Toshiba AT300 10in Android tablet review
Hello Tosh, got a new Tegra?
To date Toshiba’s Android tablets have barely made a ripple let alone a splash in the fondleslab market but the new AT300 may change that. A replacement for the AT200 – that I failed to get excited about earlier in the year – the new device is cheaper and, thanks to its Tegra 3 underpinnings, considerably more powerful.
Tegra tweaked: Toshiba's AT300 Android tablet
When it to comes to screen resolution, Toshiba clearly thinks most of us are happy with 1280 x 800 and 149dpi. It may have a point. Most of my videos are encoded at 720p and I doubt I’m alone in that. So while I like the idea of 1080p tablet displays, I'll be damned if I'm paying extra for the privilege.
When it comes to brightness, viewing angles and richness of colour, the LCD screen gives a bit away to the latest IPS panels. To be fair, the display not what you could call poor and doesn’t compare at all badly with my Google Nexus 7.
In all areas, the AT300 is a bigger beast than the super-slender AT200. At 599g it’s 41g heavier too. Even so, it’s still thinner and lighter than Apple’s latest iPad and Acer’s A510. It’s built to a higher standard than the Acer too. In fact, the build quality is altogether excellent due in large part to the aluminum band that forms the edge of the device. While the AT200 was just a bit bendy the AT300 has no more flex to it than a one inch thick sheet of cast iron.
Unusually, the AT300 packs a full-sized SD card slot complete with tray – so you can leave a card in place with no fear of accidental or premature ejection. With 32GB SD cards costing less than £15, I heartily applaud this feature. The operating system in play here is 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich in entirely vanilla form and the scuttlebut has it that a Jelly Bean update is due pretty soon.
Full-size SD card slot on the side
A little surprisingly, the AT300 doesn’t use the lowly Tegra 30L chipset found in the Nexus 7 and Asus Transformer Pad but the faster incarnation used in the Transformer Prime, which also has a more sprightly 520MHz GPU.
Put to the test, the AT300 demonstrates commendable performance. All the benchmark numbers are where you want them: the AnTuTu app returning a score just shy of 11,000 and the Sunspider browser test coming in at a solid 1,700. All the graphically intense games and 1080p videos files I threw at the AT300 ran perfectly.
AnTuTu and Sunspider results
There’s nothing wrong with the rest of the fixtures and fittings either. The 5Mp and 2Mp cameras perform well and the two speakers at the bottom of the device produce a reasonable amount of volume, even if the sound quality is not quite up to the standard of recent Acer tablets.
Swype keyboard and ThinkFree WP app
On the software front, Toshiba provides attractive and competent DLNA-connected media player, nicely laid out file manager, full instals of ThinkFree’s Mobile office suite and SplashTop Remote HD along with a slightly tweaked version of the Swype keyboard. All welcome stuff. Toshiba is keeping mum on the size of the AT300’s battery but my usual 720p video-loop test ran to the 7 hours and 40 minutes mark before the lights went out which is par for the course.
Toshiba's file manager appears more refined than most
The official RRP for the the AT300 is £299 but it’s easily available for £285, which makes it quite the bargain and cheaper than my previous best-buy recommendation for a 10in Android tablet: the heavier, thicker and less powerful Acer A510.
Good performer and a reasonable price
The latest Toshiba tablet may not set the world on fire but the mid-range Tegra 3 chip and SD card slot make it a powerful and useful bit of kit. Available for under £300, it’s a pretty good deal and is now the obvious choice if you are after a 10in 720p Android tablet. ®
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