The Toshiba AT200 takes everything we like in an Android tablet – excellent screen, impressive connectivity and Flash browser - and trims it down to 7.7mm
It’s got the size thing going for it (as well as being only 7.7mm thick, it weighs a feather-light 520g) as well as a load of connectivity. Although the AT200 is a Honeycomb device in an Ice Cream Sandwich world, it’s a good £150-£200 cheaper than the flagship devices from Asus and Samsung. And in these difficult financial times, that makes it alright by us.
It’s not a perfect device; the 5MP rear-facing camera is ropey and, given the supermodel-slim form factor, the buttons on the side of the device are a little on the fiddly side. But, we have to credit Toshiba for cramming a lot of features and usability into what is a very thin and light tablet.
Toshiba AT200: Build
Like the other premium Android tablets, the AT200 dispenses with physical buttons on the front of the device. All you get is the customary black bezel – thankfully it’s not a thick one – and the circular lens for the 1.3MP front-facing camera.
Flip the AT200 over though, and you get a single sheet of brushed aluminium that makes up the entire back panel of the device. It’s not the easiest surface to grip, but it does look nice.
Predictably enough, there’s not much room on the side of the tablet for large, comfortable buttons. In order to power the device on and adjust the volume you might find yourself using your fingernails on more than one occasion.
But overall, there’s no getting away from the fact that this is a very slim, very light device – meaning it’s perfect for slipping into a bag or briefcase and carrying around for the day.
Toshiba AT200: Screen
The AT200 has a 10.1-inch screen with a pixel resolution of 1,280 x 800 and, like every other tablet screen, has been completely eclipsed by the display on the new iPad. However, we were pleased to see that brightness, an oft-quoted criticism of shoddy Android tablets, wasn’t an issue here.
The screen will play full 1080p high definition content and because the bezel isn’t too thick, the experience isn’t interrupted.
The screen supports multi-touch, so zooming in and out of maps, web pages or other apps can be handled with a single pinch and the capacitive response was quick and reliable.
Toshiba AT200: Usability
Plenty of headline space has been given over to Google’s new Ice Cream Sandwich OS, but the Toshiba AT200 still relies on Honeycomb (version 3.2) a tablet-optimised operating system that has a funky Tron-like neon blue theme and five homescreens to fill with apps.
Unlike other manufacturers, Toshiba hasn’t added any customisations or skins, leaving the OS to run pretty much uninterrupted.
You can use Google Play to access the 400,000 available apps and we found using the on-screen keypad to tap out searches was easy enough; the keys were big and the tactile feedback was comfortable. Surfing the web is also a pleasant experience and because the browser supports Flash, you can load up embedded videos straight from the page.
Toshiba has included Toshiba Places – its own version of an app market that lets you rent movies, download games and buy music. You need to sign up for access and, although it can’t compete with Google Play, it’s an exclusive addition that some might want to take advantage of.
Toshiba AT200: Performance
The Toshiba AT200 runs on an ARM Cortex A9 (1.2GHz) dual-core processor with 1GB RAM. The overall performance is good but it doesn’t beat the Tegra 3 power of the Transformer Prime or, indeed, the end-to-end synchronicity of the iPad family. However, the AT200 does offer better connectivity.
There’s a micro-USB port, micro-HDMI port and a MicroSD card slot for expanding the storage. In terms of standalone storage, you can pick up the Toshiba AT200 with either 16GB or 32GB of space. One point though, you can’t charge via USB – you’ll have to use Toshiba’s bundled proprietary charger to juice up this tablet.
We never experienced a crash during our time with the AT200 and even though it isn’t packing the most recent version of Android, the performance was pretty slick throughout. On occasion, such as zooming in quickly in Google Maps or loading up 1080p video in YouTube there’s a fractional lag but no deal-breaking performance issues here.
Unfortunately though, the 5MP camera isn’t up to scratch. Although there’s the usual range of effects (sepia, negative) to choose from, the images looked grainy at best and even though we wouldn’t really use a camera for taking pictures, this should be better.
Toshiba AT200: Battery
When it comes to battery life, the AT200 performed well, but not exceptionally so. We streamed 1080p video from YouTube and looped the footage for 297 minutes before the battery died. Given a more sympathetic treatment, you should be able to get the 8 hours of use that Toshiba claim you can reach with this tablet.
Toshiba AT200: Verdict
Toshiba’s AT200 tablet is a much better device than the earlier Toshiba AT100 and an excellent example of a portable and well-built Android machine. Both its 7.7mm slimness and 520g weight are excellent reasons to recommend this tablet but in truth we don’t think it does enough to outshine the power of the Transformer Prime or the quality of the iPad.
The AT200 is a great tablet, it’s functional, durable and very practical – it’s just not quite as desirable as some of the other options available.
Toshiba AT200 availability: Now
Toshiba AT200 price: £332.50 (for 16GB version)