The Excite 10 SE comes with a 1.6GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM, and only 16GB of onboard storage. It has a Micro USB 2.0 port that doubles as the charge connector, and a microSD card slot. The tablet has Bluetooth 3.0 and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity, plus GPS, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, an ambient light sensor, and a digital compass.
The 10.1-inch 1,280x800-pixel-resolution display is serviceable and looks good in regular indoor conditions, but there's some light bleed when tilting the tablet at certain angles. At others, it looks fine. This used to be the standard resolution for 10-inch tablets, but devices like the iPad, , and Kindle Fire HD 8.9 have raised the bar.
Stereo speakers with grilles on the bottom edge of the tablet pump out SRS-enhanced audio, but the volume level is somewhat low and the sound quality is less than impressive.
The Excite 10 SE lacks few small but significant features that the Excite 10 had: gone is the Micro-HDMI port, and the SD card slot has been downgraded to microSD. The front and rear cameras are lower-resolution, too: 1.2 megapixels for the front instead of 2MP, and 3MP for the rear rather than 5MP. Of all those changed features, the downgraded camera quality bugs me the most. The cameras can record 720p video, and the rear camera has autofocus, digital zoom, and LED flash. Camera quality's just so-so.
Performance and software
The Nvidia Tegra 3 processor's been out for a while, and running Android 4.1 it seemed to produce a less than lightning-quick user experience. Navigation wasn't buttery-smooth, and certain apps didn't zip the way they do on premium tablets. The Tegra-optimized game Dead Trigger looked suitably playable, but EA's had noticeably downgraded graphics quality and a sometimes-choppy frame rate, much like it did on the Asus MeMo Pad Smart 10.
Toshiba's included app offerings are minimal: a custom media player, an app store and portal called App Place, and a file manager. The file manager's useful, but the App Place is less so; I'd rather just go straight to Google Play for any apps I needed.
The Excite 10 SE played a video on continuous loop in our CNET battery test for 7 hours and 55 minutes. The Excite 10 lasted a similar amount of time (7.8 hours). That's good, but the Asus MeMo Pad Smart 10 fared even better at over 9 hours, and many Android tablets have cleared 10 hours. The nearly 8 hours the Excite 10 SE gets feels suboptimal.
Conclusion: You can do better
The older Excite 10 started at $450 for 16GB onboard storage, in May 2012. The Excite 10 SE's starting price of $349 doesn't seem like that much of a bargain almost a year later, especially since the older Excite 10 was overpriced for the Android tablet market. If you end up with an Excite 10 SE, it's a serviceable Android tablet: it's just not a great one, and its numerous corner-cut features, including an older processor and lower-res display, don't add up to anything special in 2013. Better bets would be to spend more for a , or less for a Nexus 7; to get a more fully featured bargain tablet like the ; or to wait a month or so and see what tablets are around the corner.