Toshiba AC100 review: FIrst look

It was only unveiled yesterday, but we take a quick first look at the Toshiba AC100 to see what it brings to the table.

With a 10in screen you don't need the multiple home screens Android supports to fit in shortcuts and widgets, so Toshiba rather cleverly uses it for five customisable screens that you can link to specific Wi-Fi networks. That way you can get one interface for home and another for work.

But there are other rough edges Toshiba's extras can't help with. When you write an email, you expect Tab to take you from the address field to the subject to the main message. However, on the AC100, it just adds a tab space to whatever field you're in.

You can't search email with the standard client either. If you want to work with files you have to switch to the front screen, open the menu and find the File Explorer and the email client only lets you attach photos, not other files. Often this isn't a problem but if you're looking for the rich featureset of Windows and Windows apps, you won't find it on Android quite yet.

Verdict

The AC100 looks good, weighs little and outlasts Windows netbooks and notebooks. This is a supremely portable machine. But Android isn’t a mature operating system for a notebook and although Toshiba’s interface makes it far more usable than any other Android netbook we’ve seen yet, you’re not getting the same power and choice as with Windows. Making 3G an optional extra may also be limiting for a device that only comes into its own when you're online. If any Android netbook is going to succeed, it will be the AC100 but there’s still a question of whether Android is ready for the netbook form factor or whether Windows 7 will hold its own the way Windows XP did against the original Linux netbooks.

• NVIDIA Tegra 250 Mobile Processor (1GH, ARM) • AndroidTM2.1 • RAM: 512 MB DDR2 (333 MHz) • up to 32GB SSD • 25.7cm (10.1'') TruBrite display with LED backlight, 1,024 x 600 pixels • Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR*, WLAN (802.11 b/g/n), Mobile Broadband* • 1 x USB 2.0, 1x Mini USB, Card Reader (SD, MMC), Audio out/Mic in combo socket, HDMI • 1.3 Megapixel webcam with integrated microphone • Location based switchable desktop • Toshiba Home Menu desktop with widgets and shortcuts • Size: 262.1mm x 189.8mm x 14 / 21mm • weight: starting at 870g

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