The Toshiba Thrive 7 Inch tablet is a miniature buddy to the Toshiba Thrive 10" tablet released earlier this year. It has the same rugged look and rubbery ridged back, but some of the 10 inch model's geek chic amenities are missing, like the full size USB host port for USB peripherals and the (rare on mobile OS tablets) removable battery.
The Thrive 7 runs on the same 1GHz dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU as other first run Android Honeycomb tablets from big manufacturers, and it has a gig of RAM and 16 or 32 gigs of storage. This is a WiFi-only tablet, so there are no contracts (good thing) and no 3G/4G (maybe not a good thing depending on your needs). These days plenty of smartphones act as WiFi mobile hotspots, so you can use your phone (with appropriate data plan) to get this tablet a connection when away from home, work or Starbucks.
The tablet runs Android OS 3.2 Honeycomb with little customization. Toshiba adds a host of card games, Kaspersky anti-virus and a few other apps. It's strongest selling point, beyond its endearingly rubbery and rugged build, is the higher than usual 1280 x 800 display resolution. The T-Mobile Springboard is one of the very few other 7" tablets that sport this resolution more commonly found in 10" tablets rather than 1024 x 600. The display is very sharp and fairly bright. Text is razor clear without jaggies and photos look great. Viewing angles are good but not IPS-wide. Still, two friendly folks won't have trouble watching a video together side by side.
The Toshiba Thrive 7 is available now. It sells for $379 for the 16 gig and $429 for the 32 gig. The Thrive 10 was a charmer because it was priced low relative to other tablets, but the 7" isn't particularly cheap. Stylish folks and performance lovers might choose the lower resolution but otherwise lovely Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus with its wickedly fast Exynos dual core CPU and $399 price tag.
Compared to the bargain priced Kindle Fire and the also affordable Nook Tablet , the Toshiba brings a full tablet experience to the tablet. You can install any app your want from the Android Market, and it has not just WiFi 802.11b/g/n but Bluetooth and a GPS along with dual cameras that the LCD eReaders lack.