Toshiba Thrive Review: The Swiss Army Knife Of Tablets

HDMI Output And Camera Quality

HDMI Output

HDMI output on Toshiba's Thrive works the same as it does on the Xoom, Eee Pad Transformer, and A500. TVs and monitors supporting native 1080p reproduce the tablet's screen as a 1280x800 upscaled image that fills the entire display.

Google can and should refine the experience a little bit more, though. When you're typing, the Android keyboard is automatically cloned onto the external display. Ideally, you'd only want to see it on the tablet. At the very least, you should have the option to hide it. A resolution of 1280x800 doesn't facilitate much workspace, so every little bit counts.

While the UI issues are shared between all Android-based tablets, cable management is not. This is one part of the design that Toshiba gets right. All the ports are located on the right side, which means you don't have to deal with a mess of cables shooting out from every direction. 

Camera Quality: Rear-Facing

The Thrive's rear-facing camera is probably closest to the A500 in terms of quality. However, without a flash, you really need good lighting if you want half-decent pictures.

In poorly-lit environments (click on a picture to see full image gallery), the sensor has a hard time compensating, and you end up with grainy snapshots.

Camera Quality: Front-Facing

Indoors Well LitIndoors Well LitIndoors Dim LightingIndoors Dim Lighting

The lighting issues are particularly evident when using the front-facing camera. In dim lighting, image quality is extremely poor. If you're planning to use a VoIP app like Skype, make sure you're in a well-lit room first.

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38 comments
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  • ChiefTexas_82
    Seems to me Nvidia should hurry up with Tegra 3...
    6
  • soccerdocks
    User replaceable battery is a big plus for this tablet. That way I can just buy a new one in a few years when it wears out. Instead of having to leave it plugged in all the time.
    5
  • LordConrad
    I already own one and love it, the expandability offered by this tablet is simply awesome.
    6
  • Lord Lollipop
    If you want nVidia to rush Tegra 3, don't complain when it comes out buggy.
    3
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    I call BS on EeePad not having "full size USB port". It does, just it's on the keyboard dock (and if you buy the Transformer without one, you're wasting money, the dock is the big part of Transformer's awesomeness). However, I love the fact that Thrive has SD card reader - most of my devices (e-book reader, cameras, netbook) use SD, not the stupid microSD, so it'd be a big plus.

    Huh, Galaxy Tab 10.1 is looking quite poor - doesn't have anything besides the cameras. Shame on Samsung.
    -1
  • acku
    amk-aka-phantomI call BS on EeePad not having "full size USB port". It does, just it's on the keyboard dock (and if you buy the Transformer without one, you're wasting money, the dock is the big part of Transformer's awesomeness). However, I love the fact that Thrive has SD card reader - most of my devices (e-book reader, cameras, netbook) use SD, not the stupid microSD, so it'd be a big plus. Huh, Galaxy Tab 10.1 is looking quite poor - doesn't have anything besides the cameras. Shame on Samsung.

    Galaxy Tab 10.1 supports USB devices and HDMI output but you need to buy the separate adapters.

    Cheers,
    Andrew Ku
    TomsHardware.com
    5
  • assassin123
    hello everyone please tell me what are toshiba thrive swiss army of tablets
    -8
  • CaedenV
    Every time I read a tablet review I keep thinking, man they are pretty; But I really dont know what I would use it for that is worth $500.

    Also, surprised that the processors is about 75% graphics, and still cannot do a separate 1080p output. Cloning the screen at low rez should not be that difficult. Netbooks have been able to do 1080p output for years as an extension of the desktop. Sure, they cannot handle video or gaming at that res, but they do just fine with a web page, presentation, or office applications.

    Also, I bet 2012-2013 will be a fun time for tablets once win8 is released. My bet is that it will become a race between Apple and MS, and Android will become irrelevant, or for media consumption only.
    2
  • SinisterSalad
    I picked up the 8GB version a month or so ago when the Egg had a promo going on. I'm a bigger guy, so I like the feel of this. Like Andrew said, it doesn't feel like it's going to slip out of my hands. Hopefully ICS will be available soon for it.
    2
  • nforce4max
    Just wait until someone has a accident and drops it only to find the screen digitizer or lcd panel cracked which is a very common issue. Most tablets are underweight and lack proper protection for the screen and flex to much making it easy to break. Second is removable internal storage for the os. Using internal storage for booting that can't be replaced limits the life of most tablets. Cooling is another issue when the soc starts to heat up performance tends to degrade slightly and the user often feels a hot spot on the back. I think that all those porst listen in this review should be standard on all high end tablets above $200 retail especially the $300+. I currently own three tablets and owned a archos 101 8gb before selling it.
    1
  • assassin123
    please ans me
    -6
  • randomstar
    seems to me that with an acer W500 being in the same price range as the upper models, no one would be buying these.. all the features mentioned here, plus 32gb, Windows7. OK, the battery on mine only lasts 5 hours. So What? I can charge it in the car, at work, just about anywhere. (plus I dont have to worry if there is an AP for that. It is Windows, so of course there is,and it can print, scan, whatever.
    1
  • Anonymous
    It looks a bit like an iPad... SUE THEM!
    3
  • randomstar
    assassin123please ans me



    Ok, I will bite..
    A Swiss Army Knife is a small folding knife, typicaly with several modified "blades" to perform functions such as scissors, saw, awl, etc. it can contain as few as three and up to several dozen attatchments and functions depending on now elaborate the particualr model is. Refered to as a Swiss Army knife , well because it was at one point made similar to a Swiss watch - meaning intricate and detailed, with precise and reliable function.
    they are trying to say that the Toshiba Thrive has a lot of functions built into one device.
    It really does not have much more than any other similar tablet, but it makes for a point of contention for an article.
    2
  • carnage9270
    You lost me at Toshiba...I'm convinced the name Toshiba is translated to "Crapola"
    -6
  • victorintelr
    I own a a toshiba thrive. I personally. picked it because of the full size. USB port and the HDMI port p. I planned it on using it in my job but they didn't let me do it.Still I'm pretty satisfied with it. dont have to worry about adapters, but lowered the brightness and the battery lasts the whole afternoon. I barely game in it. though what I don't like is the updates... hopefully it will get the honeycomb 3.2 some day. I don't expect a super tablet out of it. It suits my needs (don't have to carry my laptop to college) , and feel pretty happy wchich is what matters the most, right?
    0
  • LordConrad
    ackuGalaxy Tab 10.1 supports USB devices and HDMI output but you need to buy the separate adapters.Cheers,Andrew KuTomsHardware.com

    But having to carry adapters defeats the purpose of a portable and easy to use tablet.

    Galaxy Tab = FAIL
    1
  • jamesedgeuk2000
    You guys missed out something pretty big here, not only is it full sized SD but its SDXC! that means you can get an 8GB Thrive and a 64GB SDXC card for less than the cost of a 16GB iPad. Thought it worth pointing out.
    7
  • back_by_demand
    jamesedgeuk2000You guys missed out something pretty big here, not only is it full sized SD but its SDXC! that means you can get an 8GB Thrive and a 64GB SDXC card for less than the cost of a 16GB iPad. Thought it worth pointing out.

    Good point well made, and the best bit is you can have a pocket full of 64Gb SD cards, there is a nice credit card shaped holder for 4 cards that can slip into a wallet, 256Gb of removable storage in your back-burner is pretty sweet.
    3
  • shompa
    Lord LollipopIf you want nVidia to rush Tegra 3, don't complain when it comes out buggy.

    Tegra3 is just a stopgap. Its not a good idea to have 5 ARM cores at 40nm.

    Only reason to do this is if you can beat 28nm part by a long time.
    Now Nvidia only will have a 2-3 month lead before 28 nm quod core ARM15 SocS (including A6).

    A15 have twice the performance then A9.

    Look at Tegra2. A5 is up to 5 times faster and is clocked 500-900mhz slower....
    0