A productive pupil gets good grades, but even the most studious of student needs a subtle distraction to keep them awake during a boring lecture. For our money, no tablet offers a better combination of productive function and time-killing fun than the Toshiba Thrive Honeycomb tablet.
Sure, there are other Honeycomb tablets with similar specs, but the Thrive is especially designed to last the school year. For starters, it’s a little larger and a little more rugged than the slim alternatives, making it well-equipped to handle day-to-day backpack transport, squeezed in amongst the books and pens. And with that added bulk comes utility in the form of full-sized ports and a replaceable battery.
The full-sized ports, especially the USB 2.0 input, are the key features. Android Honeycomb 3.1 supports USB hosting, meaning the Thrive will work with just about any USB-equipped accessory, including keyboards and mice. Couple the Thrive with an inexpensive keyboard (which can be had for less than $10), Quickoffice app (which comes pre-loaded), LogMeIn Ignition remote access (which also comes pre-loaded in a trial version) and a laptop back at the dorm, and you could reasonably pound out an entire term paper on the Honeycomb tablet.
While you could do the same on any Honeycomb device, or even the iPad 2 and a Bluetooth keyboard, it will simply cost less with the Thrive. An 8GB Toshiba Thrive is currently available for $430 online. That’s cheaper than the least expensive Apple iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, (both 16GB and $499). To make up for the difference in capacity, the Thrive has a full-sized SD card slot, and it ships with a file manager, which makes accessing documents and files much easier on the Thrive than on other Honeycomb tablets. While the ASUS Eee Pad Transfomer tablet is less expensive than the Thrive, it does not have any USB inputs unless you want to spend an additional $150 on the keyboard dock.
Now for the fun. The Toshiba Thrive tablets runs all those great Honeycomb games we highlighted just before E3, and many of the tablet timewasters designed to get you through class without attracting too much attention from the teacher. Also, Honeycomb tablets support USB gamepads, including the XBOX 360 and PS3 controllers, proving that the extra console controllers for after-class multiplayer mayhem were a wiser investment than previously thought.
Some Alternative Tablets…
While the Apple iPad 2 will probably be the tablet most likely seen under the arms and in the backpacks of students, two other Android tablets might be more suitable for learning. The HTC Flyer and EVO View 4G both support an active pen for true note taking, and both have the same robust notes app that incorporates scribbles, sound, video and stills with Evernote, which is extremely with popular collaborating professionals. If you’d like something a little more professional, the upcoming Lenovo ThinkPad Honeycomb tablet will also support pen input and feature handwriting recognition when it launches in August.
Tablet Spec Cheat Sheet
Pop quiz: what’s the difference between a tablet running Android Gingerbread 2.3 with Sense UI and Scribe technology and a tablet with Android Honeycomb 3.1 and TouchWiz?
Don’t know the answer? You will after consulting our tablet spec cheat sheet that will help students in the market for a tablet decipher the jargon and help them make a more informed decision.