Toshiba Regza Tablet AT270 - 7.7-inch of AMOLED Goodness

Launch SRP: S$899

Performance and Conclusion

Performance

Powered by a NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor and 1GB RAM, the  AT270 is in the same class as the ASUS Transformer Pad Prime, Transformer Pad TF300 and Google Nexus 7.

Competition in the 7-inch tablet market is heating up as Apple recently joined the party with its iPad Mini. As such, we pit the Regza Tablet AT270 against the latest crop of 7-inch tablets which include the Apple iPad Mini, Google Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) and Galaxy Tab 7.7 to see how it fares. The following benchmarks are used for raw performance evaluation: -

  • Quadrant evaluates the CPU, memory, I/O and 3D graphics performance. This is an Android OS based test.
     
  • Smartbench 2011 is a multi-core friendly benchmark application that includes both the Productivity and Games indices for a more complete gauge of the overall performance of Android tablets.
     
  • SunSpider Javascript benchmark measures the browsing performance of the tablet. 

How the Tablets Stack up
Device Toshiba Regza Tablet AT270 (3G) Google Nexus 7 Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 Apple iPad Mini
CPU NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core
1.2GHz
NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core 1.2GHz TI OMAP 4430 dual-core
1GHz
Exynos dual-core
1.4GHz
Apple A5 dual-core 1GHz
GPU 12-core GeForce 12-core GeForce PowerVR SGX540 Mali-400MP PowerVR SGX543MP2
RAM 1GB 1GB 1GB 1GB 512MB
OS Android 4.0.3 Android 4.1.1 Google Android 4.0.4 Google Android 4.0.4 Apple iOS 6.0.1

 

Even though both tablets run on the same processor, the Nexus 7 had a an edge over the Regza Tablet AT270 in most of the benchmarks, which may be attributed to the enhancements on the Android 4.1 OS used on the Nexus 7. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, upgraded with the latest firmware and OS update, proved to be a very competent dual-core tablet that held its own against the Toshiba slate. Does the the Regza Tablet AT270 need to be concerned with its standings?

Putting aside synthetic benchmarks aside, we had no complaints or issues using the Toshiba slate. Apps loaded quite fast and switching between tasks was quite a breeze. However, after being spoilt by the buttery smooth performance of Android 4.1 devices we've reviewed so far (Samsung Galaxy S III LTE, Galaxy Note II and Nexus 7), we could not help but feel that there is room for improvement in its speed of operation.

Having said that, we feel that its benchmark scores and actual performance are likely to improve after an update to Android 4.1, although Toshiba Singapore has not confirmed a firm date as to when they will be upgrading the slate to Jelly Bean.

 

Multimedia Performance

Sporting a 7.7-inch AMOLED display, you can expect to see rich and vibrant colors with very deep blacks on the AT270. When tuned to full brightness, the screen may be a little too overbearing on the eyes, hence we recommend setting it to the minimum when you are indoors. As with all AMOLED displays, the AT270 offers wide viewing angles and good contrast, making the multimedia viewing experience an excellent one. 

In terms of storage capacity, the AT270 has 32GB onboard memory. For power users, you will be glad to know that the AT270 is the only tablet we've come across that supports microSD cards up to 128GB in capacity. This bring the maximum storage capacity of the device to a whopping 160GB!

Audiophiles are also in for a treat as the AT270 is equipped with several audio enhancements such as SRS Premium Voice Pro and other Toshiba sound enhancements such as auto ambient noise equalizer and auto volume adjustment. We tested several of the features and found that they indeed made the audio quality clearer as compared to other tablets in its competitive circle.

The AT270 comes with a 5-megapixel rear autofocus camera with LED flash and a front-facing 2-megapixel camera. How does the AT270 fare in the imaging aspect? Well, we put it to the test in our standard indoor photo test subjects: - 

 

 

Battery Performance

Next, we ran the AT270 on an intensive battery test, which involves a video with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels being looped on the unit. The test is performed under specific parameters, such as:

  • Screen brightness and volume at 100%
     
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
     
  • Constant data streaming through email and Twitter

Test Tablets Compared
Specifications/Device Toshiba Regza Tablet AT270 (3G) Google Nexus 7 Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 Apple iPad Mini
Processor
  • Quad-core 1.2GHz
  • Quad-core 1.2GHz
  • Dual-core 1GHz
  • Dual-core 1.4GHz
  • Dual-core 1GHz
Display Size
  • 7.7-inch
  • 7.0-inch
  • 7.0-inch
  • 7.7-inch
  • 7.9-inch
Display Type
  • AMOLED
  • LED-backlit IPS LCD
  • PLS LCD
  • Super AMOLED Plus
  • LED-backlit IPS LCD
Display Resolution
  • 1,280 x 800 pixels
  • 1,280 x 800 pixels
  • 1,024 x 600 pixels
  • 1,280 x 800 pixels
  • 1,024 x 768 pixels
Dimensions
  • 204.5 x 135.2 x 7.85mm
  • 193.7 x 122.4 x 10.5mm
  • 193.7 x 122.4 x 10.5mm
  • 196.7 x 133 x 7.9mm
  • 200 x 134.7 x 7.2mm
Weight
  • 350g
  • 340g
  •  344g
  • 340g
  • 308g
Battery Capacity
  • 3940mAh
  • 4325mAh
  •  4000mAh
  • 5100mAh
  • 4440mAh

 

The AT270 did a fairly good job by lasting close to 9 hours (likely attributed to its AMOLED screen) considering that it was able to edge out the Apple iPad Mini with a smaller battery capacity. However, it could not match up to the stellar performance of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 simply because the Samsung slate has a higher capacity 5100mAh battery, which actually weighed less than the Toshiba slate. That's quite a feat Samsung has accomplished, but Toshiba likely gave up extra capacity for expandable storage, a micro-USB port and other audio enhancements.

Power consumption wise, it is one of the lowest among the tablets compared, and since both the AT270 and Galaxy Tab 7.7 boast AMOLED displays, the power draw was identical. Taking into account its overall weight, volume and battery mileage, the AT270 didn't fare as well in our Portability Index as it is the heaviest among the comparison tablets. Apple's iPad Mini capitalized on its ultra-thin (7.2mm) build and featherweight (308g) design to narrowly pull ahead in the Portability Index. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 with its extra long battery life, comes up tops again in this comparison as well.

On a side note, if we were to test the AMOLED tablets on a lower brightness setting (considering that they are extremely bright compared to the non AMOLED screens), we reckon that the mileage of both Toshiba and Samsung would have been further extended.

Video playback aside, under normal usage conditions, we were able to squeeze about a day of usage from the AT270 with occasional Web surfing, checking emails, playing games and downloading of apps. Potential buyers of the Toshiba slate should note that the AT270 comes with its own proprietary charging cable. Therefore, if you forget to bring the cable and need to charge the tablet, you are out of luck. This same issue is also present with Samsung's Galaxy Tab 7.7. As such, you'll need to purchase extra charging cables should you need to charge your slate in more than one location.

 

 

Conclusion

Retailing at S$899, the Toshiba Regza Tablet AT270 (3G) is priced a little on the high side. It is encroaching on the 10-inch tablet territory where the Apple iPads and other 10.1-inch tablets reside. For example, a 32GB Apple iPad 4 (Wi-Fi + 4G) will set you back another $70 but in return, you get a Retina display, access to over 250,000 tablet-optimized apps and a sleek user interface. 

While its biggest strength is the potential to increase storage capacity up to 160GB, we feel that the Toshiba Regza Tablet AT270 will only appeal to a niche group of consumers who find the standard 32GB/64GB models too little for their usage patterns. Other plus points include the dedicated micro-USB port for data transfers and audio enhancements incorporated by Toshiba.

Its immediate rival, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 provides superior battery performance in a lighter package. Moreover, the Galaxy Tab 7.7 has already been out in stores for more than six months and its street price is far less at about S$600 (or less). However, it only has 16GB of built-in storage.

For consumers who do not need more than 32GB storage, they can wait for the upcoming 32GB Nexus 7 (Wi-Fi + 3G). Judging from the stellar performance of its 16GB counterpart, we feel that the 32GB Nexus 7 will be equally good as well. However, this is only an option if you don't mind the 7-inch screen size - the difference while it sounds small, is noticeable in actual usage. The 32GB Apple iPad Mini (Wi-Fi + 4G) is another good alternative at S$748 if you have invested heavily in the iOS ecosystem, but it will only be available towards the end of November.

Overall, the Toshiba Regza Tablet AT270 has its merits as a 7.7-inch tablet but its higher price point may be a deal breaker for some consumers.

8.0
Design
8.5
Features
8
User-Friendliness
8.5
Performance
8
Value
7.5
The Good
Excellent AMOLED display
Sleek and light design
Decent performance
Supports 128GB microSD cards
The Bad
Proprietary dock connector for charging
Below average imaging quality
Price could be lower