Look and feel
The Toshiba AT300 may not be as slender as its predecessor, the AT200, but its wider girth makes it look more slim. Aside from a bit of flex, the AT300 is a well-built tablet with a smart brushed aluminium rear
Ease of use
Android Ice Cream Sandwich runs like a dream on the AT300, and the responsive touch-screen is a joy for navigating through menus, browsing the web and messing around with apps and games
A five-megapixel camera is there if you need it, while the front-facing two-megapixel lens can be used for Skype chat. The Toshiba AT300 also packs in tons of storage – 32GB gives you plenty of space for movies and apps
Packing a quad-core CPU, we've no complaints over the Toshiba AT300’s performance. We played intense 3D games with no kind of jittering, and you won’t need to upgrade for a long while. Of course, the Nexus 7 by Asus is just as powerful and at half the price...
With six hours of video playback from each charge, the AT300’s battery is average for a 10.1-inch tab
Toshiba’s last tablet, the excitingly-named Toshiba AT200, had the honour of being the world’s thinnest tablet at just 7.7mm. With a rather insane number of tablets emerging every week, this supermodel slimness helped get the AT200 noticed, even if it wasn’t quite as impressive as the epic Asus Transformer Prime or Apple’s new iPad. Now we have the Toshiba AT300, which isn’t as slender but packs a powerful quad-core processor into the slightly chunkier body. But does that performance boost make for a happy tablet?
As soon as we pulled the AT300 from its sizeable box, we got a striking feeling of déjà-vu. The AT300 may be larger than its predecessor (10.1-inch compared to the 7.7-inch AT200), but the two tablets are clearly from the same genetic tree. A black border surrounds the screen, while flipping the tablet over reveals a silver brushed aluminium rear. It’s a smart look, although the rim is clearly plastic and if you prod the backplate or pull on the edges, you’ll notice that the entire tablet flexes. Not to a worrying degree, and thankfully there’s no creaking or other scary noises, but we’d recommend grabbing a padded wallet to keep the AT300 safe during transit.
The AT300 is light enough to hold for extended periods without aching your biceps, and actually appears thinner than the AT200 despite being 1.3mm thicker, thanks to its wider design. Still, if you need a tablet to take on the road a lot, you might prefer a compact seven-incher like the AT200 or the Google Nexus, which fits into bags more easily and is better to handle.
The edges are typically lined with ports, including a docking port on the bottom (charging dock sold separately), SD card slot to expand the 32GB of storage, a Micro USB port to swap files with your PC and a Mini HDMI port to hook the AT300 up to your TV, so you can show off your photo collection when the neighbours come around. A lock switch beside the power button can either stop the screen from changing between landscape and portrait mode when the tablet is rotated or mute the sound, depending on your preference.
Ice Cream Sandwich Android is here in its vanilla form, with no real tinkering from Toshiba. We’re happy with that as Ice Cream Sandwich is a great mobile OS, giving you plenty of space for your shortcuts and a huge selection of widgets (which you can now shrink and expand to fit on your desktops). You get fast access to your recent apps, plus a handy notifications tab that notifies you of emails and other important bits.
The 10.1-inch touch-screen is not only spacious, it’s also perfectly sensitive. Skimming through websites is a smooth experience, but that responsiveness really comes into play when messing around with apps and games. We tested some of the most fast-paced games around, requiring dextrous fingers and all manner of pinching and swiping to succeed, and the AT300 steered us through in one piece.
Games and media
Gamers will also love the powerful quad-core processor that’s packed away inside. This handled everything we threw at it with ease. Even the most complex 3D games loaded quickly and ran with a perfectly smooth frame rate, so hardcore mobile gamers won’t need to upgrade to a newer tablet for a couple of years at least. Of course, the Nexus 7 by Asus also boasts a quad-core processor and costs almost half as much as the AT300, so gamers on a budget may wish to look there instead.
The AT300 doesn’t have the brightest screen around, and in direct sunlight it’s impossible to make out almost anything, even on maximum power. However, keep away from the sun and you’ll find it a pleasing panel, crisp enough for enjoying movies and TV shows on the daily commute. Colours don’t fade when you tilt the display, and the glass is solid enough to withstand pressure without distorting the image.
Toshiba also has a Resolution+ setting, which adds vibrancy to your photos and movies. You’ll notice warmer skin tones in family snaps, while outdoor pictures appear bright and clean, with deep blue skies and dazzling oceans really shining in those glamorous holiday shots. You’ll have plenty of space for all of your apps, games, movies and photos thanks to the generous 32GB of storage, and there’s an SD memory card slot if you want even more room.
If you want to take snaps on your tablet, the AT300 comes with a five-megapixel camera featuring an LED flash. Our shots were a little fuzzy when viewed on a TV or monitor, but they work just fine as simple mementos of a day out. You also get a front-facing two-megapixel camera for Skype chats.
If you’re always on the move then battery life will be an important issue. The AT300 can play around six hours of video from a full charge, an average result for a 10.1-inch tablet, so you’re best off taking the charger if you plan on using the tab all day.
Toshiba’s AT300 arrives at a time when the tablet market is heaving, but its quad-core processor and responsive 10.1-inch touch-screen make it a good option for gamers and app fans. The screen isn’t as bright or bold as competitors such as the Apple iPad, but the Resolution+ feature is a nice touch and you get tons of storage space for your media and apps.