Hands on: Toshiba JournE Touch review
5th Sep 2009 | 10:59
Small, light and smart – we try Tosh's new 7-inch MID
Tosh's new 7-inch touchscreen internet tablet is one of the few genuinely surprising releases this IFA and Toshiba should be lauded for that.
The JournE runs Windows CE 6.0, which is also genuinely surprising – the murmur of excitement at the press conference was lessened by the tablet's Microsoft dependence. It was clear the audience was hoping Toshiba to reveal the JournE was a Android, Symbian or Linux-based device.
But sticking with Microsoft is a safe choice for Tosh. CE gave the company the ability to rush the tablet out quickly without having to develop too much from scratch – MSN Messenger and Internet Explorer are the key cornerstone apps here.
And as has been shown with Linux netbooks, the familiarity of Windows and Microsoft apps is a preference for the consumer, even if it isn't always for the tech industry.
The JournE will cost around the £250 mark. That's a little more than we'd expect, but it's early days for this kind of device. The tablet's weights and measures are more impressive; 450g in weight and a mere 1.4cm thick. The footprint is 19 by 13 cm and is just the right size for a tablet-style device.
The JournE will instantly boot and is designed for those "let's look up" moments in the living room where you need to quickly refer to something but it isn't worth turning on your PC for it.
As for the unit's useable life, Toshiba says that the battery can last for up to 14 hours of use, though if you're watching video this is slashed to just two.
A pop-up keyboard provides the input, while 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi is built in (no N, notice) for accessing the net.
The JournE can also be used for viewing numerous types of media - supported file formats for images, sound and video includes JPEG, MP3, WMA, MPEG 4, H.264, DivX and WMV. A speaker on the back of the unit provides the sound.
An SD slot is included for expanding on the 1GB of memory or accessing data, while there's also a USB port – all hidden behind a rubberised panel. While rubber is often a good solution for this, it can also easily get dirty and broken, so we'd be interested how long-lasting the flap will be.
On the device we saw, extra apps included an RSS reader as well as YouTube, Flickr and Picassa access. There was also a Weather Channel app, but surprisingly no bespoke email access. The YouTube app is impressive and offers a good-looking and functional front end to the site as you can see.
According to Toshiba, more apps will be developed, which could include a "fridge door" jotting app, VoIP and eReader software.
We were using an early production sample, but we have to note that the tablet wasn't as responsive as we'd have liked in terms of the touch controls. And it was fairly slow in operation - apps took a little while to refresh the screen when launching, but not everything can be instant we guess.
Different colours will be available, but Toshiba says that it's up to retail to decide which ones will be stocked in UK stores.
Charging is provided via a standard cable, though an optional cradle and remote pack will be available. While it wouldn't make sense to include the cradle with the tablet from a cost point of view, it will surely make the tablet more usable as a device.
The cradle adds a further USB port as well as an HDMI out for playing media through a TV.
Toshiba says the JournE will be available in the UK during the coming weeks.