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Customer Review

197 of 201 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice and capable machine, 23 July 2012
This review is from: Toshiba AT300 16GB 10.1-inch Tablet (nVIDIA Tegra T30SL 1.3GHz, 1GB RAM, Micro HDMI, Micro USB, Card Reader, Android 4.0) (Personal Computers)
Toshiba AT300

I make this review as someone who is very comfortable with computers and windows but who has not owned a smart phone or tablet before and therefore I have gone through something of a learning curve to get to this point.

I originally just wanted a colour e-reader (to supplement my Kindle) for art books etc but discovered that as soon as I went to an LCD (away from e-ink) that the world changed to reflective bright glass and poor battery performance. If I was to endure those things, then I thought I may as well go the whole hog and get a tablet that could at least perform well for the other things that a tablet will do.

I initially bought the Samsung Galaxy 2 7 (7" tablet) for £200. It had the latest Android version, duel core processor, 8 GB of memory and could take a micro SD card to expand the memory. Anyway, I then discovered that the SD card could only store data type stuff (movie, music and docs) and not apps and since the system hogged half the memory, it only left 4GB on the machine.

I changed the device to the Toshiba AT300 costing £330 and the step - up was noticeable. Quad processor (4+1) and 16GB of memory but with the higher screen resolution spread over a bigger screen (10.1") so lower actual resolution per square inch. The machine also had better connectivity with more ports and could take a full sized SD card. It also runs on Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

Unfortunately, like the Samsung tablet, Apps do not want to seem to move to the SD card, I even downloaded the APS 2 SD app without success (Comments online now lead me to believe that this is a problem with Android 4 rather than the machines) however on this 16GB machine it matters less, the system takes up the same 4GB as it did on the Samsung but the difference is,you are left with 12 GB spare, so although 16MB is double the memory of 8MB tablet, in practical terms you actually get triple the capacity (12GB not 4GB remaining) to play around with, so I can't see app storage being a problem for me. The Toshiba also takes a full sized SD card rather than the micro SD card that some machines are limited to, so it might make a useful camera companion. The Samsung by the way does come in a 16GB version and had I got that version, I might have stuck with it, though I like the bigger screen, extra processing power and USB port on the Toshiba.

I had to fully charge the machine as it was flat from new, which I did as an overnight job, as it takes around 8 hours. The charging cable is almost 1.5 metres long, which is handy when accessing plugs, though not convenient to carry around

On start-up I noticed on the black screen that there was quite a bit of light bleed around the outside edge of the screen. A quick internet search broadly put my mind at rest. It seems bleed is fairly common on LCDs but can be more pronounced on some machines, the Toshiba AT300 might be one such example. The forum comments generally took the view that providing it is not too intrusive, it is just one of those things to live with. In real world use, I only see the bleed on the black start-up screen and never in anything else that I do, though I have not run any movie yet with dark scenes such as night shots etc.

The machine uses Gorilla Glass, I wasn't sure what that was, but the clue is in the name. Anyway, I was not surprised, it just adds to the sense of this being a nice machine that has not fallen prey to short cuts for cost cutting .

I don't have much use for the micro HDMI connection at the moment but the macro USB is useful. Once tethered to my Desktop, the Toshiba shows up on the windows screen and is treated just like another hard drive, so that it as easy for the user to add and remove files from the Toshiba, such as my music files by just dragging on the PC's window environment.

I really enjoy the bigger screen, in particular it feels much better than the 7" model when viewing websites in landscape. The tablet is very slim and light for it's size and has a nice aluminium effect rear plate, it feels really nice and sleek in the hands - though, after 30 - 40 minutes of hand holding, it can feel heavy on the wrists when reading, so I bought one of the generic flip out cases, so that the screen could stand upright unaided by me, making things easier for longer sessions.

The bigger screen means you get a nice sized (soft) keyboard, which has nicely spaced letters that suits my big hands. You can shift the keypad into two other modes that allow either numerals or the directional keys (for editing) to be used.The text system works well, especially from a mobile perspective, but this is probably not a replacement to a laptop for people who type a lot of text as despite the `office' apps being very good, editing on a long article will require flipping back and forth between keyboard modes for text, directional arrows and numerals and this is much less convenient than a traditional keyboard. However, the tablet has a microphone that can be activated from the soft keyboard and you can just speak and the computer prints your speech as text into the document with incredible accuracy.

The microphone can also be activated from the home page with commands such as `find maps' or find `google' and the computer then delivers you an internet link that you can tap onto.

The screen is nicely responsive to touch and things can be moved around the screen and managed effortlessly, no doubt with thanks to that quad processor. I have not come across any lag.

The speakers are on the bottom of the gadget and their reproduction is reasonable for their size, providing the volume is not pushed to full. Earphones and external powered speakers are the better option and on my portable external battery powered speaker, the sound is very good.

The screen is quite bright and fairly sharp, good enough for games, text and photographs for most people. I tend to be a bit critical about photo images and when I compare the pad photograph with the same photograph (being read from the pad via USB) on my monitor,there is a clear difference in very fine detail , vibrancy and contrast, though I am probably being quite unfair on the tablet here and would like to see the same image on other higher resolution tablets for a comparison. I like the program that uses an art filter to change the photographs into a more `painterly' look, it just gives your photo collection a different and generally satisfactory feel.

The screen brightness is set to auto by default, I have switched to manual and lowered the brightness, which especially for text based pages on a white background makes for a more comfortable read and hopefully it will save me some battery juice as well.

There is a rumbler / buzzer in the tablet, which you can feel through the back plate, it heralds the machine being turned on, but can also be `alive' for every time something is activated on the screen. At first I was puzzled as to how I could turn it off and even sweated that it might be a permanent feature, but eventually I found that the control was located under the Haptics section. I am now happily vibration free!

Being keen on photography, I was interested to see how the back plate camera would perform and I was disappointed with both inside and outside shots, though I gather that tablet cameras in general are not the best devices, so it's not just a thing with this model, which does have flash by the way. The camera does auto focus and you can tap on the focus screen for the point of focus. The camera has easily accessible controls for EV, white balance and scene mode. The capture will certainly show the details of the scene but I am rather spoiled by my dedicated cameras - which again probably causes me to make an unfair judgement on tablet cameras. It serves fine as a point and shoot recording device and I can see it being useful for taking record type shots.

On it's first charge, the battery ran down to 3% after 6 hours 40 mins and 6 hours 38 mins the second time. I was quite careful to turn the Wi-Fi off while game playing. I am hoping that this will improve a little after the battery has been discharged and re-charged a few times, as it seems a tad on the poor side, though I doubt any of the `advertised' battery capacities are attained on a regular real world basis.

I have sold a handheld console and a laptop computer to help pay for this tablet, as the tablet seems to render those two items unnecessary (I still have a desktop computer and a netbook), particularly as the type of games that I enjoy are puzzle games, word games, chess, platform games and some adventure type games, all of which seem ideally suited to the tablet. I do quite a bit of heavy work on the computer, so even though the tablet is competent, for me, it doesn't make a computer replacement device yet, though for net browsing, video, game play and checking e-mails on a very portable platform it is superb. I can even see myself doing a bit of word processing when in places like cafes etc - although talking into the microphone might be best avoided in such places (a new take of "I'm on the train" being broadcast to the annoyance of others).

Google Shop content for Android seems fine for my needs. I have put the kindle app on the tablet and my books on watercolour paintings look nice as do some military illustrations. When it comes to a coloured picture in the books, you can just tap on the picture and it expands to full screen size, very nice. I will still use my kindle for my black and white text based books as it is kinder on the eyes for long reading sessions.

I have downloaded the Avast app for my anti-virus needs and I am hooked on the word game `Dropwords' at the moment - good fun.

When reviewing, I ask myself `would I buy this again'? For the AT300 my answer is yes. My only reservation has been the light bleed, which surprises me as the build quality otherwise seems very good but this has never been a problem for me in actual use and I can only see it on start-up. In all other regards I really like the machine. It feels good in the hands and it has the power to move everything around without lag. It has good connectivity and I feel that despite this being an area of quickly advancing technology and capability, the new crop of machines are good enough to service my needs without too much worry about having to upgrade anytime soon.

Just for the record, at the time of looking at the Toshiba, I was also looking at the Google Nexus 7 (same power, same memory, newer version of Android, smaller screen, less external connectivity), the iPad 2 (same price, same memory, less external connectivity), the iPad 3 (£70 more, less external connectivity, similar power, same memory, gorgeous retina screen that outclasses all other tablet screens and would almost certainly make my photographs look better). Probably the biggest deciding factor for me was external connectivity, especially as I am not on unlimited broadband.

EDIT 3rd Aug 2012 - A couple of weeks on and I remain happy with the machine. The battery use seems fairly consistent at around 6 hours 40 mins. I still charge it overnight (every 3 days or so) but noticed last time that it had fully charged from 1% to full in less than 6 hours. Someone asked me if it can read PDF's, it can. I download PDF's via the USB from my PC and when I open the file in the AT300 it asks what you want to read it with. Adobe is one of the options, it seems to work well.

EDIT 5th Sept 2012 - I remain content with the machine and use it daily. The battery continues to have a life of around 6 hours and 40 mins, I wish it was more but it's OK. I am playing 'Dead Trigger' which is a 1st person shooter game (zombies!!!)and the graphics run very smoothly on the machine and I think it is probably a demanding game in terms of graphics, so processing power looks good. I am also using Kingsoft Office for my word processing stuff (though have Android Office installed as well), I am getting used to the keyboard and it is becomming a bit more second nature to edit the text, you really need to go into the EDIT mode to do that properly (press the 123 softkey), but it makes using internet forums quite easy to be active in and even doing longer documents is easier than I first thought. I have downloaded a couple of PDF files to read and they present well on the screen. Also enjoying a word game called '7 words'. Basically I am using this machine to replace my old console, to check e-mails and internet browse and to compose short documents and keep a photo gallery of favourite shots (some manipulated to look like oil paintings using the 'oil paint' app. To date the light bleed has not caused me any issues, though I have not watched a movie on the machine, but judging from the shooter game, it should not be an issue.

EDIT 7th April 2013 - Just confirming that I am still using this tablet and remain fully happy with it. If I were to identify the weakest points, I would say they are battery life (as previously mentioned) and the camera. I am enjoying my Apps and the tablet has made a total replacement of my previous hand held gaming console. I am pushing the boundaries to see how much I can do on this rather than on the laptop and my most recent discovery is a free draw package called Express SketchbookX which seems fairly sophisticated and lets you use layers. It is surprising how much control you have even with fingertip control. You can export the artwork as a JPEG and then that can be later dragged into documents, which I save as PDF. (also enjoying super stickman, Shuffle and Wordslide as games). I have also started using the spreadsheets in Kingsoft Office to manage my monthly finances (another job taken from the laptop). My next project is to see if I can run a hobby blog just from the tablet and also to try to get the tablet to work with my HP printer which is ePrint enabled, so it should be OK, I just need to work out how to do it. I do not really use the SD card that much, though am glad it is there as an easy device to import files from either the laptop or the camera. I quite fancy the better camera and the retina screen of the iPad but at this moment in time cannot see sufficient justification cost wise of moving from what I have to the iPad, I m more than happy to sit back and watch how the variolus technologies advance, particularly as developers try to make tablets true alternatives to nebooks and laptops. In short, the tablet is starting to work quite hard for me and seems up to those tasks.
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Showing 11-20 of 43 posts in this discussion
Posted on 1 Oct 2012 09:34:40 BDT
I wish all reports were as detailed and balanced as this one. Thanks and well done.

Posted on 4 Nov 2012 15:07:13 GMT
Animalspirit says:
Firstly, thank you for a brilliant review! I notice that you compose short documents, which of the apps is it you are using for this please?

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Nov 2012 19:45:19 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Nov 2012 19:50:16 GMT
N. Smith says:
Eileen, I am using two products, Kingsoft Office and Android office. Both will deal with DOC or DOTX files but Kingston also saves TXT and PDF though the PDF's look low res and poor.

It reads text PDF's (produced in other programs) OK but does not display any graphical aspects of a PDF nicely.
Kingston will also read files from the SD card BUT does not seem to be able to create AND save documents to the external card and if you open a file from the external card and add to it, it will only save back to the internal drive regardless of whether you press SAVE or SAVE AS.

So, you can drag a file onto your SD card in your laptop and Kinston will be able to open it. Also any document used in Kingston and saved on the internal drive can be coppied with FILE MANAGER and pasted into a document folder on the external SD card. So there is a way around getting a file saved onto the external card but it is a bit messier (sp?) than just using SAVE AS.

Bottom line, both are stable and handle nicely, I suppose it just depends which interface you prefer and if you want to be able to use files with the external SD card, then use Kingston.

For a while, I was just using the kingston program to manage the external SD and using Android Office to do my actual work in. I would try both.

I read my PDF's on the Kindle option and they always look good.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Nov 2012 16:39:53 GMT
Animalspirit says:
Thank you. I use Kingsoft Office on my phone and find it easy to use so it will be good to use the same on the toshiba tablet. I really appreciate your review and remarks as they have enabled me to know this tablet is the right one for me.

Posted on 8 Nov 2012 13:02:17 GMT
Animalspirit says:
Having now brought this tablet (thanks to your excellent review) I am trying to work out how to transfer my pictures that are on a USB stick onto the tablet. Do you know if it is possible to do this using a USB micro adapter and if so what type I'd need? Any advice greatly received!

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Nov 2012 13:11:41 GMT
M. Gilbert says:
I also have this tablet. If you have a computer, just plug the USB stick into the computer, and the Tablet also to the computer. Both will appear as 'drives' which you can transfer to/from

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Nov 2012 13:16:02 GMT
Animalspirit says:
Problem is my old laptop has broken. Luckily I had transferred all the photos to the USB stick but now need to find a way of transferring directly fro the USB stick

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Nov 2012 14:47:04 GMT
Last edited by the author on 8 Nov 2012 14:49:00 GMT
N. Smith says:
Eileen, I can't try this for you to test the idea because none of my leads in my 'spares' box are the correct ones, so I can do no more than guess. It would make sense if you could use your pen drive with the tablet via a converter that has a USB 2 type A female on one end (to take the USB pen drive) and a mini male USB on the other end to fit the tablet. Go to e-bay and type in USB CONNECTOR and you will see some examples. Like I say, I can't say that it will work but can't see why it won't, perhaps others here could comment on that.

Other suggestions would be to use someone elses computer, put both an SD card in it and your pen drive. create a folder on the SD card called say 'photo collection' and drag the photo files from the pen drive onto the SD card. This card can then be inserted into the tablet and be read by the tablet.

I suppose another way could be to have the SD card in the camera and connect camera to the tablet and use the copy and paste commands (in file manager) to get the files from the camera onto the external drive. Though I would imagine this would need a special lead or connector and I'm not even sure that the tablet will read the camera.

I wonder whether you could use a photo machine in a high street store that does prints while you wait, to transfer files from your USB drive to your SD card. I know they will transfer files from both those sources onto CD, so I am guessing that they may be able to also move between media like you can on a computer - might be worth asking if such a place is handy to you.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Nov 2012 14:54:25 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Feb 2013 12:03:51 GMT
Animalspirit says:
Thank you for all your ideas will head to eBay first and if that doesn't work will try your other suggestions. If it does work will add post for others.

FOLLOWUP.
Yes it does work, it's the same as connecting an external keyboard (which I now use most of the time)

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Nov 2012 14:58:14 GMT
M. Gilbert says:
I think you can look for a USB OTG cable, one end plugs into the micro USB port of the tablet, the other end is a female USB slot which will receive your flash disk.