My recent road trip was the first where I left my Dell laptop at home and took my Toshiba Thrive instead.
AdvantagesThe weight difference was amazing. Lighter than my Dell E6400, the Thrive also let me shed the laptop bag and all of the bits and pieces inside. The only accessories that made the trip were a power cord and a couple of stylus. It certainly made TSA screening, storage, and access better on the trip. The Thrive went everywhere with me... the laptop might have stayed in the hotel room on coffee runs and quick errands.
Disadvantages/User ErrorThe biggest problems were due to user error (that would be me). Since the Thrive offers easy access to data on SD cards I keep most of my music on a 2GB card. This keeps my drive space free and lets me manage my music from my home workstation. Multiple SD cards are simple and easy to use.
Of course, if you leave your SD cards at home… (oops).
I do have some music on the internal drive so all was not lost. And, as far as the cloud based Google and Amazon music solutions – they really don’t work without internet connectivity.
The second issue was my failure to carry an HDMI cable. My hotel room had a beautiful LCD TV with a perfectly accessible HDMI port. No cable – no big screen movies. The hotel did supply a standard VGA/VGA cable - but VGA is about the only adapter missing on the Thrive This is one of the few places where the laptop would have worked better.
Android has an irritating behavior when connecting to new Wi-Fi networks. The Thrive would see and connect to new networks, but would not allow data transfers. A simple reboot resolved the issue every single time, but who wants to reboot every time they add a new network? The good news is that it does “remember” networks very well, so the second and third re-connects do not require the reboot.
The Thrive offers the ability to disconnect from Wi-Fi at the same interval as the sleep function for the screen saver (in my case – 2 minutes). I had a "Guest Login" that forced me to re-enter my password with each reconnect. It was one of those system generated, complex passwords like “G91xe47#9G” —which is the equivalent of the expletive I muttered each time I had to retype the password.
Finally, the Firefox browser for Android Gingerbread (3.x) does not allow the viewing of Amazon Prime movies. Ok, the base Android browser does, but why is the Flash plugin for Firefox so lame? And, until Wednesday the 19th, Netflix was not available for Gingerbread. I arrived home to Round Rock to find it in the Android Store… just a couple of days late.
- Carry an HDMI cable (Amazon has a huge selection under $10).
- Make sure to have SD cards (music and/or videos) because Wi-Fi is not quite everywhere. Example: my hotel room charges for internet access were $14.95 a day. I could have skipped that charge entirely with a little more planning. Also, 2-3 hours on a plane is perfect A/V time.
- Make sure to download Kindle books, or other cloud based media that you want to read or access.