The good: The Toshiba Thrive's very aggressive pricing gives it an advantage over most other tablets. Its grooved back, full HDMI and USB support, full SD card slot, and replaceable battery justify its very bulky design. Also, its built-in file management system makes finding and accessing files in Honeycomb easier.
The bad: The Thrive's bulky design and hefty weight are not for everyone. Also, awkward back camera placement and a difficult panel removal process make us wish more time had been spent in the design phase. The LED lights on the bezel can be distracting.
The bottom line: The Toshiba Thrive is a bulky but aggressively priced Honeycomb tablet that earns its girth with full port support and a removable battery.
Tablets are generally expected to be "thin and light" small computers with unobtrusive interfaces. Some tablets are thinner and lighter than others, however. While we've praised tablets like the iPad 2 and Galaxy Tab 10.1 for their sleekness and dinged the HP TouchPad for being too bulky, the Thrive poses an interesting question. Is a bulky tablet inherently a bad thing or can a tablet justify its extra mass?
While most other tablets, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, show efforts to emulate Apple's thin, light, and minimalist iPad 2 design, Toshiba hurls the Thrive right into the soft, supple face of the notion that tablets should be designed this way. Sure, at 1.66 pounds the Thrive is relatively light compared with, say, a laptop or even a Netbook, but at that weight, it's as heavy as the heaviest tablet we've seen and its 0.63-inch depth makes it nearly twice as thick as either the Galaxy Tab 10.1 or the iPad 2.
Toshiba's intent with the Thrive was to make a tablet that more closely met the needs of a typical laptop user, and as you can see from the specs above, the Toshiba Thrive is one of the heaviest, widest, and deepest tablets we've yet seen. As Honeycomb tablets go, it's very much the anti-Galaxy Tab 10.1. While the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is all smooth, sleek, sexy, and devoid of ports, the Thrive is anything but, and its measurements only tell half the story.
Overall, the device feels solid and durable, and we found it comfortable to hold, if slightly bulky. Also, the edge where the back panel meets the end of the bezel feels a little sharp and was distracting when our fingers rubbed it.