Toshiba Tablet Shows Design Sense

We go hands-on with Toshiba’s first Android tablet.

Meet the Toshiba Tablet

Toshiba took the wraps off its first Android tablet, and the coming out party was a grand affair. This was the first time the Toshiba Tablet was seen in functioning condition; previously, all journalists had seen were non-functioning wood mock-ups. At first glance, you’ll notice the screen and design. The tablet has 10.1-inch, 1280 by 800 display and an NVidia Tegra 2 processor. What distinguishes the Toshiba model from some of the other tablets shown so far is it’s sense of design and integration into the Toshiba family. Yes, it still looks like a glass slab with curved corners; and its 0.6-inch depth isn’t going to win awards for thinness (Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab both measure 0.5-inches). But the way Toshiba has integrated the ports, and designed the chassis, makes this device feel like more than just not another slab.

Toshiba Tablet’s Texturized Back

For one thing, the Toshiba Tablet has a rubberized, slip-resistant back whose patterning recalls the industrial design already found on Toshiba’s netbooks. In fact, it almost looks like it’s simply the top half of one of Toshiba’s notebooks, complete with clear branding. Mind you, the ridges have all the potential to collect the crud that falls to the bottom of your bag, but the feel of it is quite nice. The back will be replaceable, so you can it in different colors. Also at back: A 5-megapixel camera for photo and video capture.

Toshiba Tablet: Front-Facing Camera

Like so many devices today, the Tablet has a front-facing camera for video chat; the camera captures at 2-megapixels. In the upper right corner (seen in this orientation at the top left of the image), the Tablet has three LED indicator lights, for noting power, charge, and Wi-Fi on/off indicator.

Moving Through the Controls

This side view of the upper right corner of the Tablet shows the orientation lock, volume rocker, and power buttons. Note the graceful curves of the Tablet, and how the distinctive, rubberized treatments follow the curve around the edges.

Huzzah For Full SD Card Support

Many tablets integrate microSD card support, but it’s refreshing to see that Toshiba Tablet actually features a full-blown SD card slot. That makes interoperability with your digital camera seamless.

Ports Aplenty

Another thing that’s a welcomed change: The Toshiba Tablet packs a USB port, full-size HDMI port, and a mini-USB port, all under a sturdily designed, removable flap cover on the bottom of the device (when held in portrait mode). The HDMI port supports output of 1080p video.

Bottom View

In this view of the bottom, you not only see the ports and the door cover, but also the headphone jack and power adapter at left. My one big gripe here lies with that connector: It’s kludgy and awkward.

Toshiba Resolution+ Technology

The screen, I must admit, appeared to be a disappointment at this early stage. I found it difficult to read a web page on; text was not crisp and clear, as I’ve come to expect from my Apple iPhone 4. And I could see the pixilation and dots in the screen. That said, I liked what I saw of Toshiba’s video enhancement technology, dubbed Toshiba Resolution+. Also featured on Toshiba notebooks, Resolution + adds high-definition color and contrast to standard definition video. In Toshiba’s demo clips, the results appeared compelling. Note how much richer the green grass looks in this image...

Buildings Sharpen Up, Too

…and even how much clearer the Resolution+ technology makes building.

Toshiba Tablet vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab

This side-by-side image shows the Toshiba Tablet’s scale when lying alongside the more petite Galaxy Tab. The Tab has a 7-inch screen, while the Toshiba Tablet is 10.1 inches. Clearly, there’s room in the market for both size points, given the dramatic difference in size between the two.

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