Toshiba's AT200 is a great-looking Android tablet with an ultra-thin chassis and generally good design features. Android tablets are widely available, though, so the AT200 needs to be special to stand out.
We reviewed the AT200-100 model, which is the more expensive of the two listed at Toshiba's web site, at £449 (ex. VAT). The entry-level AT200-101 is costs £332.50 (ex. VAT).
Toshiba makes much of the AT200's thinness, and rightly so: at 7.7mm it's slimmer than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (8.6mm) and the 'new' iPad (9.4mm), although there's every likelihood that something thinner will appear before long and steal its thunder.
Toshiba has made a feature of the thin chassis by giving it a mostly silver edging with a very narrow black stripe running through its centre. This stripe is barely thick enough to accommodate the sliver-like buttons on its right short edge for power, volume and a 'multi-function switch'.
The 10.1in. AT200 is just 7.7mm thick, making it the thinnest tablet currently available
The stripe isn't large enough to accommodate the docking/power connector that sits in the centre of the bottom edge, so there's a cutout into the silver surround to give it the required space.
The black strip disappears completely on the left edge, which houses a headphone/microphone combo port, a Micro-USB port, a Micro-HDMI port and microSD card slot. Toshiba doesn't provide a Micro-HDMI-to-full size adapter cable, which is disappointing.
The proprietary docking connector is also used for charging, which is an irritation as a 'special' cable can easily be forgotten or lost. We tried connecting a USB AC adapter and got the charge indicator from the battery icon — but if any power was going into the AT200 it was a tiny trickle, as power levels fell rather than rose with USB connected.
The multi-function switch is a little disappointing, too: you can choose what it does, but there are only two options — lock the automatic screen rotation or mute the sound.
As well as being very thin, the AT200 is very light. It weighs just 535g, compared to the 'new' iPad's 652g (with Wi-Fi) or 662g (with Wi-Fi and mobile broadband), and is comfortable to hold for extended periods. The brushed aluminium backplate looks good, but scratches easily, while the rounded edges to the chassis are pleasing.
In contrast to its good aesthetics, the AT200's build quality is a slight disappointment. We could flex the chassis quite easily, which suggests that it might not survive too many knocks and drops. The backplate also feels rather thin and flimsy, and there's a tiny gap where it meets the edges.
The 10.1in. screen has a native resolution of 1,280 by 800 pixels and seems a little less bright and vibrant than some. The 'new' iPad's 2,048-by-1,536-pixel Retina display is certainly far more rewarding to use.
The screen also has a very visible square patterning that's evident when the tablet is turned off. When the screen is on the patterning can't be seen if you're looking at it head on, but when viewed from the side — as you might with the tablet sitting on a desk — the patterning is discernible, distracting and irritating.
Toshiba has chosen Android 3.2 (Honeycomb) for the AT200, which puts it behind the curve given that Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is now available. Toshiba has yet to announce details of an ICS update for the AT200.
There are two versions of the AT200, one with 16GB of internal storage and one with 32GB. The specifications of the two models are otherwise identical.
The processor is a 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP 4430. That's certainly powerful, but it's overshadowed by the 1.3GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 in the similarly priced Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime. The AT200's processor is supported by 1GB RAM.
There are two cameras: 5-megapixel at the back and 2-megapixel at the front. The front-facing camera gives you the option of video calling, but there's no integrated mobile broadband — all mobile data-based activities will need to be handled via Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n) or Bluetooth (2.1+EDR).
Toshiba adds several apps to the basic bundle to enhance the AT200's appeal — although there's nothing here that you can't get for any tablet from Google Play, which is also accessible on the AT200.
Included are ThinkFree Calc (spreadsheet), ThinkFree Show (presentations), ThinkFree Write (document creation), Evernote (note-taking and synchronising), McAfee Mobile Security, a feature-limited version of PrinterShare (for accessing Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and remote printers) and the free version of Splashtop Remote (for accessing a remote desktop). There's also a DLNA-based media player for accessing photos, video and music over Wi-Fi.
Toshiba claims a maximum battery life of eight hours for the AT200. During our tests, the lithium-polymer cell delivered a day of general use with some email, document production, web browsing and media viewing. On more than one occasion we managed to stream several hours of video from a full charge without any problems. Under a more rigorous looping video test, we got 6.25 hours of playback from a fully charged battery.
Toshiba's AT200 impresses with its slimline design and light weight, but better value for money is to be had elsewhere. For example, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime — complete with keyboard, Android 4.0 and quad-core processor — can currently be had for a similar outlay.