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Toshiba's High-End HD Tablet

By the time it hits retail later this year, Toshiba's latest and greatest (if nameless) tablet will be running Honeycomb (Android 3.0), an OS specially designed for tablets. It can also call itself a fully high-definition device, as its screen resolution is upped to 1,280 x 800. Not only does it pack in more pixels, but (though we were unable to confirm what panel technology it used) viewing angles and colour saturation were also vastly superior to those of the Folio 100, and a definite cut above the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Furthermore, 'ambient screen control' uses a brightness sensor to automatically adjust colour saturation and display brightness according to your environment. Our only complaint is the screen's glossy finish.

Video playback is a core function of a modern tablet and here Toshiba excels, with its proprietary Resolution+ processing capable of upscaling lowly Standard Definition video to 720p for the tablet's display or up to 1080p to your TV via HDMI out. The stereo speakers have also been upgraded and feature a dynamic equaliser, and the microphone features noise reduction. The tablet also sports dual cameras: a 2.0 megapixel model on the front for video-calling and 5MP one at the rear for photos.

In terms of wireless, 3G is on hand along with Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth, meaning this tablet does offer full access to both the Toshiba and Android marketplaces, one of its most significant advantages over the Folio 100.

On the connectivity front we have the same full-size HDMI and USB ports, and SD card reader goodness (like micro-SD cards, mini-HDMI cables are still more expensive and difficult to find than their standard counterparts). Build quality feels appreciably better, for though the screen bezel is still glossy black plastic that attracts fingerprints, the back and sides are constructed using a soft-touch, rubberised finish that makes it both more rugged and far more pleasant to hold than many rivals. Not only this, but the back cover is removable, allowing you to change the tablet's colour from its default black.

Last but not least, the battery is user removable, allowing you to replace it when it starts losing capacity as it ages or even carry a spare to extend the tablet's life away from a socket. We couldn't get Toshiba to give us even a rough indication of pricing, but this will be officially announced in Q2.

If the company can keep its price competitive, its new tablet has every chance of erasing the poor impression the Folio created, as it holds up well against rival efforts and offers a great mix of specifications, connectivity and build. For example, it's already more flexible than the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, though not as slim or light. Based on what we know so far, which tablet would you prefer?

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