Toshiba Thrive Review: The Swiss Army Knife Of Tablets

Display Quality: Colour Gamut

Toshiba doesn't tell us what type of panel it's using on the Thrive, but the company commonly describes it as IPS-like. As a result, most publications say that the Thrive uses an IPS display.

In our opinion, this tablet's viewing angles are decent, but not as good as competing models like Asus' Eee Pad Transformer or Apple's iPad 2 (tablets that we know for certain employ IPS technology). This makes IPS an unlikely option.

Pulling out our Celestron lab microscope confirms our suspicions. Based on the subpixel structure, the Thrive uses a VA panel, which explains how this tablet achieves deep blacks.

Toshiba Thrive: LCD Color Gamut (VA Panel)

Even though mobile operating systems don't honour ICC colour profiles, native colour management does occur at the hardware level. When a GPU sends 10 different hues of blue to an LCD only capable of displaying three, the subpixels display the closest matching colour. So, in a way, smartphones and tablets behave as if they’re using relative colorimetric rendering. For more information, read Tom's Hardware Benchmarks Inkjet Printer Paper!

Most tablets still deliver less colour quality than the cheap TN panels we see on the desktop, which is why the Thrive doesn't surprise in this test. Overall colour gamut is extremely close to the A500. The Galaxy Tab 10.1's Super PLS panel still sets the standard when it comes to display quality. There isn't a tablet we've seen able to match it.

These gamut measurements are accompanied by a couple of caveats. First, we're disabling dynamic brightness because it doesn’t allow us to get an accurate (or reproducible) measurement of the display’s potential. Second, brightness is set to the highest value. If you don't use the same settings, your colour gamut is going to look smaller than what we're showing here.

The Thrive's VA display is a little cool at 7900 K, but it's nothing out of the ordinary. White backgrounds have a very faint bluish tint, but the relatively low gamma helps masks the problem with other colours.

Understand that gamma doesn't affect black or white performance, but it does affect midtones. If gamma is set too high, the midtones appear dark. If it's set too low, they're pale. Adobe, Apple, and Microsoft all recommend a gamma of 2.2. It's an arbitrary value carried over from the NTSC standard, but it was originally chosen because it allows colours to appear more natural in slightly dim environments. 

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  • bobharvey
    So, it expects FAT on external devices. Does that mean licence fees to Microsoft?

    So, it is running Android. Does that mean licence fees to Microsoft?
  • mi1ez
    " more likely to have your tablet at the ready than your camera."

    are you? I don't know anyone who always has their tablet with them!
  • LePhuronn
    The Transformer's keyboard dock fils in the two missing features. But granted it stops being a tablet at that point.