Toshiba has taken another stab at the tablet market with the Toshiba AT200, the follow-up device to the Toshiba AT100. Overall the tablet has a lot going for it including a unique design but is spoiled by poor software.
Toshiba AT200: Design
The Toshiba AT200, also known as the Excite, is touted as the world's thinnest tablet. It is certainly very thin at 7.7mm. Its main rivals are the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime, Apple iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 which measure in at 8.3mm, 8.8mm and 8.6mm, respectively. The AT200 is also exceptionally light for a 10-inch tablet at a mere 502g - 33g lighter than Toshiba quotes.
Toshiba has done a great job with the design of the AT200 which looks great in its ultra-thin chassis. The sides look great with silver and black stripes and the rear cover looks sleek with a brushed aluminium finish. The tablet is very easy to hold for a 10-inch tablet thanks to its thin and light weight design. See also: Group test: what's the best tablet PC?
Toshiba AT200: Build quality
For the price of the AT200 we expected build quality to be of a high standard and this was generally the case. The metal sides and scratch-resistant screen give the AT200 good strength and durability.
However, we did find that the tablet a little too flexible when put under stress. We could easily bend the device lengthways and widthways which was somewhat worrying.
The rear cover looks good but is a little on the thin side. We assume to keep the weight as low as possible but meant we were anxious about the possibility of denting the metal. After a week of carrying the AT200 around in a bag of things we found no dents and only a couple of minor scratches easing our doubts.
Toshiba AT200: Hardware
Performance is good but doesn't quite match that of the Asus Transformer Prime and Apple iPad. The AT200 runs on a Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM.
We got a high score in Geekbench 2 with an average of 979 over three tests. In real life terms the AT200 copes fine around the home screens and general navigation but we found some lag when opening some apps and carrying out certain tasks. Read more in the software section of the review.
Storage options are a pretty standard 16GB or 32GB which can easily be expanded via the mircoSD card slot which can take up to 32GB. Toshiba prides itself on connectivity and the AT200 is no exception. On top of the microSD card slot there is Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a combination headphone and microphone audio jack, microUSB and microHDMI supporting 1080p output. The only thing really missing is a 3G version of the tablet.
Disappointingly the AT200 isn't supplied with a microUSB or microHDMI cable so you'll have to get these separately. The included cumbersome 30-pin power connector didn't make us feel any better either.
Other hardware includes a 10.1-inch TruBrite WXGA touchscreen with a resolution of 1280 x 800, stereo speakers and dual cameras. The screen is bright, colourful and responsive but doesn't outdo the quality found on the Asus Transformer Prime and the latest Apple iPad. We found viewing angles good but the brightness dropped a fair amount as the angle increased.
Toshiba says the screen has an anti-fingerprint coating but we didn't see quite the effect we had hoped for in this area, although it was better than some tablets we've tested. We also found small graphical glitches when using some apps, mostly the Google Play Store, where parts of the interface would randomly flash on the screen.
The front facing 2MP webcam and 5MP rear facing cameras on the AT200 were not quite up to scratch. The camera app ran very slowly taking an age to take a single photo and the results didn't impress us much either. The front facing camera produced a reasonable image but the results of the rear facing camera were low quality all-round.
Toshiba AT200: Software
The AT200 comes with Android 3.2 Honeycomb which isn't the most up-to-date version but is respectable nevertheless. Toshiba has confirmed it will upgrade the tablet to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich but hasn't given a time frame.
While we can live with the odd bit of lag opening apps as we mentioned earlier but we can't deal with slow web browsing. Unfortunately we found the web browsing extremely sluggish and tiresome on the AT200. Pages rendered in a reasonable time but scrolling and zooming were not something the tablet enjoyed being made to do.
In slight contradiction we found that the tablet was capable of running games smoothly. We played titles such as Temple Run and found next to no lag.
Bundled software includes Toshiba Places, McAfee Mobile Security, ThinkFree Office, PrinterShare and Evernote. Visit: Android Advisor.
Toshiba AT200: Battery life
Toshiba touts a maximum battery life of eight hours for the AT200. Eight hours is how long you would get if using the tablet constantly but in a real-life situation the tablet will last a lot longer. We found that the AT200 performed well lasing two or three days between charges. This involved using it occasionally throughout the day and more heavily in the evenings.