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CNET First Look
The Toshiba Excite Write is overpriced and under-featuredToshiba's Stylus-based Tegra 4 tablet costs $600, but comes up short on good reasons to actually pay that much for it.
Samsung pioneer mainstream Stylus-based Android tablets with its Note line and now Toshiba enters the game with the $600 Excite Write. The Write is a 10.1-inch tablet with a 2560 by 1600 resolution screen. Ports include a microSD card slot, micro HDMI and micro USB. However, the micro USB port can't be used for charging. There's only one 32-gigabyte storage configuration. The 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera is as grainy as they get but the 8-megapixel back camera actually takes sharp pics, video, handles colors pretty well and has an LED flash. The Write is essentially the Excite Pro with a Wacom digitizer. That means according to Toshiba, that the screen could detect up to 1,024 levels of pressure from the pen. However, when using Toshiba's included TruNote app, you'd never notice. TruNote is a very basic note taking and picture annotating app that lets you organize your files and virtual folders. Those files can include simple notes, doodles and whatever else you can think of to draw a Write. You can choose from a couple of different styles of pens, a pencil or marker. Color, thickness and transparency levels can be adjusted manually but line thickness doesn't respond to different levels of pressure no matter how hard or lightly you press. That's not the case, however, if using Photoshop Touch, which clearly response to different pressure levels. If else site the TruNote app, you can take a screenshot and then crop and annotate the screen to your heart's content. That's pretty much it though. TruNote is surprisingly barebones but none of the bells and whistles of Samsung's S Note app. The pen is accurate and writing with it felt more fluent and faster than on the Galaxy Note 10.1 but about match the Note 8 in smoothness. One feature Samsung Stylus is missing however is this handy eraser button on the bottom. It's a useful and convenient extra even if its detection isn't one-to-one. The biggest difference, however, between the Note and Write is OS integration. The Note line includes Stylus functionality like cutting out a slice of the screen, any screen at any time. Also, the Note's write to text conversation puts Samsung's tablets in a class on their own. The Excite Write doesn't come near that level of integration and the overall experience feels more limited for it. The Excite Write is a good tablet but for $600 comes up way short in the while department. The Stylus features can't match the competition and ultimately, it isn't worth the unreasonable price Toshiba is asking. For more information, check out my full review at cnet.com. I'm Eric Franklin and this has been a first look at the Toshiba Excite Write.