In terms of hardware, Toshiba includes an impressive array of ports and capabilities considering its slender profile. On the left edge, you get a Micro-USB port for transferring media and (slowly) charging, along with a headphone output, microSD memory slot, and Micro-HDMI video output.
The tablet's 1,280x800-pixel IPS display supports 10-finger multitouch and is made from durable Corning Gorilla Glass. Up close, you can make out a unique scaly grid of touch sensors coating the glass, but they're only visible when the screen is put to sleep or displaying dark backgrounds.
You get cameras on the front and back: a 5-megapixel rear camera with 720p video recording, and a 2-megapixel camera on the front. Neither of them is particularly great, and several people we handed the tablet to mistook the front camera (circled in chrome) for a home button.
Expected features such as GPS, Bluetooth audio and peripheral support, and integrated speakers are all here. Toshiba spent a little extra to polish up the audio performance with an SRS enhancement setting, but the actual audio experience from the speakers still sounds thin in spite of it.
Overall, display quality is pretty good, though not as bright or as crisp as on the new iPad, and lacking the contrast of a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or Asus Transformer Prime. Screen responsiveness is also in the middle of the pack, showing some scroll lag when browsing Web pages and occasionally requiring a few jabs before registering input near the corners (where Android keeps many of its navigation and menu controls).
|Tested spec||Toshiba Excite||Apple iPad (2012)||Asus Transformer Prime||Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1|
|Maximum brightness IPS mode (Super IPS)||359 cd/m2||455 cd/m2||358 cd/m2 (570 cd/m2)||336 cd/m2|
|Default brightness||249 cd/m2||160 cd/m2||183 cd/m2||336 cd/m2|
|Maximum black level, IPS mode (Super IPS)||0.38 cd/m2||0.49 cd/m2||0.27 cd/m2 (0.45 cd/m2)||0.3 cd/m2|
|Default black level||0.26 cd/m2||0.17 cd/m2||0.15 cd/m2||0.3 cd/m2|
|Default contrast ratio||957:1||941:1||1,220:1||1,120:1|
|Maximum contrast ratio, IPS mode (Super IPS)||944:1||939:1||1,325:1 (1,266:1)||1,120:1|
Toshiba rates the Excite 10 LE's battery life at 8.5 hours. CNET Labs clocked a solid 8 hours of continuous video playback. If you tend to run your screen close to full brightness, expect the battery life to take a hit. With Apple's new iPad out there offering twice the screen resolution while still nailing a 10-hour battery life, the Excite's unexceptional battery rating and average display quality are a hard sell at $530.
|Video battery life (in hours)|
|Toshiba Excite 10LE||8|
It's tough to stand out in the world of Android tablets. With a new slate running the same Android software with more or less the same specs being pitched to consumers every few weeks, only the unique survive. Some manage to get noticed with a . Some for your attention. Some are fast. And some, like the Toshiba Excite 10 LE, will try to entice you with a slender supermodel physique.
Does thin matter? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.