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Toshiba AC100 review: Toshiba AC100

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The Good Thin, light, excellent build quality and looks great.

The Bad ...then you try to use it.

The Bottom Line The Toshiba AC100 is an impractical curio that no one should spend their money on.

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1.0 Overall

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Toshiba's AC100, like its Libretto, indicates two things have changed within Toshiba recently. One, it's now willing to take risks. This is a good thing. Two, there's no quality assurance to ensure these risks never leave the boardroom. This is a bad thing.

The AC100 looks great, with its slim profile, incredibly light feel, 10.1-inch, 1024x600 screen, textured black exterior and orange trimmings. It's almost race-car-esque in its aesthetic.

Then you notice the "Nvidia Tegra" badge. This isn't bad in itself, but it means since Windows doesn't run on Tegra, we'll be seeing a mobile OS crowbarred into a laptop form. Crossing our fingers for some strange but beautiful custom OS built specifically for the device at hand, we instead got Android. Android 2.1, at that.

Android is a smartphone platform built for touch. It's quite good in that arena and is only getting better. What makes it good for phones, however, makes it abominable for laptops, especially those without touchscreens like the AC100. Things we've come to expect as standard on laptops simply aren't accounted for and Toshiba hasn't put in anywhere near the amount of effort required to make it work.

Switching between desktops using the mouse is a pain. The laptop will not mount USB drives formatted with NTFS, and other USB devices are limited to mice and keyboards. The right click button doesn't work as expected, instead acting as Android's menu button. Even keyboard shortcuts don't go that far to easing the pain — those that aren't limited to Froyo only, at any rate.

Using the device purely for web browsing is out of the question too. The inclusion of Opera Mobile helps things a little, but the lack of right click ability is criminal. You can't tab between fields, and you can't select text by holding down the shift button and using the arrow keys. At least swiping your finger down the right hand side of the touchpad scrolls in most applications, but this isn't marked on the pad in any way.

Toshiba has gone some way to ease the pain by including its own media player, file manager, Evernote (the basic version of Documents To Go) and an eBook reader, as well as a bunch of widgets, but you can't access the Android Market to try and address any other shortcomings — the only option is to stick in a FAT formatted USB key and manually install APKs. You may not even have luck here — while we were able to install Angry Birds on the AC100, it would only play the sound, not display any of the visuals.

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