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Design and Features

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We've just got our hands on Toshiba's attempt at taking on the Apple iPad, the Folio 100. This Android based tablet packs in a 10.1in capacitive touchscreen, HDMI and can playback 1080p video. Let's see how it holds up.



Unlike the warmly received Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Toshiba makes a rather less positive first impression. Whereas the Tab felt like a step in the right direction in terms of size - moving to a more portable form factor compared to the iPad - the Folio 100's 10in form factor feels decidely unwieldy. Obviously this is fairly subjective point and different people will have different needs but, to our minds, when you're getting to size of device, you'd be better off with a laptop. In this regard the folio is not much worse than the iPad but that's a device we feel is oversized already.
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The other initial let down is build quality. We have no complaints about the glass touchscreen and can see the logic behind the decision to have a rough, matt plastic back. However, there's a curved black glossy plastic bezel round the screen that just looks like its been added to cover a gap or something else unsightly like screws. Also, a rubber bung covers the proprietary docking connector but it's not even tethered so will quickly get lost.

Another problem with build quality is the choice of display. While the Tab and iPad have shown that there are very good quality mobile LCD panels available, the Folio 100 is a prime example of the problems that LCD does face: viewing angles are fairly poor, colour reproduction looks muted, and black levels aren't great. It's by no means the worst panel we've ever seen and is indeed on par with many a basic laptop, but due to the way you interact with them, good viewing angles in particular are far more important on tablets. Meanwhile the large screen size means that despite a high resolution of 1,024 x 600, it doesn't appear as sharp as the best out there. That said, this very feature makes it quite a comfortable laptop/lounging viewing experience when you're viewing it from a distance.
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Elsewhere on the hardware front, there's a 1.3megapixel webcam on the front but not one on the rear for taking photos of your surroundings. There are however mini HDMI and both full-size and mini USB sockets hideen beneath a flap on the bottom edge. The full size USB can be used to plug in usb storage devices to quickly access your files, while the HDMI can be used to playback 1080p video on your telly. We were shown a 1080p clip (raw footage taken straight from a Toshiba camcorder) playing on the device and can confirm it played back very smoothly but we didn't see it playing on a big screen.
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