Toshiba has joined late, as usual, with the release of their 10.97 inch by 6.97 inch NVIDIA Tegra 2 SoC powered Thrive. It is chunkier than the competition at 0.62 inches the thickest, and slightly heavier weighing in at 1.66 pounds.
When compared with other tablets, the Thrive is almost twice as thick as the Galaxy Tab 10.1, and weight is comparable to the first models of the iPad.
The Toshiba tablet is slightly longer and a tad bit narrower when compared with other tablets. With all these differences, it is well balanced and does not feel heavy or ungainly when using in the portrait orientation, though, in the landscape orientation, it is a bit awkward to hold as the 10.97 inch adds a bit of unbalance to it all.
The back is covered with a soft grooved rubber surface which makes it look slightly less classy and more rugged, but does offer really traction for gripping the tablet.
The weight is within limits of carry-ability, and is not noticeable; the extra bit of weight does actually give you a sense of carrying something in your tote bag, which is a good reminder that you are actually carrying something.
Black is the standard color for the Thrive, however is also available in “Silver Sky”, “Green Apple”, “Blue Moon”, “Lavender Bliss”, and “Raspberry Fusion”. This should cover most of the tastes out there for a $20 price tag on each.
The Thrive comes with two cameras to take photos, one on top of the portrait edge, and the other on top of the landscape edge, so you can take pictures in moth modes. Both cameras are reasonable at 5 Megapixels and take images at 1280×800.
The really “power user” style options are the number of ports and connections available on the device. Starting from full sized USB and HDMI ports, a miniUSB port, Headphone and Microphone ports.
There is a full size SDXC port and a 30-pin docking connector hidden behind a cover; on either side of which are two small speakers. A really good feature is an orientation locking switch which locks the orientation in either landscape or portrait.
You can also remove the battery, which is a neat idea in case you are on the road for an extended period and want to switch batteries. That will probably be necessary because of its not too great power management that leaves you with an uptime of approximately six and a half hours.
The 2,030 mAh 23Wh Thrive battery is available for $80, though rated for 11 hours; our tests suggest that it could be a decent idea to have one with you.
The small speakers are loud enough to enjoy movies and music, however, not loud enough to be distracting or be a cause to raise voices to hold conversations. The screen viewing cone is narrower than most, however, for most personal use it is sufficient.
Toshiba Thrive starts at $429 for 8GB, $475 for 16GB and the 32GB version will set you back by $575.
However, the silver lining is that all three are cheaper than their equivalent iPad 2 and Galaxy Tab 10.1. And to boot, the price tag on Thrive includes software like LogMeIn Ignition, Quickoffice and Kaspersky Tablet Security.