Toshiba AT1SO 7-Inch Tablet: Giz AU Hands-On

I got to spend some time with Toshiba's new smaller tablet offering yesterday. Here's my initial thoughts. Toshiba's initial tablet offering, known as the "Thrive" in the US (and the "Regza" in Japan) was simply the "Tablet" here, or if you wanted to get technical, the AT100. It wasn't universally loved; most reviewers tended to dislike the thick form factor and the display screen, which wasn't great. I liked it a little more than others; the ability to chuck a USB drive full of content in the side and just have it work appealed to me, as did the removeable battery concept, although given the physical size of the batteries it seemed unlikely to me that anyone would cheerfully carry two of them around, especially as there was no external charger.

Yesterday Toshiba dropped in with the AT100's little brother, the $449 Toshiba AT1S0, due for release very soon now. I didn't get a long time to test it out — I'm waiting on a review unit to give it a proper thrashing — but long enough to get some impressions.

On the plus side The display screen is really crisp. Certainly a lot better than the original AT100 tablet, and the brief amount of play time I had with it suggested it should be solidly responsive. Then again, it's packing the exact same innards as the original tablet, so it should be able to power along fairly well.

A full set of ports. This was one of the things I loved about the original tablet, and despite the shrunken size of each of the ports (they're microUSB, micro HDMI and micro SD), they're still offering a lot of add-on capability that other tablets can't match.

7" Tablets do make physical holding sense. I do get why the original tablet was railed on — it was rather fat — and the AT1S0 loses a lot of that chubby weight. In terms of overall build quality if I was just looking at hardware, the Blackberry Playbook is still the model to beat — but then there's that whole it-can't-do-email-because-RIM-says-so problem.

On the minus side No removable battery. This was one of the selling points of the original AT100, but the compromises of getting the form factor down to this size means the battery is stuck in there forever. Not a huge deal breaker, but one of those things you notice because it's no longer there

Pricing issues. $449 for a 7 inch tablet isn't terribly onerous, but with the spectre of the Kindle Fire looming, it's hard not to view the AT1S0 as a bit on the pricey side.


Comments

    And they still have the camera right where your hand is if you're in Landscape mode.

    I must be the only owner of an AT100 that found the display to be quite excellent.

    I still prefer the larger 10" screen size though. This was why I never bothered with a smart phone. I prefer more screen real estate partly due to eyesight that belies my age, but mostly because I find reading books etc whole lot better with a slightly bigger screen. The standard sized ports were what I found to be the best feature. No need for micro - std adaptors etc.

      I concur with your view on the AT100 display Terry. Since I have had the 3.1 update which fixed the yellowish ghosting issue I have been very pleased with it.

      I suppose the fact that I am a normal person with only a single tablet, and not a reviewer who has 15 tablets scattered across a desk and is trying to find something to write about, I am quite happy with the display.

      It's quite possible that others are brighter, or have better viewing angles, or whatever, but since this is the only tablet I've used for more than 2 minutes, how would I know?

      I'm happy with the AT100 display, size, weight, connectivity, and, at $399 now, cost.

      It does the job for me, and surely that's what we're all looking for?

      I absolutely agree re the AT100. I simply don't get all these things people are complaining about. It is one of the best technology tools I have bought. It is not a PC it is a tablet - its functionality is astounding. My only "whinge" is that it doesn't recognise large external drives - a very very minor issue. I paid 375 at Officeworks by pricematching - and have bought two more for my kids. I am hanging out for the AT200 though.

    It's a little bit pricey yes.. it's also quite ugly. When there are so many options available, tablets that are less than pleasing to the eye will get looked over..

    These competitors need to understand that while Android and non-Apple tablets in general are for people who don't want an iPad 2, the iPad 2 is still the strongest tablet on the market, sales and marketing etc.. They are all competing with that tablet.

    So if you release a tablet that is 3 inches smaller, then it had damn well better be cheaper than the 10" iPad 2 by a considerable amount...

    Sure you can expand this tablet with a MicroSD card but that's another handful of cash you need to fork out making it more than the original RRP and back to be comparable in price to the well-established and very capable, not to mention slick iPad 2.

    I am an Android fan.. but when manufacturers keep trying to take a slice of the Apple pie the same size as Apple's piece, it gets under my skin.

      That's a fairly simplistic view. I would always choose a 7" tablet over a 10" for the simple convenience of hold with one hand, type with the other and the fact it will fit in a cargo pocket in my pants. I also have a couple of microSD cards lying around, so for no extra expense I can add another 32Gb of storage. More importantly, I can load up files from my PC and transfer them to this tablet, no need for wi-fi or anything else and with microHDMI I can easily connect it to my computer monitor at home, and use the USB to connect any keyboard, rather than having to buy specialist stuff for an iPad (or put up with Bluetooth). This also looks like it is 16:9 or 16:10 - the iPad's 4:3 makes it look a decade out of date next to most other tablets.

      As for price, Kindle Fire is not packing half the features of a tablet like this, so you are paying for the extra features. I'm sure most people would be more than happy with that. Another interesting aspect of price is that tablets are cheaper than smartphones, how does that work when they use similar hardware, the same software but have more storage, bigger batteries and a bigger screen? Seems like phone prices are artificially high to me.

        Motormouth that may be true for you but keep in mind you are in the very limited market of people who wear cargo pants who are not time travelers from the 90's.

          +1 Haha

          (also, motormouth, the cost of designing the entire device to be smaller can outweigh the cost of having some of the components larger)

    Does it have gps or can anyone recommend a 7" android tablet for satnav?

    P

      samsung galaxy tab 7.0 plus (due for release soon) has A-GPS & phone capabilities. It's also running 3.2 Honeycomb

    Does it have gps or can anyone recommend a 7" android tablet for satnav?

    Thanks

    Is it any thinner?

    how to hdmi setting on the tablet so that it can connect to lcd tv ...?

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