A 13 inch tablet? For real? Apparently so, with Toshiba surprising everyone and testing the waters with an oversized Android tablet measuring 13.3 inches diagonally and browsing the web with the biggest touchscreen we’ve rested on our laps.
Borrowing a design that’s becoming quite familiar for Toshiba, the AT330 stuffs modern technology in an aluminium body that also houses a screen looked like it has been taken straight from an Ultrabook.
The main part of the tablet is obviously a screen, and here Toshiba has provided a positively huge 13.3 inch screen supporting 1600×900 resolution, also known as 900p, making it one of the larger tablet screens out there, not just in physical size, but also in resolution.
Toshiba’s choice of technology inside the tablet doesn’t move too far from what we’ve seen in other tablets this year, with Nvidia’s Tegra 3 quad-core processor used, alongside 1GB RAM, 16GB built-in storage, and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
An SD card slot has also been provided, allowing you to upgrade the memory, or move images straight to the tablet from a digital camera.
Camera functionality is pretty standard here, with a 5 megapixel rear camera with LED flash, while a 2 megapixel camera sits on the front, offering HD video conferencing or two megapixel self-portraits.
Wireless functionality is also pretty standard, with WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS and Bluetooth 3.0, while wired is covered with both microUSB and microHDMI ports.
Because Android is fairly button-less these days – especially on the tablet incarnations of Google’s operating system – you’ll find few physical buttons here, with a power button on the left side, and just around the corner a rotation switch sitting pretty next to a volume rocker.
Interestingly, the charge port for the AT330 isn’t like the ones we’ve seen on prior Toshiba tablets, with the elongated proprietary port ignored here, replaced instead with a smaller circular port closer to what Toshiba’s laptops use.
Up to this point, tablets that weren’t based on laptops have had a maximum size between 10 and 11 inches. That was pretty much a given, and while Apple has helped cement 9.7 inches as one of the best sizes to work with, Android manufacturers have mostly settled on the 10.1 inch widescreen size.
With a 13 inch tablet, Toshiba is clawing at something different altogether.
More table than tablet, the AT330 borrows from its smaller brothers not only in design, but also in build and operation, blending the look and feel of Toshiba’s current line-up with a panel you’d expect to find on a premium notebook computer.
In the hands, the tablet feels just as well built as the AT270, the 7 inch model we tested and reviewed earlier this year. Toshiba’s use of aluminium is a welcome one here, and while the tablet is physically big, it’s not very thick, barely a few millimetres more than the height of a 3.5mm headset jack.
Even though it’s not terribly thick, the AT330 isn’t easy to hold. The size is fairly cumbersome, as you can imagine, and a 13.3 inch screen is practically impossible to hold in one hand comfortably.
Two hands doesn’t make it much better, as a portrait hold is unbalanced and a landscape position almost makes you feel like you’re holding a terribly oversized video game system.
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