Showing posts with label Toshiba. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Toshiba. Show all posts

Toshiba AT200 review

Toshiba AT200
This waif of a tablet certainly took its sweet time getting here. We first laid eyes on this lightweight beauty last August and while it still hasn't landed in the US just yet (under the guise of the Excite 10 LE) we've brought in the international version -- already in stores in the UK -- to test out the hardware, which appears to be identical. On first appearances, it's an attractive sliver of a slab, due to the magnesium alloy body, of which there isn't much. Measuring in at just 7.7mm thick, we're talking RAZR-scalethinness and a 1.18 pound weigh-in that embarrasses 7-inch devices. Despite this, we still have a 1.2GHz dual-core OMAP processor, running Honeycomb 3.2 on a 10.1 inch touchscreen. But surely, sacrificesmust have been made, right? Well, it looks like it's a financial cost that has to be paid. The 16GB version is currently on sale for £399, matching the new iPad in the UK, and likely to arrive in the US at around $530, pricing itself quite a bit above existing, similarly-specced, Android favorites like the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Are you willing to pay a fair chunk of change extra to skim a few millimeters off your tablet profile? Is it worth it? The full story is right after the break.



We're not sure if it was a struggle to cram the mid-range tablet specification into such a featherweight frame, but it's almost like it's bursting at the sides.

Toshiba's new Honeycomb tablet seems completely at odds with company's 2011 family. As lame and plain as the Thrive family seemed, the AT200 is cool and sharp in equal but opposite measure. Weighing in at 535 grams, as 10.1-inch tablets go, it's the most comfortable we've found for one-handed use. Augmented by that wee profile, you can just about type in vertical orientation. While it feels incredibly light, it remains solid, with barely any give, presumably due to the metallic backing. However, the build quality is flawed. The outer rim along the back side of the tablet has a nasty sharp edge -- we ended up gingerly handling the thing as it walked a fine line between skin-cutting sharpness and discomfort. The magnesium alloy frame excuses minor scuffs, although our review model -- presumably mint -- arrived with some significant grazes.

We're not sure if it was a struggle to cram the mid-range tablet specification into such a featherweight frame, but it's almost like it's bursting at the sides; the top edge has an odd little hole that looks like it should be hidden under the Gorilla Glass-coated screen. It's as if the tablet needed a little more tightening or a re-press to ensure everything was in the right place before it left the factory.


The sides of the tablet have a metallic piping that both helps make the tablet less anonymous but also help gain purchase when it's lying on a flat surface. This is interrupted on the right side by a power switch, volume rocker and customizable switch that can mute the tablet or lock the screen orientation. Some other options, like a WiFi switch, or possibly a power-saver mode would have been nice, but at least there's an option. Connectivity-wise, there's a hulking power connector on the bottom edge, which satisfyingly connects to the similarly chunky power cord, while the microUSB HDMI output, headphone ports and microSD slot are lined up on the left side.

It's nice to see some easy-to--access ports here and while the tablet will be available in 16 and 32GB sizes, microSD expansion means there should be more than enough space for anyone looking for a tablet with a media-playing focus. This is augmented by stereo speakers on each side of the power connector -- stereo sound remains a feature that doesn't make it to even the very latest top-drawer tablets. Located just off the left and right corners, we never seemed to cover them up when we held the tablet. As they're on the edge, sound isn't even muffled if you rest the device on a surface. Sound is just about loud enough, if a little light on the bass, although a third-party equalizer app can fix this.

The AT200 has a 1280 x 800 resolution display that matches the likes of the Galaxy Note 10.1 and theIconia Tab A200. It's an IPS display which means off-angle viewing shouldn't trouble the AT200 -- and it largely doesn't. However, whatever technology Toshiba is using for the touchscreen has left a visible tattoo across the 10.1-inch display. It's especially pronounced when we were in strong lighting or on dark backgrounds.



While tablets certainly don't live and die by their camera performance, it's always nice to have an extra option -- and the opportunity for a video chat. There's a primary 5-megapixel camera on the rear, while a front-facing 2-megapixel camera gives better self-portraits than the standard VGA modules we're used to. The main camera offers pretty typical tablet camera results -- that is, noisy stills that often lacked the color of their real world counterparts. The camera app is cheerfully stock Honeycomb, meaning it was easy to get to the settings we wanted to change, but a lack of touch-to-focus let it down during our tests.

The camera is also capable of up to 1080p video, which was generally sharp and while colors and light adjustment is pretty good, it's another tablet lacking when it comes to autofocus.

Performance and battery life

While Toshiba promises 12 hours of use, we weren't able to eke out such heady figures. In our battery rundown, looped video, at 50 percent brightness with WiFi on, the tablet scraped in at just under six and a half hours. More typical use didn't inspire much confidence either. We found ourselves regularly plugging in for a top-up later in the day. Perhaps in slimming down to this 0.3 inch frame, the device has generated some power management inefficiencies, or more simply; the battery is simply too small.
Battery Life
Toshiba AT2006:25
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.712:01
Apple iPad 210:26
ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime10:17
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.19:55
Apple iPad (2012)9:52 (HSPA) /
9:37 (LTE)
Apple iPad9:33
Motorola Xoom 28:57
HP TouchPad8:33
Lenovo IdeaPad K18:20
Motorola Xoom8:20
T-Mobile G-Slate8:18
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus8:09
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet8:00
Archos 1017:20
Archos 80 G97:06
RIM BlackBerry PlayBook7:01
Acer Iconia Tab A5006:55
Sony Tablet P6:50
T-Mobile Springboard (Huawei MediaPad)6:34
Toshiba Thrive6:25
Samsung Galaxy Tab6:09
Motorola Xyboard 8.25:25
Velocity Micro Cruz T4085:10
Acer Iconia Tab A1004:54
Toshiba Thrive 7"4:42

On paper, the tablet flits between beating and getting beaten by rival models. However, this doesn't tell the full story -- the dual-core tablet seemed heavily taxed when we used the camera app, more intensive gaming apps and media playback. While browser performance was respectable, there was often tiling on the web browser and attempting to stream media would often kick us out to the home screen or take a fair bit of time getting to the point where we could watch it.

Toshiba AT200Acer Iconia Tab A200Galaxy Tab 10.1Transformer Prime
Linpack single-thread (MFLOPS)37.837.216.943.35
Linpack multi-thread (MFLOPS)68.760.436.767.05
NenaMark 1 (fps)45.845.642.560.1
NenaMark 2 (fps)23.420.418.646.1
SunSpider 9.1 (ms, lower numbers are better)2,0822,2512,2001,861


Yep, we're still on Honeycomb. Anyone that's used its replacement, Android 4.0, knows that it manages to solve and improve on so much of what went wrong. Toshiba's given us version 3.2 here and it's largely what you'd expect from the now outdated tablet version. At least it's the same undiluted stock Honeycomb experience that Google gifted to the Motorola Xoom, aside from a handful of inconsequential apps that were soon sidestepped. The stock Android keyboard is here, as is Swype, which is thoughtfully thrown in gratis. We had no qualms installing our own favorite keyboard once we started using the tablet and as with most 10.1-inch devices, one with a split keyboard worked the best.

Toshiba's given us Android 3.2 here and it's largely what you'd expect from the now outdated tablet version. At least it's an undiluted stock Honeycomb experience.

The user experience is responsive, although as mentioned in the performance section, throw in something a little more complicated than lightweight apps and email and you begin to see the cracks -- typically longer load times and repeated kicks back to the home screen, There's also some larger problems circulating inside this troubled tablet. Trying to get our sample videos and photos out from the AT200 proved to be very difficult, with files seemingly corrupting irrespective of whether we shared through Dropbox or uploaded to our own Google Plus account. We were unable to detect the tablet connecting through the microUSB port. On the software side, Android's dedicated tablet apps are not exactly bursting out of Google Play and the average quality remain noticeably lower than its Cupertino equivalent.



The AT200 is a beautiful tablet. With some great build materials and almost unbelievable lightness in the hand, it embarrasses Toshiba's previous attempts at Android tablets. However, it feels unfinished. Those rough edges, the uneven spacing along the seam; it all adds to a growing dissatisfaction with this final retail model. This is exacerbated by last year's tablet software -- especially when (much cheaper) tablets are arriving with Ice Cream Sandwich right out of the box. Toshiba's severely misguided pricing not only puts it above themarket-leading tablet -- which very recently undertook a substantialhardware refresh -- but also above technically superior Android rivals, like the quad-core, higher resolution Transformer Prime. Are you willing to pay $30 more for a lesser product with some performance issues? No matter how good it looks, we're not.
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Toshiba Sets Excite 10 US Launch, Gives Name a Tweak

Back during the CES, we learned that Toshiba was planning to bring its 10.1-inch AT200 tablet to the United States as the Excite 10. While we had pricing information for the tablet, set to be available as a $530 16GB model or a $600 32GB version, we didn't hear any stabs at a US launch date more precise than sometime around the middle of this quarter. Today, Toshiba announces the tablet's availability as well as gives its name a slight adjustment. 

Instead of the Excite 10, the manufacturer will now release the tablet in the States as the Excite 10 LE. Toshiba didn't give a reason for the name change, or explain if this really is some kind of limited edition, or if LE means anything at all. From the specs the company's provided, it still sounds like the very same tablet we've been expecting, so this looks like a change in name only, rather than a hardware variation. 

As for when the Excite 10 LE will arrive, Toshiba's decided on March 6 for a launch date. With Apple just having confirmed March 7 for what will likely be its iPad 3 announcement, there's definitely a bit of hubris involved in Toshiba releasing its own tablet just one day earlier. 
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Toshiba Tsunagi TG01 Receives Windows Phone 7 Port

It's been just about a year since we first saw the Toshiba TG01 Tsunagi running Windows Phone 7. Then, right at the start of this past summer, videosurfaced actually showing the operating system running on Tsunagi hardware. Now, the tireless efforts of developers have led to the release of a working, unofficial copy of WP7 for the aging smartphone. 

The Tsunagi arrived running Windows Mobile 6.1. With a 1GHz Snapdragon and only 256MB of RAM, it's just barely up to muster as WP7 device, but worked well enough to see its adoption as a Windows Phone development platform. It's been clear that WP7 works on the handset; it's just been a question of seeing the code released. 

As should be no surprise, leave it to the tireless folks who hang out at the XDA-Developers forums to come out with a solution. The release from developer Nokser is based on an older 7510 build of WP7, and supports both Toshiba TG01 and T01A hardware. The good news is that it's running, but it's not without its faults. Apparently battery charging is painfully slow, the camera doesn't work, there are some storage issues, and cellular signal strength takes a nose-dive. Despite these setbacks, work continues on ironing out the bugs and turning this Tsunagi into one hopefully stable enough for daily use. 
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Toshiba Builds Retina-Topping LCD Display With Nearly 500 PPI

The age of 720p smartphone displays is just beginning, with phones like the Galaxy Nexus on the way that will squeeze a high-definition picture down to a portable size. None of us expect the race for higher-and-higher resolutions and denser-and-denser pixel structures to stop now, but where exactly is it heading? Toshiba just announced a new display it's engineered for portable devices that looks like it could set the bar pretty darn high.

This particular component is a smidge too large for a typical smartphone screen, measuring in at 6.1 inches, which lands it in that buffer zone between smartphones and tablets filled with irregularly-sized devices like the Galaxy Note – the same size range we heard Samsung say would be perfect for mobile devices targeted towards women. We might be more excited if it was a 4.5-inch screen, and for all we know Toshiba is already considering manufacturing a version more along that size.

How many pixels do you think would fit on a 6.1-inch display? Toshiba has managed to cram-in a 2,560 x 1,600 array, far surpassing even 1080p. When that many pixels are on a screen that size, we're looking at a pixel density of 498ppi. If you thought Apple's Retina Display was easy on the eyes, this Toshiba tech might just blow your mind. At that resolution, we're really approaching a place where, even close-up, LCDscreens will start to resemble the quality of printed material. Suffice to say, we're excited to see how Toshiba ends up bringing this display to the mobile market, though that's almost certainly a long way off. 
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Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78 review

Qosmio X777-3DV78 review
When NVIDIA played its signature GPU number-bump card back in May, it made a point to throw around some big names. AlienwareMSI and ASUS each announced notebooks with the outfit's new GeForce GTX 560M, but one lone machine played coy, listed only as the "new Toshiba gaming laptop." Known today as the Qosmio X775-3DV78, it pairs 1.5GB GDDR5 with the aforementioned GPU, an Intel Core i7-2630QM processor, 1.25TB of storage split between two drives and 8GB of DDR3 RAM. So, can this heavyweight desktop-replacement hold its own in Engadget's review ring? There's only one way to find out.

Look and feel

We're going to just come right out and say it: Toshiba's Qosmio laptops have a long tradition of being hideously ugly. Confident, proud, powerhouses who aren't afraid to be seen in shocking pink flames, or shimmering chameleon paint. Sure, any company capable of cramming an autobot-usb-hub into the form of a laptop deserves the benefit of the doubt, but we won't mince words: the X775 isn't the exception to the rule. That's not to say it isn't trying, as indicated by the blood-shade stain of "extreme" red crowding the edge of the display's hinge and lower back-lid. Pay close attention to this red strip, because it's where all the action is -- under the lid you'll find a touch sensitive media-bar nestled between a pair of aggressive looking speaker grills. All of the standard controls are here: power, WiFi, volume, and even a toggle for the Qosmio's 3D capabilities -- each activated button glowing to match the laptop's red lip. Travel south only a few of short inches, and suddenly we're in dull, drab business land. A boorish gray texture of horizontal lines plow across the rest of the machine's surface, broken only by a single red line atop the awkwardly positioned trackpad (more on that later) and the chicklet keyboard's brooding glow.

At 16.3 x 10.8 x 1.4-inches, this 7.5-pound behemoth is better suited as a desktop-replacement than a portable gaming rig. Those "official" measurements are even a bit conservative: we measured 2.1-inches from the base of the X775's meaty battery to the edge of the laptop's closed lid. Still, the X775 is almost two pounds lighter than Dell's Alienware M17x R3 and (excusing the raised battery) just a hair thinner. The beast thins out near the laptop's front edge, utilizing the thicker sections of the body to house an rewritable Blu-ray drive and a sizable vent, while splitting port space between thinner sections on either side. The left side sports VGA, HDMI, and Ethernet sockets, as well as two USB plugs (2.0 and 3.0). On the right, it has two additional USB 2.0 plugs and a pair of headphone / mic jacks. Finally, the laptop's front lip features a 5-in-1 card reader and a slew of blinking indicator lights for power, HDD activity, and so on.

Keyboard, touchpad, and screen

The laptop's keyboard layout makes few sacrifices in squeezing in the core experience of a desktop sized keyboard, delegating scant few keys to the authority of the secondary function button. Even better, the CTRL and ALT keys are extremely comfortable to toggle from the gamer's WASD position, making accidental "Windows key" quits less frequent. The keyboard's comfortably spaced and smooth keys don't feel the least bit mushy, and are beautifully backlit by a red glow, easily switched on or off or delayed with the help of an Fn shortcut.

The Qosmio's chicklet spacing suited us just fine, but we did find the keyboard's lack of advanced anti-ghosting technology a bit of a let down. Eight simultaneous keypresses is certainly nothing to scoff at, but it's a far cry from the 20-plus that many dedicated gaming keyboards offer -- not to mention that we found more than a couple three-key combinations that simply wouldn't register. Although the few combinations we found won't effect gameplay for the average user, hardcore gamers may want to stick to their external keyboard.

Speaking of extra input devices, an external mouse is a boon to the X775 owner. While the laptop's touchpad performed adequately under ideal conditions, its placement can be a bit of a burden for folks with larger hands. Those who tend to rest their non-mousing hand on the keyboard's home row might obstruct the top-left portion of the trackpad with their palm, rendering it temporarily inoperative. Although the 3.6 x 2-inch pad itself moves the cursor well enough, its buttons feel loose and plasticy. Sure, it does the trick for lazy couch browsing, but we were sure to keep a wireless rodent handy for anything more taxing than checking our email.

Display and sound

The X775's Harman / Kardon stereo speakers (and bottom-dwelling subwoofer) blast rich, clear sound with negligible distortion, even at maximum volume. The laptop's overall audio fidelity won't be a replacement for a proper sound system or headset, but it definitely won't disappoint in a pinch. Of course, the baked-in Dolby Advanced Audio and Waves Maxxaudio 3 enhancements do a lot of the heavy lifting, and the sound falls noticeably more flat without them. While the enhancements definitely improved the sound overall, some of the default settings were problematic, namely an auto-leveling feature that would auto-adjust for sudden loudness in reaction to the rig's "volume level tone" that plays to indicate what the current windows volume level is at. Suffice to say, having the volume go down when we were trying to crank it up quickly became confusing and frustrating. Still, it was only a minor annoyance. All in all, we found the Qosmio's integrated speakers to be among the finest we've heard on a portable machine.

The Qosmio's 17.3-inch 1920 x 1080 full HD display may be a hair smaller than its predecessor's 18-inch panel, but it sure didn't leave us wanting. The LED backlit TFT display bombarded our pupils with bright, vivid colors, producing an image so sharp, even the textured background of Kung-Fu Hustle'sFBI warning looked like a work of art. Screen viewing angles almost overreach the play of the laptop's hinge, displaying only a slight loss in contrast from sharper angles. The X775's screen suffered a common laptop fault: it's just a bit too glossy for outdoor use. Not that you were planning to take the beast into the great outdoors, were you? The top edge of the screen sports a dual-webcam to capture your fancy stereoscopic video blog drama, and an embedded IR emitter so you can enjoy your own greatest hits with the rig's included NVIDIA 3D Vision glasses. The IR / glasses combo also works for watching 3D Blu-ray movies and getting some depth out of 3D Vision enabled games.

Performance and battery life

Does the Qosmio X775's Intel Core i7-2630QM processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M GPU make this ugly duckling pretty on the inside? Let's put it this way: we ran simultaneous instances of Fallout 3, Team Fortress 2, and Crysis -- all fully playable and cranked to high or very high -- while running two tab-overloaded web-browsers and watching a high-definition film on Blu-ray. If that's not a thing of beauty, we don't know what is. The 17-inch gaming powerhouse breezed through just about everything we threw at it, stuttering only when we pushed Crysis to its absolute max. Throwing NVIDIA's 3D switch, however, tended to drop framerate by about half. Portal 2's 50fps stepped down to 27, for instance, andBatman: Arkham Asylum's 30fps average became an unplayable 13. Still, with the 3D gimmick switched off, the X775 has some serious stuff to strut, and we were intentionally cranking every game's settings up to 11. With a few reasonable tweaks, there was nary a title we tried that didn't play well with NVIDIA's 3D vision or break the 100fps barrier.

The Qosmio performed just as adequately wrangling our cluttered work desktop: over 30 open tabs across two web browsers, piled atop Photoshop, two open email accounts, various IRC and chat interfaces, and a couple of word processors? Smooth as silk. PCMark Vantage clocked the Qosmio at 7,900, while its graphic benchmarking cousin, 3DMark06, pegged it at 15,169.

PCMarkVantage3DMark06Battery Life
Qosmio X775-3DV78 (Corei7-2630QM, GeForce GTX 560M)7,90015,1691:26
HP Envy 17 (Core i7-740QM, ATI Radeon HD 5850)6,15310,7872:10
HP Envy 14 (Core i5-450M, ATI HD Radeon 5650)6,0386,899/1,9283:51
Dell XPS 14 (Core i5-460M, NVIDIA GeForce GT 420M)5,7966,827/1,9552:58
Dell XPS M15z (Core i7-2620M, GeForce GT525M 2GB)8,0237,3173:41 / 4:26
Sony VAIO Z (Core i5-450M, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M)9,9496,1934:25
ASUS U33Jc (Core i3-370M, NVIDIA GeForce 310M)5,5741,860/3,4035:10

So, a fabulously vivid 17-inch screen and NVIDIA's latest in portable graphics? Sounds great, but here's the rub: you won't get far without the Qosmio's massive 2-pound AC adapter. Big screens and pretty scenes suck down a lot of power, and the X775 burned through Engadget's standard battery test in only an hour and 26 minutes. Fancy a game while you wait for a flight? Cut that down to a mere 35, and that'swithout 3D Vision. Paired with the laptop's already cumbersome size, its poor battery life does little more than secure the machine's status as a desktop-replacement -- but then again, gaming rigs aren't known for their electric longevity. The Qosmio will still be a hit at your next LAN party, but don't count on it to get you through your next flight -- or even your next layover.

Configuration options

The X775 is available in three pre-built configurations: budget, mid-range and flagship (we've been playing with the high-end X775-3DV8). Our $1,900 review unit sports a Intel Core i7-2360QM processor, Blu-ray burner, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, dual hard drives with a total of 1.25TB of storage and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560M graphics with 3D Vision. A nearly identical machine, sans 3D, can be had in the X775-Q727, a $1,450 rig with the same processor and graphics, but with only 6GB RAM and a single terabyte of storage over two drives. Budget-minded folks can save an additional $250 by stepping down to a Core i5-2410M processor, a single 640GB HDD and a DVD-RW drive. The pre-configured options offer a wide enough range to keep you from feeling out-priced, but if you want to actually customizeyour machine, you'll need to look to the...

The competition

When it comes to high-performance gaming laptops rocking huge screens, impressive graphics, and baked in 3D tech, it turns out your options are pretty limited -- but we found a few. Our favorite X775 alternative happens to be Dell's Alienware M17x R3, which can be customized to both undercut the X775 in price in performance, or outgun it. A similar configuration to Toshiba's toy (including 3D Vision) will set you back just over $2,100. Its worth nothing however, that the Dell's visuals are powered by an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M, not a 560M.

Of course, if you're willing to forgo Blu-ray drive and silly 3D glasses, there are definitely cheaper options. The Core-i7 ASUS G74SX-BBK7 can be had for roundabout $1,200, and sports the same 17.3-inch screen size, the same 8GB of RAM, and the same GeForce GTX 560M graphics as the Qosmio. If you just need to have everything, you could always spring for MSI's GT780R-057US, a hefty 17.3-inch machine also rocking NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 560M, a Core i7-2630QM processor, a 1.5TB hard drive, Blu-ray burner and not just eight, but 16GB of DD3 RAM. Minus the X775's 3D gimmick and doubling its RAM, the MSI beast shares the Qosmio's $1,900 price tag, leaving the buyer a choice: extra RAM or extra depth perception?


By now, you've probably figured out that Toshiba's latest Qosmio is a bit of a Quasimodo -- beautiful on the inside, but covered in enough repulsive blemishes to give pause to the Esmeralda in all of us. Beneath its rough exterior lies an all in one platform tailor made for the very latest in media entertainment: extreme graphics, a full-HD display, Blu-ray rewritable / DVD combo drive, and even NVIDIA 3D Visionbaked right in, glasses included. This package just might be enough to shine through the Qosmio's craggy cast if you're willing to overlook the hunch of its atrocious battery life -- not that you'd want to lug the hefty rig very far anyway. Despite its looks, the X775 is no slacker, and you pay for that performance -- although not as much as you could. Toshiba's total-package toy isn't cheap at $1,900, but considering that you could easily pay an extra few Benjamins for an equivalent configuration of Dell's AlienwareM17x R3 (with an NVIDIA 3D Vision package), it's not a bad value. Overall, the Qosmio X775-3DV78 is a solid machine, despite its somewhat bland appearance and annoying quirks. And that suits us fine. After all, didn't your mother always tell you that it's what's on the inside that counts?
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