Toshiba Thrive: Tablet dark horse?

Toshiba's Thrive is bulky, but has some perks such as a full USB port, removable battery and SD slot that may allow it to trump other Android tablets.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Another day. Another Android tablet to consider. The latest one comes from Toshiba and its Thrive. The Thrive is bulky, but has some perks that folks have been wanting---notably a USB port, removable battery and full-sized SD slot. But aggressive pricing of the Thrive can allow Toshiba to wipe the floor with higher priced Android tablets.

This Thrive-as-dark horse-theory arrived as Jason Perlow was charging his test device. He'll have a full review later, but Perlow's initial reaction was that the Thrive trumped Acer's Iconia pretty much immediately. The other eye opener for the Thrive---Walt Mossberg didn't hate it. CNET also gave the Thrive a solid review all things considered.

Now the Thrive isn't perfect by any stretch, but will appeal to laptop lovers who want to mix and match tablet features. The biggest reason the Thrive is a contender is price. The base Thrive is $429, but only has 8GB of memory. The 16GB Thrive will run you $480. Now it's unlikely that $20 will sway someone to the Thrive over the iPad, but give Toshiba props for at least realizing which way the price winds are blowing. As prices come down, Toshiba may be able to wipe the Best Buy floor with other Android tablets---especially when the Thrive falls below $400.

Overall, the Thrive isn't the greatest tablet. It weighs 1.6 pounds, but has solid hardware. But if you want to swap files with a PC, swap in an extra battery and enjoy a full-sized USB and SD card port the Thrive will get your attention.

Simply put, the Thrive is enough to whack Acer, Motorola and Acer on the Android front. It may also trump the RIM PlayBook and HP TouchPad once you tally up the plusses and minuses. Toshiba may not trump Samsung's Galaxy Tab, but the Thrive has just enough features for the price to be dangerous.

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