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.
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.
Toshiba Folio 100 Specification
OS: Android 2.2
Processor: Nvidia Tegra 2
Display: Multi-touch display 10.1″ widescreen WSVGA (1024x600pixel)
Audio: 2 stereo speakers and microphone 0.5 W
Storage: 16GB internal memory
Networking: 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G
Ports: HDMI, USB 2.0 standard, USB 2.0 mini audio jack
Card reader: SD (up to 32GB) MMC
Battery: 1020mAh, 3.7V, 22600mWh. Up to 7 hours of life with mixed use (web browsing and video playback)
Internet: Opera Mobile Browser with Flash 1.10
Productivity suite of office applications, PDF reader, ebook reader and RSS aggregator
Multimedia: 1.3 MP Webcam
Dimensions: 281 x 181 x 14mm
Accessories: IR transmitter and housing
Price : £365