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Toshiba AT200 tablet review

We review the Toshiba AT200 Android tablet, a thin, mid-range Honeycomb device.

Toshiba has a brief but checkered history of producing Android tablets. Its first effort, the Folio 100 from 2010, was quickly withdrawn from sale by a number of retailers due to a series of problems. Its next effort, the AT100 was an improvement but still failed to set the market alight. Does the AT200 make it third time lucky for Tosh?

First impressions are hugely positive, as the tablet looks amazing. It is just 7.7mm thick, the thinnest tablet so far, Toshiba proudly boasts. For the record, it is thinner than the new iPad (9.4mm) and thinner than key Android rivals like the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime (8.3mm) and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (8.6mm).

It is light too – extremely so at 535g, and it feels featherweight in the hand. All that is not bad for a tablet with a 10.1 inch screen.

The rounded corners give the AT200 a swish appearance, as does the silver backplate and simple effect of a silver frame round the front mounted 2 megapixel camera that sits in the centre of a long edge (there’s a 5 megapixel camera on the back too). The backplate has a brushed aluminum look to it, but we think it’s made from plastic. It did flex a bit under pressure, making the AT200 feel less rigid than most other higher end tablets we’ve tested.

The super thin edges are primarily silver, with a tiny black band in their centre around one short and both long edges. Into this band along the short edge are the power and volume buttons and a button that locks the screen’s auto-rotate function. All tablets should have a button that does this – it is invaluable.

In the case of the Toshiba AT200 this button can be configured as a mute button instead if you’d prefer that. Toshiba’s calling it a ‘multi function switch’ when it has just two roles is, we suppose, accurate, though it might raise expectations that there are more than two functions available.

Meanwhile on the other short edge the sliver and black strips give way to allow room for a USB socket for PC connection (not charging), combined headphones and microphone jack, HDMI connector and microSD card slot. The HDMI port is mini sized and unfortunately Toshiba doesn’t provide a dongle allowing you to use a standard sized cable. A small oversight.

There’s another connector too. A proprietary port on one long edge that’s designed for a docking cable for charging. This is a trend we’re seeing more and more of on tablets, and it’s not a welcome one. If microUSB can’t provide enough power to charge a tablet then the industry should standardise on a single connector, as it did with phones.

The whole thing looks neat and enticing, and there are two models to choose between – with either 16GB or 32GB of storage. The other specs remain the same whichever you opt for.

The 10.1 inch screen delivers 1280 x 800 pixels, and it is has good viewing angles. But counteracting those positive points is the fact that it is very reflective, and you can see a grid patterning on it when you tilt it, when the screen is off, and even, on some occasions, when it is in use. It’s very annoying.

As you delve into the specifications of the Toshiba AT200 you realize that this is not a leading edge tablet. The 1.2GHz TI OMAP processor is dual core and its 1GB of RAM helps it move quickly, but there are faster processors around and we did notice a bit of lag at times. Most notable in this respect it is the Tegra 3 quad core processor in the Asus Transformer Prime that’s soaking up all the speed plaudits at present.

There’s a disappointment in that the Toshiba AT200 ships with Android 3.2 rather than Android 4. With all the talk currently being about Ice Cream Sandwich, any Android tablet shipping without it is immediately starting off on the back foot.

In summary, then, the Toshiba AT200 looks good, though the screen has an issue, and its performance is good, but not great. We do like the thin and light ambitions though – have another go, Toshiba, and you might wow us yet!

Review written by Sandra Vogel

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