Toshiba’s presence in the tablet market might be a tad muted compared with the big-spending Samsungs and Googles of this world.
Price is most definitely on its side – this AT300 32GB variant comfortably undercuts many of its rivals. And you’ve got the added attraction of being able to double the memory by slotting in a suitably capacious SD memory card, something that’s just not possible on the iPad.
Toshiba AT300: Tech specs
There’s also a micro HDMI socket for connecting to a TV, and a micro USB connection for dragging and dropping files from your computer.
The 10.1in touchscreen boasts a sheet of gorilla glass on the front (unfortunately, the claimed anti-fingerprint coating didn’t deter our greasy paws) and a textured plastic rear panel. For the money this is just about acceptable.
What isn’t acceptable is that the Toshiba flexes too easily and, on our sample, the plastic back cover started to come away from the chassis. And it's annoying that you can't use the supplied dock connector to charge from your computer. This needs to be done using the supplied mains adapter.
Given the Toshiba’s price, it’s good to see specification has stretched to an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor, although the operating system is standard Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).
Toshiba AT300: App store
The on-screen layout sticks to standard Android principles – a grid for apps and customisable screens. The Toshiba responds quickly to swipes, the screen’s haptics technology performing powerfully as you prod.
Toshiba Places offers similar features to Google's Play store. There's a good selection of movies (provided by Acetrax) and music (courtesy of 7Digital), although games and apps are relatively thin on the ground compared to rival offerings.
Individual speakers can be found either side of the dock connector. There’s less chance of your hands getting in their way, but they do sound thinner and tinnier than rival tablets.
Toshiba gives you plenty of scope to change audio performance whether you’re listening through the built-in speakers or a pair of headphones. It’s nice to be able to tweak, but we couldn’t find any that improved on the standard, out-of-the-box audio settings.
Toshiba AT300: Sound and video
Hook up a pair of headphones and the Toshiba sounds very listenable – music displays a fine sense of rhythm. Lows are weighty and punchy, while highs don’t sound too excitable.
Play some HD video and the Toshiba is watchable, but can’t match the advantage in pixels shared by Asus and Apple. Edges aren’t as sharply defined, and the general look is softer and lacking in punch.
Blacks don’t appear as deep, and shadow detail isn’t as pronounced as it could be. It’s similar with standard-def content as, though the softly drawn lines don’t allow for too much judder, there’s a lack of depth to the image.
Toshiba AT300: Verdict
Video grumbles aside, if you don’t have the budget to stretch to the likes of the Apple iPad or Asus Transformer, then the Toshiba marries price with capacity to passable effect. A decent entry-level machine.