Toshiba's new tablet is thinnest yet, but does its price kill it?

Toshiba's new Excite X10 tablet is skinnier than any tablet before it. It also does lots of tablet-y things, but given the announced price, we expected more.

The Excite X10 doesn't exactly fit into a hand, but the svelte nature of the tablet makes it easily maneuverable. Eric Franklin/CNET

LAS VEGAS--Touting a thin product draws lots of attention and not to be outdone by the Transformer Prime in the svelteness department, on Sunday, Toshiba introduced the thinnest tablet yet, its Excite X10.

Compared with the now previous skinny champion, the Transformer Prime, the Excite X10 is a full 0.6mm thinner, measuring 7.7mm, compared with the Prime's 8.3mm profile. At 1.2 pounds, it's also the lightest tablet to date, coming in at 0.4 pound lighter than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

The X10 will come in both 16GB and 32GB varieties, at $530 and $600, respectively. Prices that are especially wince-worthy in a post-Kindle Fire world, but I'll get to that in a second.

Toshiba's Thrive 10 was lauded for its support for full-size ports and its removable battery. The Excite X10 flies in the face of that tablet design philosophy, however, yet it still makes room for some micro connections: Micro-HDMI, Micro-USB 2.0, and a microSD card slot. You'll also find built-in speakers, supporting Toshiba's SRS sound enhancement technology, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and an LED backlight-supported 5-megapixel back camera.

The Excite X10 sports a smooth magnesium alloy backside and a glossy 1,280x800-pixel, 10.1-inch screen, covered in Gorilla Glass. Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi support are of course included. Toshiba chose to go with a Texas Instruments CPU, instead of Nvidia, outfitting the X10 with a dual-core OMAP 4430-1.2GHz CPU.

It's interesting to see Toshiba go in the opposite direction designwise than its previous efforts. The X10 pretty much retains none of the advantages the Thrive had going for it (full-size ports; removable battery); however, its high level of portability and better (and sexier) industrial design, attempt to make up for it.

The Toshiba Excite X10 will be available in "mid first quarter," and while it's obvious Toshiba put a lot of effort into its design, at the announced prices, I couldn't help but be disappointed.

For the same price or less, consumers already have access to the quad-core Transformer Prime, which, even given recent problems , is still a great tablet.

The X10's pricing seems like Toshiba is deliberately shooting itself in the foot here. While you'd have a tough time arguing the quality of the design, with this pricing, the overall value has to be questioned.

We'll determine that for sure, though, once a release unit arrives at our offices in a month or so.

 

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