Toshiba Folio 100 tablet review: first look

2 Sep 2010

After traipsing around the semi-completed halls of Berlin's IFA show, it seems like every manufacturer under the sun has decided to release a tablet. Toshiba is no exception, but its Folio 100 tablet has decided to tread a slightly different path to its rivals. The 10.1in form factor and Android 2.2 OS come as no surprise, but Intel and Qualcomm don't get a look in - instead Nvidia's Tegra 2 takes centre stage.

Any qualms as to whether Nvidia's Tegra 2 is up to the job are soon dispelled - the Folio 100 eagerly zipped through the familiar Android menus, and the whole experience felt suitably slick and refined. The full-sized HDMI socket on the device's edge gives a clear indication of the Tegra's mighty graphics crunching power: this is one tablet that'll relish the challenge of HD video playback. And, with Flash 10.1 on board, YouTube HD footage is only a few clicks away.

While most of the Folio 100s were tethered to a wall, secreted from the clumsy, prying hands of eager journalists, we found Toshiba's conference demo unit sitting quietly in a dimly lit corner. But while we were pleasantly surprised by the fine figure of ViewSonic's ViewPad tablets, Toshiba's effort is a touch disappointing.

The 14mm thick chassis feels lightweight, and even relatively gentle twisting motions left the Folio's plastic body creaking under the stress. It might weigh a very reasonable 760g, but if you're expecting a Toshiba-branded iPad, this just isn't it.

That 10.1in multitouch screen boasts the usual 1,024 x 600 pixel resolution, but image quality is also far from stellar. Tilting the Folio from side to side revealed narrow viewing angles, and the Android home screen looked noticeably less sharp than Viewsonic's efforts.

At least the specification is more promising. The 16GB of internal storage is complemented by a full-sized SD card reader which supports cards up to 32GB. Wireless networking stretches to 802.11n speeds, while Bluetooth and 3G comes as standard. A 1.3 megapixel webcam rounds off the proceedings.

We're not overly keen on the plasticky-feeling chassis, but with Toshiba suggesting the Folio 100 is going to retail for around 399 Euros, we're willing to cut it some slack. The Folio 100 might yet be the Flash-enabled iPad killer some people have been waiting for.

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