The Toshiba Thrive hits Best Buy Shelves

 12 Jul 2011 - By Omar Yesid Mariño+

Maybe the Toshiba Thrive is not one of the most revolutionary tablets to hit the marketplace this year but it is certainly one of the newest. While display models have been on store shelves for quite some time, the official retail release date for Toshiba’s little Android-powered tablet wasn’t until yesterday (July 10th). In addition to having some sleek and useful styling, the tablet is also extremely functional with full-sized ports for those of us who really don’t like having micro USB and HDMI cords that only fit one digital accessory. So what do you get for your $480 when you go to your local Best Buy store?

The Toshiba Thrive is a 10.1 inch tablet that offer ultra-high resolution so you can enjoy all the best the web has to offer and videos in crystal clarity. One of the cool little features that make this Toshiba model interesting is the adaptive display. The tablet will actually sense the ambient light in your surroundings while you’re using it and adjust the screen brightness to fit the situation. While I have yet to see this in action to see if it works as promised, it’s an interesting concept at least.

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The Thrive also has what Toshiba is calling Screen Lock. If, for some reason, you don’t want your display to auto-rotate when you flip the tablet from horizontal to vertical or vice-versa, simply flip a switch and the display stays where it is.

Inside, the Toshiba Thrive is stuffed with an NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processor so you don’t have to worry about the hardware slowing you down. You’ll also find either 16GB or 32GB of storage (depending on the model you choose) and two built-in cameras. The first is a 2 megapixel shooter on the front for FaceTime-like apps and uploading new profile pictures to Twitter and the like. The one on the back is a more business oriented machine with 5 megapixels to play with so you can get some decent snapshots of just about anything if you can stomach using a 10.1 inch screen as a viewfinder.

The tablet runs on Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) and is fully compatible with the latest versions of Adobe Flash. That means, unlike your friends who have iPads, you’ll be able to see all the Internet has to offer and more.

And to use all that Flash horsepower under the hood, you’ll have access to the Toshiba Places marketplace which has apps galore (and more everyday).

Toshiba Thrive

The other feature that really sets this tablet apart are the full-sized ports that I’ve already mentioned. You have the HDMI out to port video to a larger screen if you have the need, and an SDHC card slot so you can expand your storage or make your memory mobile. That’s a big plus when you realize how much time and effort keeping track of the right cords and trying not to lose your microSD adapter really is. In addition, you’ll have access to a handy full-sized USB port! If you like the mini USBs, there’s one of those for you as well.

As far as connectivity goes, you’ll have wireless B/G/N WiFi which you can also use to tether you tablet. The Thrive also comes with Bluetooth so you can network with multiple devices, including network printers—you’ll never have to juggle data just to get it to a terminal you can print from.

Externally, the Thrive has another cool feature in store that you probably wouldn’t even think to look for in a tablet—built-in grips. That’s right, the tablet has a textured surface with smooth lines cut into a rubberized coating, so your new machine will actually be easy to handle! That’s a first—huh?

New tablets for 2011

So, for $480 you can get yourself a 16GB Thrive. If you want to spring for the Big Boy and upgrade to 32GB, it will cost you another $100. While this makes the Thrive a little bit pricier than some of its new competitors on the market, the extra added features that Toshiba has put into this machine come pretty close to tipping the scale in its favor. Bottom line is if you want a decent machine that will do pretty much anything you need it to do and want some “luxury” features thrown in to make you feel like your purchase was worth the cash, the Thrive is a good fit for you. If you already have some sort of tablet device, the Thrive isn’t exciting enough to upgrade to.

Hit up the official Best Buy website for additional specifications and pricing.

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