Toshiba AT200 £399
28th Mar 2012 | 16:03
Can the world's thinnest tablet pack a heavyweight punch?
The Toshiba AT200 (originally known as the Toshiba Excite) flaunts itself as the world's thinnest tablet, and it's the follow up to the Toshiba AT100, which scored 3/5 in our review back in August of last year.
We first saw the AT200 all the way back in September at IFA 2011 in Germany and it has taken a long 6 months for it to reach the UK.
In the UK the Toshiba AT200 is exclusively available now at Carphone Warehouse. It comes in two models; 16GB and 32GB which are priced at £399 (about $630) and £449 (about $710) respectively.
As the world's thinnest tablet, prepared to be impressed – the AT200 is a mere 7.7mm in depth. Compare that with the 8.6mm Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 9.4mm new iPad and you've got yourself one seriously slim piece of tech.
And the fun doesn't stop there; the AT200 is also lightweight, tipping the scales at 535g – over 100g lighter than the new iPad, 60g lighter than the Tablet S and 30g lighter than the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
The brushed metal back and sides gives the AT200 a sturdy and professional feel, without feeling cumbersome in the hand, thanks to its 256 x 176 x 7.7 mm dimensions.
Honeycomb is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM which keeps everything ticking over nicely.
On the front you get a 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 TFT display and a 2MP camera above it, perfect for video calls.
Round the back there's a 5MP camera which is capable of capturing full HD (1080p) video and we were also pleased to find a single LED flash included as well.
Connectivity wise the AT200 offers a surprising array of options for a tablet with micro SD, USB and HDMI ports along with a 3.5mm headphone jack down the left hand side.
Inside there is Wi-Fi b/g/n, GPS and Bluetooth 2.1, but the AT200 does not offer a SIM port for a 3G connection.
On the base of the AT200 is a 30 pin connector used for charging and on the right is the power/lock key, volume rocker switch and a multi-function slider.
Toshiba has not wasted much time tweaking the operating system, which means the AT200 runs a standard version of the impressive Android Honeycomb software.
Saying that, the AT200 is no slouch, and we were able to sweep through home screens and applications without the lag we experienced during our hands on Toshiba AT200 review.
The 10.1-inch touchscreen responded quite well to most gestures; however we found the AT200 frequently failed to register our lighter touches, especially the options in the bottom left corner – which annoyed pretty quickly.
You'll find the navigational tools in a bar in the bottom left corner comprising of back, home and multi-tasking options. In the right hand corner you have the time and notification display.
A quick slide up over the bottom right corner of the screen brings up the familiar Android notification menu, which will provide you with various details such as Wi-Fi connections, recent emails and app alerts.
The AT200 provides five home screens to arrange various widgets and applications on, but you can't add additional screens if you're a big widget fan - although we felt there was more than enough space to be getting on with.
Hold down on a free space on any home screen and the edit menu appears, providing you with an overview of all your home screens at the top and then various tabs which allow you to add widgets, apps, wallpapers and shortcuts with a simple drag and drop interface.
Toshiba has stuck with the stock Android widgets on the AT200 such as; clock, calendar, email, contacts and so on, but if you head over to Google Play you'll be able to get more such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare - although having to do this does take a little of the wow factor away when they're all pre-installed.
Hit the multi-tasking option in the bottom left of the screen and a pop up will appear showing a list of open apps. You can easily navigate up and down this menu and select an app. You're able to open this menu from within an application – allowing you to switch between apps with ease.
A feature Android Honeycomb lacks, and which the Ice Cream Sandwich update will bring, is the ability to close running apps from the multi-tasking menu by horizontally swiping across an app in the list.
To close running apps you need to navigate to Settings > Applications > Manage Applications which is time consuming, but something the Ice Cream Sandwich update will address.
The Toshiba AT200 is a lean, mean machine clocking in at a wafer thin 7.7mm, making it the slimmest slate on the market. Complementing its slim form, the AT200 only weighs 535g.
The size and weight of the AT200 makes it ultra-portable, clocking in at over 100g lighter than the new iPad and also lighter than other Android competitors the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Sony Tablet S.
The lightweight design means the Toshiba AT200 is very easy on the arms when holding for extended periods of time, but the completely flat back is not the most comfortable. We prefer the curved back of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, or folded design of the Tablet S, as they fit naturally into the hand.
If you opt for the Toshiba AT200 you'll be suitably pleased with the number of connectivity options provided on the tablet. On the left hand side you are greeted with micro SD, HDMI and USB ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
On the inside the AT200 provides Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but there is no 3G or 4G connectivity options, as it is only available with Wi-Fi.
The final port on the AT200 is a 30 pin charger slot, found on the bottom edge. The charger which comes in the box has a cable with a 30 pin connection at one end and a standard USB connection at the other, meaning you can charge it via a computer or wall plug adapter.
You only get the charging cable (with charger plug adapter) in the box, so you will need to fork out for your own micro USB and HDMI cables, microSD card and earphones - so there's no way to get media on the tablet out of the box unless you faff around with wireless syncing, which many will be unwilling to do.
There are physical buttons on the right hand side of the Toshiba AT200, comprising of a power/lock key, volume rocker and a multi-function slider – which can be programmed in the settings to either lock screen rotations or toggle mute.
We found the power/lock key unresponsive at times, with a firm press required to register the action, but the volume rocker was far easier to hit.
The model we received had 32GB of internal storage, but the Toshiba AT200 is also available in a 16GB version for £50 (about $80) less.
The 10.1-inch screen provides a 1280 x 800 display which delivers a decent image, be it when surfing the web or watching a movie.
The display is not as bright as the likes of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, nor is it as crisp as the retina screen found on the new iPad.
While the AT200 is easy to view indoors and outside on a dull day, we found bright sunlight hampers the display, making it very difficult to see what is on screen.
You'll find stereo speakers on the bottom of the AT200 which deliver suitable volume levels to allow you to watch movies and listen to songs, but don't expect amazing quality and tones. You're better off plugging in headphones if you want to do some serious music listening or movie watching.
Media and Internet
Toshiba has included its own market called Toshiba Places on the AT200, which offers you a range of music, videos, apps, games and books to download.
The same market place is available on Toshiba's internet connected TVs, so some of you may already be familiar with it.
Annoyingly, once you've registered with Toshiba Places you then have to download separate applications for Toshiba's own app (App Center), game (using WildTangent) and ebook (Toshiba ebooks) stores - adding unnecessary bloatware to the AT200.
The dedicated markets are stripped down versions of Google Play and we found them to be pretty useless, opting for the Play Store over them everytime.
Within Toshiba Places you can download music tracks (using 7 digital) and movies (using viewster) - however neither offered a great range of content, with the movie option a real disappointment. And remember - Google Play does movies, and it offers a much better range.
Toshiba has handily included its Media Player app on the AT200 which gives you easy access to all the music, videos, photos and podcasts stored on the tablet.
The Media Player app allows you to connect to other network devices, be that a phone, computer or games console, allowing you to easily transfer content wirelessly between the two.
Unfortunately you can't download music or movies from within the Media Player app, having instead to go to Google Play or Toshiba Places to feed your content hunger.
The 10.1-inch TFT screen lacks the brightness and pop of its super AMOLED rival on the likes of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, but the AT200 still provided us with a good movie watching experience.
The sound via the built in speakers is adequate – with the volume loud enough for a few of your nearest and dearest to huddle round the screen with you, although we found the quality to be better when using headphones.
The video player is part of the Media Player app and provides the basic play/pause, skip and scrub options. If you prefer a dedicated video app head over to Google Play, where you'll have a choice of both free and paid video player apps, such as Play Movies or mVideoPlayer.
The AT200 sports a micro HDMI port, allowing you to hook the tablet up to an HD TV or monitor. Unfortunately though, Toshiba has not been kind enough to supply an HDMI cable in the box, which is a little fustrating.
The Toshiba AT200 also has the Android Music app, if you don't want the fuss of the full Media Player offering. The app is easy to use and displays your music in clear thumbnails – ordered by artists, albums, songs, playlists or genres.
It offers a simple, no-thrills player which will be enough for most users, but if you're someone who likes to fiddle with an equaliser then you're out of luck.
If you're once of those people who loves to sing along to their favourite beats then Toshiba has got you covered, as it's included the TuneWiki app on the AT200.
TuneWiki matches your songs to the correct lyrics, allowing you to hold your own sing-a-long session. You can also share your lyrical experiences with the TuneWiki social network from inside the app too - exciting stuff.
The AT200 uses the stock Android Honeycomb web browser, which provides tabbed browsing, thumbnail bookmarks and an easy-to-use interface.
Toshiba has also pre-loaded Adobe Flash Player onto the AT200, meaning you can jump straight onto the web to watch all those crazy videos you love so much.
As the Toshiba AT200 is Wi-Fi only you won't be able to surf the web while you're on the move, leaving you confined to Wi-Fi hotspots.
The AT200 was able to quickly pick up and connect to Wi-Fi networks, however this speed wasn't always translated in the browser experience.
Web browsing on the AT200 is a generally fluid experience, with no lag while scrolling a page or zooming in. Text re-flow was in action as we zoomed our viewing, allowing for a better reading layout.
We found that content heavy websites took some time to load, with the AT200 struggling to serve up multiple images, banner ads and moving components - a whole 15 seconds to load the famous TechRadar.com!
We weren't left waiting all day and all the content worked once it had loaded, but the wait time was noticeable enough to become annoying.
Tablets are not the first bit of kit you'd pick up when it comes to taking pictures, but at least the Toshiba AT200's small and lightweight design means it's not the most cumbersome when snapping photos.
Toshiba has stuck a 5MP camera on the back of the AT200 along with a single LED flash to help in low light situations.
The AT200 takes decent snaps and while they may not be the most vivid or colourful, it more than pulls its weight when it comes to occasional snapping.
There's also a 2MP front facing camera for video calling and those vital vanity checks - which easily outstrips the iPad's terrible VGA option.
The camera app on the AT200 is the standard Honeycomb affair, with a simple and easy to use layout. Auto focus is present, but there is no tap to focus.
You're able to toggle the flash, white balance, colour effects and scenes easily from shortcuts on the right and there's a further settings menu which offers options such as exposure and picture size and quality.
The Toshiba AT200 also packs a 7x digital zoom, which is easy to use with the large plus and minus icons in the top right corner. As expected, picture quality is drastically reduced when zoomed in, with images appearing very pixelated.
We found that shutter speed was very slow at times, with the auto focus slowing down the picture taking process. Sometimes there would be a one to two second delay between pressing the shutter and the picture being taken.
Outside: The AT200 is able to produce decent images in good light, although colours could be brighter
Macro: Close up images are well defined, if not a little washed out
Inside: the AT200 copes reasonably well in the dim lighting of the London Underground
Sepia: One of the few effects available in the AT200's camera app
Negative: the London Underground map looks funky when using the negative effect
Aqua: feeling blue? Then this is the camera effect for you
3x zoom: picture quality drops when less than half the zoom is used
7x zoom: when fully zoomed in the image quality suffers greatly and photos appear very pixelated
Flash: picture quality when using the flash in low light situations is disappointing
The Toshiba AT200 allows you to record full HD video via the 5MP camera on the back.
Video recording is accessed through the camera app – there is a simple toggle on the right of the screen to switch between camera and video modes.
The zoom function found in camera mode is sadly disabled for video recording; however the LED backlight can be used if you need to film in dark places.
You need to turn the LED light on before pressing record though, as it cannot be toggled on or off while filming.
There are a few settings which can be tweaked including video quality (low, high – 720p or Full HD – 1080p) and colour effects (sepia, negative and aqua).
In our test the Toshiba AT200 produces decent quality video and was able to cope reasonably well with moving objects. Take a look at our HD video sample below.
Maps and apps
The Toshiba AT200, like all other Android devices, comes with the excellent Google Maps app.
The built in GPS capability of the AT200 means you can easily locate yourself on the map, work out route directions and even receive turn by turn navigation, thanks to Google's free navigation software.
Not that you'd use a tablet as an in-car sat nav, as it would take up most of the windscreen. Also remember the AT200 is Wi-Fi only, which hampers any route planning abilities when you're on the move.
When connected to Wi-Fi, the AT200 was able to pinpoint our location within a couple of seconds and kept the position locked without trouble.
It was relatively quick to navigate round the maps with the dual-core processor rendering the images in good time.
Google Play (formerly the Android Market) is still the place to go for all your application needs when using the Toshiba AT200.
The trouble with Google Play is you have to sift through a lot of apps designed for smaller mobile devices, which means they appear stretched on the AT200's 10.1-inch display.
Toshiba also offers its own, reduced-size markets – Toshiba Places, App Center, WildTangent and Toshiba ebooks – which offer an array of music, videos, apps, games and ebooks - although the choice is greatly reduced compared to Google Play.
A few apps have been pre-loaded onto the AT200 including Calc, Show and Write which are basic spreadsheet, slideshow and word document editors; useful for anyone needing to do some work on the move.
For anyone forgetful out there the Evernote app is also pre-installed on the Toshiba AT200, which allows you to make notes, record audio and capture images of things you need to remember.
The PrinterShare app allows to you to remotely print from the AT200 to a Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or internet enabled printer at the press of a button.
Spashtop HD Free is also included on the AT200, which lets you access files on your computer using your tablet.
The Toshiba AT200 has got the body – its sleek curves, slender build and lightweight shell means that it certainly catches the eye.
As we all know though looks are not everything, what's on the inside counts as well, and we're not sure if the AT200 delivers in this department - especially at £399/£499 (around $635-$800) for the 16GB/32GB versions.
15 best Android tablets in the world
There's no denying it, the Toshiba AT200 certainly looks the part. We're super impressed with its 7.7mm case and the AT200 won't hurt your arms if you hold it during a movie.
We're also impressed with the number of ports Toshiba has provided, as all too often we see tablets lacking in the connectivity department.
The Toshiba AT200 packs a decent camera, for a tablet, and the 1080p video recording is certainly a bonus – along with some of the bundled apps Toshiba has pre-installed for us.
The Toshiba AT200 is still running Android Honeycomb and we're now in the days of Ice Cream Sandwich, which is similar to Honeycomb is many ways, but brings with it a slicker interface and useful additional features such as being able to close apps from the multi-tasking menu.
There's no doubt Ice Cream Sandwich will, when Toshiba finally provides it, give an extra layer of polish to the AT200.
The new iPad has set the bar extremely high when it comes to screen quality and as the AT200 falls into the same price bracket we're disappointed that the screen isn't a bit brighter and more colourful.
It's all very well sticking loads of connectivity ports onto the AT200, but there are no additional cables or headphones in the box, meaning you will have to fork out more money if you want to make use of these.
In a world of mobile computing it's a shame that Toshiba has not included a 3G model, for those of us who like to surf the web on the train to work and stream music in park – especially as the AT200 is so darn portable, it seems like Toshiba has missed an obvious trick.
The Toshiba AT200 is a good, solid and portable device, delivering everything you'd expect from an Android tablet. However that's all it delivers - another Android Tablet in an already crowded market.
We can't help thinking that Toshiba has only done half a job with the AT200. It looks great, we love its thin, lightweight and well connected body – but when you get to using it you're not wowed by anything.
However, if you are going to price a tablet inline with the iPad it needs to offer something special, a unique experience... and we just don't get that with the AT200.