Toshiba AT300 full review

Toshiba's 10.1in AT300 tablet runs the Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system and hopes to undercut Apple's iPad. There are two models: 16GB and 32GB, with the latter costing just £379, a full £100 cheaper than the equivalent new iPad. See also: Tablet Advisor

 Toshiba AT300: DesignAT300 side

We were impressed with the thinness of the AT200 that we reviewed recently, but the AT300 can't match its sibling's 7.7mm chassis. However, at 8.9mm thick, the AT300 is hardly chubby. It feels solid and well-balanced in the hands, and we like its rounded corners and tapered screen edges. At 593g, it's roughly the same weight as an iPad 2, but is considerably heavier than a 7in tablet such as the Nexus 7.

From the front, it looks like any other generic 10in tablet as there's no Toshiba branding. In fact, apart from the front-facing camera, it's devoid of features.

See also: Group test: what's the best tablet?

Toshiba AT300:Build quality

Around the back is a brushed aluminium panel (which looks as if it's made from plastic) surrounded by a silver textured plastic bezel. As with the AT200, we weren't overly reassured by the chassis' lack of rigidity: it's not nearly as sturdy as the iPad's aluminium casing.

The screen is covered by the same Gorilla Glass used on the iPhone, but again, like the rear panel, it looks and feels like plastic. Given these high-quality materials, it's a shame that the AT300 doesn't look like a premium product.

Toshiba AT300: Hardware

The AT300 isn't exactly the successor to the AT200 - think of it more as a big brother. Power is delivered by an Nvidia Tegra 3 T30SL quad-core processor, running at 1.3GHz. It's paired with 1GB of DDR3 RAM. Naturally, this combination makes for a slick experience when swiping between Android home screens, and also when playing HD video or the latest 3D games, too.

The screen has 1280 x 800 pixels, which puts it on a par with the highest-resolution Android tablets. It's no match for the iPad's retina screen of course, but let's not forget it's considerably cheaper.

Toshiba AT300

The LED backlight is bright, and viewing angles are reasonable enough. Contrast isn't wonderful, though, with lighter shades of a colour merging together and leading to a lack of highlight detail in images.

What many will appreciate about the AT300 is its ports and connections. The right-hand edge has micro-USB and micro-HDMI outputs so you can connect a large-screen TV. Interestingly, there's a full size SDHC card slot supporting cards up to 32GB. This means you can pop in a card directly from your camera and share or edit the photos.

There's also 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS, plus stereo speakers integrated into the bottom edge of the device.

A proprietary dock connector and an inability to charge from a spare USB port on your computer mean the AT300 is as awkward as an iPad in this respect.


Toshiba AT300: Cameras

The front-facing 2Mp camera provides adequate quality for video chats, but you wouldn't want to use it for any serious photography.

At the back is a 5Mp camera with a useful LED flash. Disappointingly, there's considerable shutter lag and the screen isn't really bright enough to use as a viewfinder in sunny conditions.

As the lens isn't what we'd call wide-angle, the AT300 isn't much good for capturing landscapes unless you employ the sweep panorama mode, which produces wonky results unless you have ultra-steady arms.

The quality of both photos and videos from the rear camera is below par. Colours were reasonable, but heavy-handed noise reduction (even in sunny conditions) left a lack of detail which was especially noticeable in textures such as foliage and brickwork. The photo below is shows a portion of an AT300 photo at full resolution.

AT300 rear camera

Next page: performance, software and battery life