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January 23, 2012

Review Gadget : Toshiba Thrive 7 review

As 2011 draws to a close, it's fun to look back and think about how we began the year testing the first Honeycomb tablet, and are now ending it elbow-deep in me-too slates, many of them cut down to smaller sizes. So it should surprise no one, then, that Toshiba released the Thrive 7", a mini (and aptly named) version of the original Thrive, which went on sale last summer.

But in Toshiba's case, shrinking a tablet and calling it a day is a dicey proposition. After all, the 10-inch Thrive had some baggage -- namely, middling battery life, a chunky, toy-like design and a bug that initially kept it from waking after recharging. Indeed, the Thrive 7" looks near-identical, and even packs the same Tegra 2 chip, 16GB of storage and vanilla take on Honeycomb. Still, it brings an LED flash, keeps its big brother's 1280 x 800 display and costs less than the original did when it first came out. So are these improvements enough to make this smaller Thrive stand out? And how does it stack up against all those other 7-inch slates we've been testing lately? Let's find out.

January 06, 2012

Review Gadget : Kyocera Echo review

It's not exactly difficult to put into words what the Kyocera Echo is -- it's a dual-screened Android phone, after all -- but it's a wee bit more challenging to wrap your head around who exactly it's for. The hardcore gaming contingent already has Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play, and those obsessed with screen real estate have options spanning the gamut -- everything from Dell's 5-inch Streak to a veritable cornucopia of choices in the 4- to 4.3-inch range. So, where exactly does this oddball fit in? Quite frankly, we get the impression that it's doing its darnedest to carve out a market of its own, a thought that's reinforced by Kyocera's dedicated app development space and two-faced Simul-Task mode. Early critics (read: us) railed on the fact that double the screens meant double the trouble in terms of battery life, and there's no question that a second cell was included with our test unit. But are the advantages of having a second 3.5-inch WVGA touchpanel enough to overshadow the obvious pitfalls? Join us as we do a little soul-searching in our full review, hosted up just past the break.

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