Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider
For the first time in months, I’m excited to review a Honeycomb tablet.Why?
Because until now it’s been the same old story: Honeycomb is awful, but the hardware is great. (The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a perfect example of this.)
Luckily, Toshiba’s Thrive tablet offers a breath of fresh air. This time around, both Honeycomb and the hardware stink.
Keep on reading to find out why.
Full-Sized Ports In A Fat Package
Some of you may disagree with me, but I don’t think full-sized USB and HDMI ports have a place in tablets. Tablets are supposed to be fully mobile, not dependent on accessories.
With apps like Dropbox, Quickoffice, Google Videos, Spotify, etc. there’s little need to store your stuff on your tablet.
But Toshiba ignored that trend and added USB, HDMI, and SD card ports anyway. And the result is a chunky tablet that is a pain to handle.
It even feels cheap. I don’t know much about manufacturing displays, but the Thrive’s touchscreen feels more like plastic than the sturdy glass you find on the iPad or Galaxy Tab. There’s even this odd hollow thud every time you tap.
The Thrive’s design makes it seem like Toshiba was confused whether to make the default orientation portrait or landscape. The 16:10 screen ratio tells you it should be held in landscape, but the front facing camera on the smaller edge requires you to hold it in portrait if you want to video chat. It’s awkward.
Honeycomb: Here We Go Again
I won’t go into my gripes with Honeycomb again. I still think iOS is far superior for tablets. No contest. But I know many of you disagree with me on that, so I’ll just stick to what’s new with Honeycomb on the Thrive.
Toshiba added a few tweaks to Honeycomb, most notably new sound controls that are supposed to enhance the audio quality from the tablet’s speakers. Instead, these controls just make the volume louder. The quality is just as crappy as it is on every other tablet. No one has nailed that issue yet; it’s a hardware problem, not a software problem.
Other tweaks include Toshiba’s app for viewing media (It’s ugly. It’s useless.), a file manager (It’s ugly, but useful if you have a lot of files stored on your device), and a Toshiba-branded app store (Horrible selection and no replacement for the Android Market.)
Other than that, it’s standard Honeycomb.
I should also mention the Thrive has been suffering from a bunch of glitches. Many users have complained of reboot issues, and the device locking up. Toshiba says an update is on the way though.
Should You Buy It?
Unless full-sized USB and HDMI port are really, really, really important to you, the answer is no. While the price is competitive (starts at $429 for the 8 GB version), the Thrive is chunky, glitchy, and unpolished over all.
If you want a Honeycomb tablet, you’re still much better off with the Galaxy Tab 10.1. It’s light years ahead of the Thrive.