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.