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Photos: Toshiba AC100

Toshiba's 10.1in. AC100 looks like a netbook, but runs Google's Android 2.1 rather than Windows or Linux. It's stylish and well priced, but the number of available applications could be an issue.
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1 of 5 Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

Toshiba's AC100 looks at first glance like a very nicely designed 10.1in. netbook. Its general specifications are also distinctly netbook-like, but other aspects — notably its Android 2.1 operating system (without Flash support) — are more often found on smartphones or tablets.

The AC100 comes in two versions. Our review sample, the AC100-10Z, costs £211.91 (ex. VAT). A second model, the AC100-10U, costs £280 (ex. VAT) and adds mobile broadband support (HSPA, 7.2Mbps down, 2Mbps up).

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2 of 5 Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

The AC100 offers distinctive looks and extreme portability. It measures 262mm wide by 189.8mm deep by 14-21mm thick and weighs just 870g, so it won't fill up or weigh down your travel bag. The black and orange colour scheme is different without being too garish.

Although the general look-and-feel is 'classy netbook', there are fewer ports and connectors than you'd expect to find on a regular netbook. There's a combined microphone/headphone port, an HDMI port and two USB ports — one of them a mini-USB port. A 1.3-megapixel webcam sits above the screen and there's an SD card slot for storage expansion (SDHC cards up to 32GB are supported).

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3 of 5 Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

The CPU inside the AC100, Nvidia's 1GHz Tegra 250 Mobile Web Processor, is designed for tablets, e-book readers and similar kit. Incorporating a dual-core ARM A9 CPU and an Nvidia GPU, the Tegra 250 supports 1080p video, making it good for HD web streaming. The system also has 512MB of RAM, an 8GB solid-state drive, Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n) and Bluetooth (2.1+EDR).

The 10.1in. screen has a native resolution of 1,024 by 600 pixels, so it can display documents of reasonable length as well as the mobile email, SMS, Twitter, Facebook and other shorter text-based communications that an Android device normally handles. The screen has an extremely reflective finish, so you'll want to avoid using it with a bright light source behind you.

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4 of 5 Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

Because the AC100 runs Android, the keyboard has been tweaked slightly. For example, there is a dedicated Home button that takes you to the Android home screen. Media playback controls sit on a row of small function keys above the number row. Here, you'll also find volume and brightness controls, plus shortcuts to the Android settings screen, web browser, email client, and (oddly) a screen capture tool. There's a touchpad, sadly without multitouch support, that drives a cursor — the screen is not touch sensitive.

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5 of 5 Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

There are five home screens that will accept Android widgets, and Toshiba has tweaked the Android 2.1 interface a little. For example, you can range shortcuts on a horizontally scrolling panel along the bottom of the screen, or call up a full screen of Android shortcuts as you would normally do on a smartphone.

There's no sign of the Android Market on the AC100. Instead, you get Camangi Market, which is populated with (far fewer) apps that are suitable for devices with larger screens than your average smartphone.

Toshiba has provided some additional apps, including Documents to Go, the Opera web browser, Evernote, FBreader (for e-books) and Toshiba Media Player for movie and music playback.

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