Noticeably bulkier than the competition, the AT100 begs the question: can substance trump style?
The Toshiba AT100 has taken a different approach - forgoing any attempts at style, the 726 gram rubber backed AT100 has put its eggs in the substance basket. It’s noticeably bulky at 15.8mm thick, but it feels lighter than its appearance would indicate. The rubberised and grooved back cover does provide a very reassuring grip, and the dark grey colour further cements the function over form ethos on display.
The AT100 is powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 2 T250 (1GHz) processor along with 1GB of RAM, so performance with Android 3.1 is very snappy even when several apps are open at once. For that matter the 10.1in (1,280x800 resolution) capacitive screen has rich colours and an excellent viewing angle.
Of course the main draw of the AT100 is the ports on offer, with the three star attractions being full-sized HDMI and USB 2.0 ports along with a full-sized SD card reader. Tablets usually go for the mini-sized versions, so compatibility dongles and microSD cards can be forgotten. It makes the AT100 easier to use with more traditional computing devices, and being able to expand the somewhat small 16GB of SSD storage with a 32GB or larger SD card is very helpful.
Another unique feature is that the back cover can be removed in order to replace the battery. While it’s a bit finicky to remove, being able to replace the battery after the five and a half hour battery life runs out is excellent. Otherwise the AT100 has comprehensive connectivity and features.
The 5 megapixel front and 2 megapixel rear cameras worked well, and the stereo speakers had much richer sound than would be expected given their size. Rounding out the essential specs is Bluetooth 2.1 and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi along with a mini-USB 2.0 port, a microphone and an audio jack.
The Toshiba AT100 isn’t ashamed of its utilitarian appearance, and with the features on offer it has no reason to be. There’s a lot to like, and although it could benefit from some improvements to how the back cover is removed along with a bit of a weight reduction this could end up being a major contender in the tablet market. Available from Toshiba, retailing for $579
.APC rating: 8/10 (Highly Recommended)