The Toshiba AT200 has a 10.1in screen, of the same basics specs as top 2011 tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Asus Eee Pad Transformer. It uses a 1,280 x 800 pixel resolution, an IPS panel and has a toughened Gorilla Glass front.
However, not all screens that sound the same are the same. The Toshiba AT200 performs a way below the best we saw last year, and isn’t a patch on the high-res displays of the new iPad and upcoming Asus Pad Transformer Infinity.
That can be read at a glance from the specs, though. What really disappoint are the overall image quality and the questionable backlight performance.
Maximum brightness is ok, but lower than the best. And both contrast and colour reproduction are worse than seen on the Asus Eee Pad Transformer (the first one) and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. In the days before tablets like the first iPad upped the screen ante, this would have been seen as a great screen. But these days, it’s mediocre.
Thanks to the IPS panel, the image remains viewable at extremely wide angles, but the luminescence of the backlight becomes very obvious in angled viewing. The screen’s blacks become blueish greys.
Also, and perhaps most worryingly, pressing down on the screen at its edges causes ripples in the screen’s image. Could this be a result of Toshiba trying a bit too hard to become the thinnest tablet around? The touchscreen layer also leaves an odd pattern on the screen finish – it’s not noticeable in normal operation, but becomes clear when the tablet’s used in bright sunlight.
Although the screen doesn’t exactly impress, a 10.1in IPS display is always going to be a great way to watch movies and TV episodes while you’re out and about. Equipped with 32GB of internal memory and a microSD card slot, storage is no problem either. A Toshiba media player comes pre-installed, and uses the page-based navigation seen in Honeycomb’s home screens to let you flick through content
Video codec support is, however, poor. Fresh out of the box, it will only play the basics supported as standard by Android. That means yes to H.264 and WMV, but no to extremely common formats like Divx, XviD, MKV and others.
To get these formats playing, you’ll need to rely on a third-party media player. There are plenty available from the Google Play app store, but not all are free. And fewer are bug-free. Playing our video samples with BSplayer, for example, resulted in a neon green garbled mess. Some patience and effort is required.
The micro HDMI socket on its left edge does win the Toshiba AT200 back some movie cred points. It’ll let you play videos on your TV very easily – wireless DLNA alternatives tend to be much trickier to get working properly than the old fashioned way. A micro HDMI to HDMI cable isn’t included, but you can buy one for a few pounds if you shop around.
If you’re keen on the wireless way, the Toshiba media player app lets you stream content from devices on the same network.
An element of the AT200 that predictably suffers from the slimming process is speaker quality. They sound tinny, and particularly stressed at high volume, which isn’t exactly ear-shattering.
This tablet works best as a music device with headphones, or streaming to a hi-fi over Wi-Fi/Bluetooth. Toshiba jams-in support for wireless music streaming in its media player app.
Yep, the page-based Toshiba media player makes a return for music, giving you easy navigation of the music library and displaying album artwork. Just as we saw with video, no extra audio codecs are supported. If you have a library full of FLAC files, you’ll need to invest in a separate media player app like Winamp.
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