We were pretty pleased with the first Android Tablet we saw, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, so we were excited to see what Toshiba could do with the open source operating system.
Then, before we'd even started our review Dixons pulled the tablet from its shelves, due to a high number of returns.
Our initial plan was to wait until we could find out what Toshiba's response was and if any updates would be released to fix the problems, but then Pixmania (owned by Dixons) started to advertise the Folio 100 for sale. With it available again, we decided that we should publish our findings.
Scanning down the list of specifications, it's easy to get excited about the Folio 100. It has a 10.1in widescreen display with a 1,024x600 resolution, an Nvidia Tegra 2 (dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor and 1080p video decoding), Android 2.2 and a much more realistic price that the Galaxy Tab.
That's the good stuff, but as soon as you pick the Folio 100 up, you realise why it costs less than the Tab. If feels cheap, being made out of the kind of plastic you'd find on a budget laptop. From the rear, it even looks as though it's simply a notebook screen. It also doesn't feel particularly well made. It part this is because the back is removable, so that you can replace the battery. You'll have to remove the cover if you buy a Folio with 3G, in order to fit the SIM card. However, the panel doesn't fit too well, so it creeks as you hold it. If you slide the incredibly stiff locking clip into place, it's slightly better, but build quality is nowhere near the level of the Galaxy Tab or iPad.
The 10.1in screen should be the highlight of this device and on a first glance it appears to have a lot of promise. Looking straight on, it's bright and produces vibrant colours. However, tilt the tablet even slightly and the screen quickly loses colour and definition. Viewing angles are particularly bad in landscape mode. We'd expect any tablet to have all-round good viewing angles, as they're used in a variety of different positions.
All the standard Android buttons are present (Menu, Home, Back and Search) on the right-hand side of the screen, when in landscape mode. Unfortunately, these touch-sensitive buttons are anything but and it can take several stabs of a finger to get them to operate. This is particularly annoying if you're trying to hold down the Home button to bring up the task switcher.
Toshiba hasn't loaded the Folio 100 with many applications. There's Fring, which is also Skype compatible, for video, voice and IM. Documents To Go lets you edit Office documents, but not create them; there's also an eBook reader and a Media Player. The latter has a DLNA client, which is supposed to let you stream video, photos and music from a compatible server, but it crashed when we tried it.
It's at this point that things start to get really annoying, as the Folio 100 can't be connected to the Android Market. While it's technically possible to download applications from other sources and install them manually, this makes it both difficult to do and hard to keep track of updates. Instead, you get the Toshiba Market, which has a tiny range of apps for download and none from 'big names', such as Skype, Sky+ or ESPN Goals.Prev Next
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