Toshiba Thrive initial review

It's been some six months since we first saw the Toshiba Thrive at CES. At the time, it didn't have a name, and it wasn't even a Honeycomb tablet -- more of a hardware prototype running Froyo.

That all ends today. Let's start with the obvious: It's not the most svelte Android tablet out there. No, that crown still belongs to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and the Thrive's actually thicker than the Motorola Xoom while weighing about as much. But the Thrive more than makes up being a bit portly with its hardware features. Let's explore them after the break.

Youtube link for mobile viewing

Under the hood, it's the same NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor we've come to know and love. On the outside, it's got just about every port you could dream of. Let's go over the external features in handy bullet point form.

  • Front-facing 2MP camera.
  • Power button
  • Volume rocker
  • Rotation lock
  • Full-size SD card slot
  • Mini USB port
  • Full-size HDMI port
  • Full-size USB port
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Proprietary charging port
  • Proprietary docking port
  • Rear-facing 5MP camera
  • Battery cover locking switch
  • Removable 23 watt-hours battery
  • LED lights for charging, network and power

Great googly moogly, that's a lot of ports. And they're not haphazardly thrown onto the tablet, either. The USB ports and HDMI ports are protected by a cover. Buttons are nicely ruggedized. And the prospect of a removable battery (it's actually pretty easy to get to) is sure to make may a power user happy. And the battery's around $75, depending on where you buy it, and that's quite reasonable.

Software-wise, we're looking at Android 3.1. Technically it's no longer running the latest version of Honeycomb -- Android 3.2 just dropped for the Motorola Xoom. But that's hardly the Thrive's fault, and we fully expect it to be updated. In the meantime, you have a relatively unskinned Honeycomb experience, with a smattering of apps thrown in.

The Thrive has a custom update manager -- ours had a downloaded dated July l7 ready to go. Quickoffice, LogMeIn Ignition is there, as well as a few card games, and all the usual Honeycomb apps.

But why on earth would you want an Android tablet as large as the Thrive? Options, options, options. The various ports are a major selling point, as is the three pricing and storage options -- you can get an 8GB, 16GB or 32GB version for $429, $479 or $579.

Full review's coming, folks. For now, feast your eyes on some more pics.

Phil Nickinson