For the past couple of months, I’ve been eyeing on getting a tablet and just last week I finally got into acquiring one. Like every person deliberating on getting a tablet, I originally opted for an iPad. I already own a Macbook and an iPhone, so it makes sense to get one especially with the new iCloud recently introduced by Apple. But I ended up getting the Toshiba Tablet and I couldn’t be happier. Yes, the Toshiba Tablet which also goes by the name Thrive for the non-Canadians out there.
Full disclosure: I’m totally not a tablet person and would prefer surfing the web on my Macbook as it has a physical keyboard (there is something oddly satisfying about pressing a physical key as you type). But of course, it’s not always feasible to carry around or bring out this gigantic brick of a laptop on my daily commute to work. I needed something compact that I can take out and put away very easily. So how did I end up with the Toshiba Tablet?
A little word on Android vs iOS
If you’re here reading this review, then you are most likely set on an Android device and are just deciding on which one. But in case you’re still on the fence between iOS then here’s my take on it. The web is bombarded with Android vs iOS comparisons so I’ll try not to go through the lengthy comparison charts and benchmarks but rather go by my own personal impressions. Having already an iPhone 4S I feel like the iPad is nothing more than a blown up version of my phone. Simplicity and ease of use is the selling point of iOS and it works perfectly on the iPhone. On a tablet though, this simplicity seems to backfire. The tablet is being positioned as a replacement for netbooks and some laptops so the expectation would be such that they would be able to provide the same use and customizability. On a tablet, I was looking for something like a desktop where I can customize and create shortcuts to the applications that I use more often. Androids customizable widgets provide just that while iOS just presents you with the same row of icons and folders for applications. While it may work for some, it’s just not my cup of tea especially considering the elephant in the room…..
At more than 500 dollars and considering that netbooks are now going for around 250 dollars and some good laptops are under 500 dollars, the iPad is one expensive device. Once past the initial novelty of having a larger iPod touch it just doesn’t seem worth it. With the recent HP touchpad firesale and the price slash of Blackberry’s Playbook, people are now expecting cheap, quality tablets. While I don’t think 99 or even 299 is a fair price considering the bill of materials, it seems a price just north of 350 dollars seems perfect. And the Toshiba Tablet sits at just this this very sweet spot.
Toshiba Tablet vs the rest of the Android Tablets
Having finally determined what seems to be a fair value for a tablet, the closest competition to the Toshiba tablet are: Viewsonic Viewpad, Acer Iconia and Lenovo Ideapad. Let me quickly go over why I didn’t like any of the previously mentioned tablets. The Viewpad doesn’t have any internal memory, the Ideapad custom UI overlay is intrusive and confusing, the Iconia is just that bit more heftier than the Toshiba Tablet (which is bad considering the Toshiba is already pretty hefty.)
I’ve only had this tablet for a week so I haven’t had much time to go through much of it in depth. So off to first impressions we go…
The Toshiba Tablet is a brick (in a good kind of way)
One of the things you’ll first notice about the Toshiba Tablet is its appearance. It’s relatively thicker and heavier compared to other tablets in the market today. There are many reviews out there that have dismissed this as a shortcoming. I actually find that this gives the tablet the edge over its competitors. Yes it’s heavier, but it also gives me the impression that it is sturdier and more robust. You can shove this in your bag without having to secure it or worry about damaging it. I feel that tablets should have a bit of a heft to it and the Toshiba tablet gives me just that. The rubberized ridged plastic on the back makes this tablet easier to hold more comfortably for longer periods of time. It’s also powered by a battery that’s easily accessible (the back pops off) and replaceable with a spare in case you run empty. Also that little silver cover on the front camera makes it distinguishable from other plain black tablets and gives it a bit of character.
So there you have it. If you’re still unconvinced, check out some of the reviews online. The Toshiba Tablet is pretty well received and there’s a general consensus that it’s just as powerful as in iPad (if not more). You can also save yourself an extra hundred couple of bucks if cost is something you’re considering. Definitely check it out in person and give it a test drive to see it for yourself.