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Toshiba Folio 100 review

Verdict

An affordable Android 2.2 tablet with some unique charms, but it’s let down by a series of niggling flaws

Review Date: 12 Nov 2010

Reviewed By: Tim Danton

Price when reviewed: £281 (£330 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
3 stars out of 6

Features & Design
2 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

Ease of Use
4 stars out of 6

You can say what you like about Android tablets, but at least they’re all different. To date, we’ve seen the dual-booting ViewSonic ViewPad 10 and the diminutive Samsung Galaxy Tab; now comes the cheapest multitouch tablet to grace our Labs, the Toshiba Folio 100.

At first glance, it seems a very average entrant into the race to become a leading Android tablet. We accused the Galaxy Tab of being plasticky, but this is far worse. Pick up the Folio and it feels flimsy and cheap. You may even find the rear isn’t firmly attached to the chassis properly (of which more later). The most heinous crime of all, however, is it doesn’t currently ship with Adobe Flash. So should it be cast aside as an also-ran?

Not quite yet. More so than any other company, Toshiba has put a lot of investment into the Android operating system to make it easier to use on a tablet. The latest 2.2 version is in place, and there’s a file manager to give you access to the 16GB NAND flash drive’s contents, to any SD (or SDHC) card you slip in or the contents of an attached USB drive. You can also connect the Folio to your PC via the mini-USB port and it will appear as external storage.

Little touches abound: an onscreen shortcut to switch off Bluetooth and the 802.11n WLAN radio without delving into the settings; a desktop manager that lets you specify which home screen displays by default, depending on the wireless network you’re connected to (you could have one for home and one for the office, for example); SingleClick Connect, which allows you to set up a remote desktop connection with PCs on your network; and, perhaps most useful of all, Toshiba also includes a Service Station that rounds up all the Folio software updates.

Toshiba Folio 100

There’s room for some entertainment in Toshiba’s corporate heart, too, with its Media Player providing an easy way to listen to stored music, watch videos, view photos and - theoretically - access media from DLNA servers. It’s even possible to use the Folio to stream videos directly to your HDTV via the HDMI port. All this is possible thanks to the Nvidia Tegra 250 processor with its powerful integrated graphics.

However, this magnificent theory came to a grinding halt when we attempted to put the Media Player into use with a test DLNA server - and it consistently fell over. Until this bug gets fixed, this aspect of the app is essentially unusable.

Bundled apps

Along with the usual Android email and contacts programs, Toshiba includes a selection of handy apps with the Folio: Fring for video, VoIP calls and IM chat; Documents To Go Basic (which lets you edit, but not create, Word, Excel and PowerPoint docs); and Opera Mobile. Aside from this, there isn’t much to get excited about, and you should also note the Folio’s lack of support for the Android Market.

Instead you have to use the Toshiba Market Place. This is split into music (in partnership with 7digital), radio and apps. We can’t see the music area taking off – it’s easier to buy music on a PC and transfer it across – but the radio area has some merit, allowing you to listen to stations such as XFM and Classic FM, although there are no BBC stations.

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User comments

now comes the cheapest of them all

Archos 70 and 101? Both the 7" and 10" Archos tablets are cheaper than the Folio.

Perhaps if they were renamed the Apple 70 and 101 you might deign to notice them?

By Lacrobat on 13 Nov 2010

Fragmentation

After worries over the many concurrent Android versions we are faced with proliferation of (poor) app markets. I chose an Android phone (HTC Desire) because I felt most at home with the open ethos of Android. However, hardware manufacturers attempts at building their own walled gardens within the wider Android ecosystem only diminishes the platform. I guess this is a drawback with a totally open system.

The burden of the open source supporter (with apologies to Voltaire): I disapprove of your pitiful marketplace, but I will defend to the death your build it.

I just hope the death isn't that of Android.

By leonidfurr on 13 Nov 2010

Fragmentation

+right

By leonidfurr on 13 Nov 2010

@Lacrobat

We've been trying to review these since they were announced; you'd do better to ask Archos why they don't want them to be reviewed.

By TimDanton on 13 Nov 2010

Will you be reviewing the Advent Vega anytime soon?

By Shuflie on 14 Nov 2010

Advent Vega

@Shuflie As soon as one becomes available, yes. We've put the request in, so watch this space over the next couple of weeks...

By TimDanton on 14 Nov 2010

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