Toshiba ‘Thrive’ Tablet Review: Learning to Love a Beast

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By nearly every measure, the Toshiba Thrive is an unremarkable Android Honeycomb tablet. It’s fat, it’s heavy, and it’s got pretty much the same hardware as its peers.

And yet, the Thrive—available now starting at $429 for an 8 GB model—is different. That’s because Toshiba had the sense to pack this 10-inch tablet with all the jacks and ports that geeks have been asking for in a slate since, well, the original iPad. Connectivity is the Thrive’s standout feature, and that goes a long way toward redeeming this tablet’s shortcomings.

(MORE: Toshiba Thrive Is a $429 Android Tablet, Launching in July)

Toshiba’s Thrive is laughably thick next to an iPad 2 or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and still noticeably thicker than an original iPad. It’s also rather tall, partly due to its widescreen 10.1-inch display, but also because the top and bottom bezels each measure about an inch long. The frame has some flex to it, to the point that I could distort the screen by pushing up from the Thrive’s back panel.

Toshiba’s not taking home any awards for aesthetics, either. The front panel has three totally unnecessary indicator lights toward the top-right corner for power, charge and Wi-Fi—information already conveyed by the Android software—and a tacky-looking metallic strip loops around the device’s top edge, housing front- and rear-facing cameras.

The back side of the Thrive is covered in ridged plastic that’s easy to grip but tough on the eyes. This panel can be removed to access a replaceable battery or swapped out for more colorful plates that are sold for $20 each.

In short, consider the Toshiba Thrive’s design to be an extreme case of function over form, because this tablet is loaded with ports.

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