Hands-On With The Toshiba Thrive 7″ Tablet

Toshiba’s entrance into the Android tablet market was a pretty good one — Android 3.1 Honeycomb, a wide array of connectivity ports, and interchangeable batteries. But all those ports coupled with a 10-inch form factor made for quite the hefty slate. Personally, I tend to favor the 7 to 8-inch tablet category, which is why I was so pleased to get a peek at Toshiba’s latest tab: The Thrive 7″.

Unfortunately, some of the best parts of the 10-inch Thrive were scrapped to meet portability goals, like the full-sized SD card slot and that removable back cover. Instead, the Thrive 7″ has a micro SD card slot and a micro HDMI port along with a mini USB. But even with certain stand-out features missing on the 7-incher, it still has a few tricks up its sleeve.

For one, the 7-inch tablet runs Android 3.2 Honeycomb instead of 3.1. A minor upgrade, but an upgrade nonetheless. Past that, the display resolution is pretty brilliant. Most 7-inch tablets on the market today sport a resolution of 1024×768, but the Thrive 7′ kept the same resolution as big brother: 1280×800. Since screen real estate was reduced to from 10 to 7 inches, the pixel density on this thing far surpasses that of the 10-inch model.

Under the hood, the Thrive 7″ has the same Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz processor as the bigger version, and comes in 16GB and 32GB flavors. The original Thrive shipped with an 8GB version as well, but with the removal of a standard SD card slot on the little guy, Toshiba likely ditched the idea of an 8GB 7-incher. Just like in the original, the smaller model also comes with a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. However, that rear camera now has dual-LED flash capabilities.

The Thrive 7″ weighs just under a pound (.88lbs) and is .47-inches thick. The slate also has the same Easy Grip textured rubber back panel as the original model, which doesn’t do so well with prints but does give it a more solid, durable feel.

The Thrive 7″ is a WiFI-only tablet, and won’t be available until early December. Toshiba says it should stay under the $400 mark. Full gallery below.