The Toshiba AT330 is massive. Not massive like kind of a big deal massive, it's actually massive. It's 13.3-inches of screen real-estate attached to a device that tips the scales at just under 1 kilo. Whatever could this monster of a device be for?
What Is It?
As we mentioned, the AT330 is the (much) bigger brother of the 2012 Toshiba tablet line-up which also contains 7.7 and 10-inch tablets.
The AT330 boasts a 13.3-inch, 1600x900 HD+ screen protected by Gorilla Glass and sporting Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich, on top of the quad-core, 1.4Ghz NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor.
It has 16GB worth of internal storage and a full size SD card slot that can support any SDHC card you can throw at it. It's also got a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing.
The best thing about the AT330 is its power: this tablet has balls. The NVIDIA processor is a quad-core workhorse complete with 1GB of on-board memory. As a result, it pulls benchmark numbers like no other tablet I've ever seen.
In Geekbench, it pulls a score of 1675. To put that in context, the new iPad with its beefed-up processor and 1GB of RAM, scores only 758 in the same tests. This tablet's closest competitor is the Asus Transformer Prime TF201 which pips the AT330 slightly at 1730 thanks to its 1.6Ghz quad-core processor. To further contextualise those numbers, when you compare them to the 1.8Ghz, Intel dual core-powered 11-inch MacBook Air from late 2010, it's only 300 points behind. What a machine.
When it puts rubber to the road and you use it for gaming, media and browsing, it's a pleasure to use.
But with all that power, you'd think that this thing would drain battery faster than a shallow bath with no plug, but it's impressive how long it stays alive.
With intermittent use (meaning a session with movie or two followed by about an hour or two of browsing on Wi-Fi at full brightness) our AT330 stayed alive all weekend. With light use (just browsing on Wi-Fi) we got a week before we needed to charge it up again.
The other great thing about this tablet is the design. It's got all that power in such a thin, slick-looking piece of hardware and that's fantastic.
Because of the amount of screen real-estate you've got to play with turning it vertical is great for web browsing. You get to see so much more of the page you're looking at. It's also great to turn sideways and watch a movie thanks to the 16:9 aspect ratio. There's a lot to see here.
All that good gives way to a lot of disappointment, though.
The design might look great but the sheer bulk of this tablet means it's only ever going to be used in the home.
Tablets are meant to be thin, light, and therefore incredibly portable. The AT330 only hits one of two requirements there, being the thin chassis, and as a result it's a pain to carry with you.
Even when you hold it in your hand at home, you start to notice your arm getting tired because of the 1kg bulk here. Walking while using it is damn-near impossible.
And because of the size, you get a lot of weird looks when you pull it out of your bag, simply because a screen this large is just unnecessary. Split screen typing is also impossible on the thing.
The haptic feedback is also a little too eager, meaning that this thing buzzes whenever you touch it.
Should You Buy One?
It's an odd-tablet then, the AT330. On the one hand it's powerful and great for media consumption which is what tablets (in my mind) are meant for. On the other hand it breaks the golden formula of tablets, which is to create something thin, light and specced up to the nines so that it's usable anywhere, which this just isn't.
If you want a tablet you're only going to use on your couch or in bed to supplement the enormous 55- to 70-inch panel you already have, the AT330 is fantastic, and for $699 (RRP), you're getting great value, too. Especially compared to the new iPad or the TF201. If you want a Toshiba tablet that's ultraportable, though, look towards the 7.7- or the 10-inch variants.