One of Toshibas main attractions, at Digital Life, was their latest models in the Gigabeat line of portable media players, the 2GB U202 and the 4GB T400. Both units were prominently displayed throughout the Toshiba booth, though Im not sure the devices actually warrant that much attention.
I spent most of my time with the T400, though the U202 operated very similarly. To be honest, I have nothing nice to say about either device besides that each device is very responsive. Other than that, I was taken back by how many points Toshiba managed to screw up on. Lets start with the display. At no point in my testing of the device did any of the screens or menus actually use the entire area of the screen. The image that did appear in the middle of the black was also lack luster, at best. Colors were faded and the screen wasnt as bright as most other main stream competitors on the market.
Even more mind boggling was the button layout and overall control scheme. When one picks up an iPod or a Zune, navigating the device is very intuitive. With the Gigabeat, however, the entire time I used it, I fumbled with the buttons hoping one of the darn things would let me accomplish simple tasks such as going up in the menus or even getting back to the menus to start all over. Considering Toshiba supplies the guts for the Microsoft Zune, Im amazed that they didnt carry over any of intuitiveness to the new Gigabeats.
Both the Toshiba T400 and U202 are, at best, forgettable devices. A below average display, horribly unintuitive controls and a body that acts as a magnet for finger prints (T400 only) come together to produce an embarrassing effort from a company youd expect more from. For now, skip over the Toshiba offerings and look elsewhere on the market.