Toshiba Thrive – My Hands On Review

I finally took delivery of my spanking new Toshiba Thrive tablet a day ago and the first thing that hit me was, “Men, this thing is big!”. The thickness of the Thrive is, conservatively, about twice that of the iPad 2. And the 10.1 inch screen is noticeably larger than iPad’s 9.7 inch screen. At the moment, I am torn between using or dispensing with the case that I bought along with it. The case did not do too much justice to the aesthetics of the thrive, it makes it even much bulkier, with its width about that of a regular netbook. You may check my earlier comments on this tablet here.

I would not bother with a very detailed review of this “big boys’ toy” as it is awash on the internet already. However, I can not help but mention that the Thrive comes second to none in terms of expandability, the reason for most of its bulkiness. It has a full HDMI port, SD slot, full USB and mini USB slots.

Thankfully, there is a well stocked computer accessory store in my neighbourhood where I made a quick purchase of a USB flexible keyboard, USB optical mouse and a USB game pad. Since the thrive has only one full USB port, I also got a USB hub to connect my multiple USB peripherals. I am sure the wireless keyboard option too would work, but let’s just say I am watching my pennies at the moment, so I didn’t buy it. The keyboard and the mouse worked like a dream,simultaneously, via the USB hub. I was so emotional about this, so much that I felt like shedding a tear.*sniff*. However, I was not so lucky with the game pad. I read somewhere before now that the device is a little bit choosy about game pads. I have decided to take the thrive to the computer store to test out for a compatible brand before making a purchase. I heard the Xbox console works well on it though.

The key advantage here is that the Toshiba does not require any specialized or proprietary accessory to work with, your regular PC USB peripherals would do just fine! These peripherals should not be used too extensively except when the Thrive is connected to a power source as they can cause a drain on the battery.

I do not intend to “root” (“jailbreak” in Apple parlance) this device just yet, but that is the only way Android OS would recognize NTFS hard disk file system. However, I had no problem assessing my FAT formatted flash drive or the exFAT formatted external hard drive. exFAT is the preferred filesystem format for mobile devices and it supports hard disk size of up to 512 Terabytes. From experience, for drives with high capacity, I would advice the use of powered external drive against USB powered ones because the USB port my not have enough voltage output to power these category of drives.

Though I strongly wished the Thrive has a 3G modem in built, however, the speed of my Cobranet powered home WIFI provided even better browsing and download speeds for use on the tablet. I was able to make a number of device software updates quite smoothly, including that of the stock OS from Android honeycomb 3.1 to version 3.2.1 in a few minutes.

There is a “thriving” community on the net for the Toshiba Thrive, www.thriveforums.org. I am hoping the community would come up with a way to use regular USB modems on the thrive as it is one of the few USB peripherals not yet supported.

It is great having the feeling that I OWN this device, with no Apple-like restrictions. I can actually tinker with it to my heart’s content.

Over the next few weeks, I will be exchanging my views on this device and the Android OS in general.

Stay tuned.

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