With the release of the Kindle Fire this week, I thought I would see what the competition was like. If I'm going to spend $200 on a tablet, what about spending a little more, to get something more geek-friendly?
I know that as of Android 3.1, there is now support for Android devices to act as a USB host, for connecting to devices or hacking on the Arduino. In my search, I came across the Toshiba Thrive, which has full-sized USB ports, and more. Then I started to write this post, and I realized Toshiba is getting ready to release a 7-inch version that is less geek-friendly, so I decided to include that in my comparison to have a more head-to-head feel with the Amazon tablet.
|Kindle Fire||Toshiba Thrive 10.1||Toshiba Thrive 7"|
|$199||$350 (or so)||$380 (or so)|
|7" IPS screen||10.1" Toshiba Adaptive Display||7" AutoBrite Display|
|1024x600 resolution||1280x800 resolution|
|169ppi||149 ppi||215 ppi|
|Dual-core 1.2GHz||Dual-core 1.0GHz|
|512MB RAM||1GB RAM|
|8GB||8GB, 16GB, 32GB||16GB, 32GB|
|Small and light||Big and Bulky||Thin and light|
|8hr battery life||8hr battery life, replaceable battery||??? not replacable|
|Custom Android Interface||Stock Android 3.1|
|Amazon AppStore||Any Android App Store|
|Amazon Silk Browser||Any Android Browser|
|micro-USB (out) and 3.5mm headphone||Full-size USB (host), mini USB (in/out?), 3.5mm headphone, Full-size HDMI||mini USB, 3.5mm headphone, microHDMI|
|no expansion slot, free cloud drive||Full-size SD card up to 128GB||microSD card|
|no camera||5mp rear and 2mp front cameras||5mp rear and 2mp front cameras with LED Flash|
|Wi-Fi G and N, no 3G|
In short, the Thrive is a geek's tablet, and I'm a geek. ...and no iPad for me, so don't even mention it.
For someone else, I would take a look at the Kindle, mostly because of the price. If you want to connect to a television, or have more storage, then I would take a good look at the Toshiba. If it's a gift for a non-techie family member, then I think there is no doubt which one to get, unless you are worried about Amazon selling out of the Fire.
My search today began by looking at the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, since their keyboard dock adds a full-sized SD slot and two full-sized USB ports, but the price turned me off. One plus there is the long battery life after you add the dock, but that was not a big enough selling point (considering the replaceable Toshiba Thrive Battery). You can also grab a Tablet Keyboard to fill in the gap, and the USB issue can be solved by the Toshiba Thrive Multi-Dock to add an HDMI port and two more full-sized USB ports. Pretty nice.