation GPSs in the plane. They already do a great job. I just want to replace the 20 pounds of charts and plates I currently haul around in the plane. The Thrive can do that just fine. Though the Trive is heavier than the iPad for mounting on the yoke.
Foreign travel is where the Thrive really shines. In both Mali and Uganda reliable Wifi is hard to come by. So I had to preload most of what I was going to use before leaving the land of prevalent Wifi. Here's how I prepared for my latest trip:
1) I loaded my 32Gb SD card with 32 movies before I departed for Africa. The Thrive requires conversion of the movies from AVI to MP4 for the stock player. So I had to get some software to do the conversion. That software is very slow. But it works. Update 12/14/11 - QQPlayer plays AVI movies no problem.
2) I loaded a 16Gb SD card with all of my music.
3) I loaded copies of all my critical files in the Thrive internal memory.
4) I downloaded a number of ePub books for FBReader and a couple Amazon books for the Kindle app.
5) I purchased the Larousse English-French dictionary and Petite Larousse. All data is stored locally so is usable without a Wifi connection.
6) I got all of the newspaper readers I regularly use, particularly the New York Times reader, for use whenever I have wifi access. Otherwise I use my Windows 7 Phone which uses my cell connection for newspapers, Facebook and email.
7) I purchased the full version of Office Suite for creating and editing Word docs and Excel spreadsheets.
8) I loaded some games and utilities that I might need.
9) Then in addition to the standard Toshiba case I purchased a case for the Thrive that has an integrated USB keyboard. And I got a bluetooth mouse ($17 at Fry's). The keyboard works great!
10) I have British and French plug converters for the battery charger. And I was set to go.
Flights to either West or East Africa take 24 hours from the US West Coast with one or two layovers. On the longest leg I worked on an MS Word document using Office Suite for a couple hours. Then after watching two full length movies using QQPlayer I swapped SD cards and switched to reading books in FBReader while listening to my music in RealPlayer with good noise cancelling headphones. It was the most pleasant of the many flights I've made to Africa. After 9 hours of continuous use of the Thrive on the longest flight I still had 15% battery and it was playing music with almost no further drop in battery availability. The Thrive battery recharged in a little over an hour in the Amsterdam airport.
Now here in Africa I use the Thrive almost every day both for reading a book while I'm waiting for a meal to be prepared or watching a movie in the evening if I haven't fired up my big 17" Toshiba Satellite laptop. I can use the Thrive for hours even when the power's out because of the long battery life. African power is always intermittent. So battery life is quite important.
The Thrive is perfect for downloading pictures from my Canon digital camera for showing friends pictures I've brought with me or have recently taken. The folks here love seeing pictures on the tablet. It's so much nicer than peering at pictures on the tiny camera screen. And while viewing the photos of themselves zooming in using the touch screen is a real hit. Then I can transfer the recent photos onto a friend's flash drive so they have a copy of the pictures to keep. I use the laptop for more permanent storage of photos. But the Thrive is so portable, quick to boot up, and easy for friends to use the touch screen I use it almost exclusively when visiting.
On long drives on African roads I break out my Thrive and put it in the keyboard case. I can hold the tablet on my lap and use the keyboard for writing reports. I don't have to worry about bouncing around a spinning hard drive like I would if I tried using my big laptop in a vehicle. The laptop stays in it's case when on the road.
There is a problem using the Thrive in a vehicle on the road. When it's sunny out, which is quite often the case here in Africa, I have to manipulate the tablet into partial shade to be able to see the screen. This is true whether I'm composing documents or reading books. In direct sunlight the screen is difficult to see. I have a daytime setting in FBReader that increases the screen brightness that helps some. But the Thrive is not a Kindle reader. That said, the Thrive is great for reading a book in bed with the lights out. A friend has to use a portable light to illuminate her Kindle. The Thrive screen is quite bright for reading in the dark with no external illumination.
Both the pre-installed File Manager and ES File Explorer do a good job of manipulating files on the Thrive. I regularly copy backup versions of documents I create on the tablet onto a flash drive. Or I can plug the tablet into my laptop to place a backup copy on the laptop drive. It's this file manipulation flexibility that really sold me on the Thrive. I have not been disappointed.
Now that I use a touch screen on both my cell phone and the Thrive tablet I find myself trying to touch my laptop screen rather than use the mouse. I have the mouse for the tablet. But I only use it when I'm doing concentrated composing or editing in Office Suite. Otherwise the touch screen works great.
Being a touch typist I could tell immediately I need the external keyboard for document work on the Thrive. Placing your fingers over the home row on the tablet screen keyboard just causes a lot of extraneous letter touches since it's static electricity that activates the screen, not finger pressure. To type on the screen keyboard it's better to be a hunt-and-peck typist since you are only touching one screen letter at a time.
Some day when Toshiba and Google enable Android tablets to use a cell modem I'll be able to leave my big heavy laptop at home and just use the Toshiba tablet while traveling. Wifi is not readily available outside the developed countries. Right now if I need something from the Internet I have to retrieve it on my laptop then transfer it to the Thrive unless I'm in a capital city and can find Wifi at a hotel or office.
Here in Africa the Thrive and my Windows 7 phone with a local SIM card in it get most of the use. I only have to crank up my laptop for serious Internet surfing and using Photoshop for organizing my photos and posting them on Facebook. If I have Wifi access I can post on Facebook from my Thrive tablet. But that's not very often.
The Toshiba Thrive has proven to be a real addition to the tools I use while traveling. It far exceeds my original expectations. My wife joins me in Uganda in a couple of weeks. We'll see what additional uses she'll find for the tablet since her Android phone isn't GSM and won't work outside the US. We only have one headset to plug into the Thrive for audio in movies and music. We'll see how sharing works.
UPDATE 12/14/2011 - back home - I've had my Thrive for 4 months
After my wife joined me in Uganda we left the big laptop at the NGO office in Kampala and just used the Thrive tablet for the next 3 weeks. It worked great as a laptop substitute while traveling.
Wifi: We rarely had Wifi access in Uganda. So for the regular emails we send home to family and friends I composed them on the Thrive in Office Suite Pro. (Stick with DOC format - the DOCX format still has a few issues.) I transferred the Word format document to a flash drive. Then it was quick and cheap to go to an Internet cafe and send the email with the document from the flash drive as an attachment. For my next trip I now have a Motorola Droid 3 which I'll use as a wireless hotspot for the Thrive using the local cellular service. I've tested it at home and it works great.
File Management: Our son is a Linux jockey. So he showed me how to use the samba feature in ES File Explorer. Now that we're home again I have the Thrive connected to our home wireless network. In ES File Explorer select LAN. Then just press the search button near the top. It finds all of the Windows computers on our home network. Every shared drive or folder on the networked PCs is now available on the Thrive. So you don't have to use a flash drive as an intermediary for transferring files to the Thrive internal storage or SD card. Just use ES File Explorer and do a much faster file transfer back and forth between the Thrive and the folders in any networked PC using Wifi.
Daily Usage: I find I'm using the Thrive everyday for reading email and for reading my NY Times subscription and many world newspapers using Pulse and News360. The Gmail and Email readers are much easier to use on the Thrive than on my Motorola Droid 3 or even the PC versions. The Thrive versions give you a split screen view. Quick scanning and weeding out emails is easy.
Updates: I have all the latest updates on my Thrive which is version 3.2. All of the earlier reported problems such as unexpected shutdowns are gone.
Adobe has an updated version of basic Photoshop for Honeycomb now. It's PS Touch. It replaces the earlier Photoshop Express which was pretty useless. PS Touch now gives you tools to edit a single photo. You still can't make slideshows or albums such as you can with PS Elements on the PC. But I was able to crop and increase brightness and contrast to greatly improve a photo of a young Batwa (pygmy) girl next to her hut.
I travel to Angola next month. My longest flight is 17 hours. I'll be pushing my Thrive to the limit. I'm set up with entertainment for the flights. The Thrive charges in 1 hr. So I can prepare it for subsequent flights during layovers. I have my plug adapters for the charger.
Movies: I can rent movies from the Google Android Market shortly before I depart. I can "pin" them to the device which downloads the movie to the tablet rather than streaming it. I'll put them on my SD card. I'll have 30 days in which to start viewing the movie.
Music: I've got my entire collection synched in WMA format to the SD card. WMA is compact with still decent quality. So I'll have plenty of good music to listen to with my noise cancelling headphones.
Books: While listening to my tunes I'll read books I check out from our county library in ePub format. I'll check them out just before departure so I have the full 21 days to read them. I also have some classics loaded for later. I'm happy to not have to lug around 10 pounds of books to have sufficient reading material for weekslong trips.
I'm continuing to find new uses and features for the Thrive. It serves me well both at home and for extensive travel.
Update #1 3/18/2012
I continue to use the Thrive on a regular basis. We recently took our grandsons to Kenya and Tanzania to go on safari in the Masai Mara and Serengeti. The grandsons are 8 and 12. They used the Thrive to play Angry Birds and a few other games to while away the hours on long travel stretches. It takes at least 24 hours to travel to East Africa from the Pacific NW. The Thrive really helped when the younger boy found out his Nintendo DS charger wouldn't work outside the US because the charger is 120 volt only and the rest of the world uses 240 volt power. The Thrive charger is of course usable on either voltage. So the Thrive got a workout.
After my wife and the grandsons went home I continued on to Uganda. The grandsons took the Thrive with them for the plane ride home. I used my new smaller Acer Aspire 13.6 inch laptop and my cell phones. I found the laptop - international cell phone combination works great. The Thrive and a cell phone work equally well in most cases. So the Thrive in countries where a smartphone can be used for Web access can be an option to carrying a laptop.
Update #2 12/11/2012
The Thrive now sits in a drawer most of the time. In comparison to newer 7 inch tablets the Thrive is a slow dog. I got a bargain on a Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. The smaller size is much easier to handle. And it's fast. With 16Gb plus a 32Gb microSD card there's tons of storage in the Galaxy. I had thought the 7 inch size would be too small for reading charts and approach plates in our airplane. But I just flew with the 7 inch tablet and it worked well. It's much lighter and quicker to respond than the Thrive. The GPS does seem to be a bit more accurate in the Thrive. But not by much.
The other problem with the Thrive in comparison to newer tablets is slow wireless. The Thrive must just be 802.1g, not 802.1n. The slow wireless speed of the Thrive is maddening at times. Wireless reception is also much weaker in the Thrive than in newer tablets and phones. At this time the Thrive is out of date. There are better choices available.
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