Toshiba Thrive Tablet Mostly for Work, With Some Play

Toshiba's Thrive is a decent, if unspectacular entry to the trundling Android "Honeycomb" tablet market. However, the availability of computer ports will please enterprise users.

I began using the Toshiba Thrive Android 3.1-based "Honeycomb" tablet last week with some reservations after all the negative attention the 10.1-inch tablet garnered over what I'll call SleepmodeGate.

I've been using this hefty WiFi-only device (my version was the 16GB model, with 1 GB RAM) for over a week, and I haven't experienced the surely annoying experience of having to reboot every time I want to wake the device from sleep mode. But dozens of Thrive owners are experiencing this.

Let me tell you what I have experienced with the Thrive, which weighs 1.6 pounds, is over .06 inches thick and which I will compare against my thinner, lighter Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Thrive is speedy as powered by the Nvidia Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core processor. It's also got a solid but not great LED backlit widescreen display.

Thrive boasts 1280 by 800 resolution like the Tab 10.1, but the Thrive screen is not as crisp as the Tab 10.1 display; I played several YouTube videos and movies side-by-side and the Tab won every time.

One area where the Thrive whips the Tab 10.1 (and even the vaunted iPad) is the availability of ports to let users connect their Thrive to other devices for content sharing and device-to-device communications.

The Thrive has a USB port for connecting to a PC, peripheral or other device, a mini USB port for connecting to phones and other peripherals, an HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) port for putting content on bigger screens, and an SD card slot for flash memory cards.

There is also a docking connector to enable users to attach their devices to a Toshiba Multi-Dock ($59.99) with HDMI to let users port Thrive content to an HDTV or LCD monitor. The Toshiba Standard Dock with Audio Out has a 3.5-mm stereo audio port that connects to external speakers or headphones for $39.99.

In other words, the Thrive is very PC-like. It even has an AC Adapter included with the tablet. Yes, the Thrive comes with a laptop-style power cord.

Toshiba really showed its enterprise-leanings with the Thrive by including on one of the five customizable home screens its proprietary File Manager and PrinterShare applications.

The File Manager is useful for people storing, managing and accessing lots of content. I put photos, documents and videos from thumb drives onto the Thrive and accessed them with the File Manager.

PrinterShare enables printing via Android phones. The LogMeIn remote desktop and QuickOffice productivity applications were also preinstalled on this home screen.

Conversely, Toshiba also wants to be consumer-friendly, offering proprietary Toshiba Start Place news aggreggator, a Book Place digital bookstore, and an App Place application store that is pretty poor and ugly, mixing both enterprise and consumer applications. Stick with the Android Market for applications.

YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the new Google+ mobile application rendered well. The stereo speakers worked well for music, video content and games, such as NFS Shift from EA, which is included on the Thrive. Switching between applications was super simple, as Google intended Honeycomb to be.