Not two months after its release of the "thinnest and lightest" tablet, the Toshiba 10 LE, Toshiba is back with a new 10-inch tablet: the Toshiba Excite 10.
It's not thinner or lighter than the LE, but the Excite 10 does bring Android 4.0, a Tegra 3 CPU, and an 128GB expandable storage option to the table. That may be enough to outclass the LE, but what about tablets that offer more than just a thin profile?
As the second 10-inch tablet released by Toshiba in the last two months, it feels only natural to compare it with the Excite 10 LE. The LE is both thinner and lighter than the 10, but the 10 feels like more care was put into the tablet's actual construction as it has none of the exposed edges the LE produced. In addition, the Excite 10's smooth, wide, rounded corners and textured metal backside make it comfortable to hold in my hands.
The tablet is quite bendy though. Not a deal breaker, but also not something I appreciate in a tablet. Also, the edge casing feels like it could be stripped off if I pulled hard enough. Granted, I'd need to pull really hard for that to happen. To be clear, these are more nitpicks that I noticed than serious design flaws.
|Toshiba Excite 10||Toshiba Excite 10 LE||Asus Transformer Pad TF300||Acer Iconia Tab A510|
|Weight in pounds||1.28||1.12||1.4||1.48|
|Width in inches (landscape)||10.3||10.1||10.4||10.3|
|Height in inches||7.1||6.9||7.1||6.9|
|Depth in inches||0.35||0.30||0.38||0.46|
|Side bezel width in inches (landscape)||0.8||0.75||0.9||0.8|
When holding the tablet in landscape, along the right side edge sit the headphone jack, Micro-HDMI, Micro-USB, and a full-size SD card slot. The slot supports SD cards up to 128GB capacity, which matches the storage capacity of the Toshiba Thrive and trumps the 32GB capacity most microSD tablet slots support. Theoretically, with the 64GB version of the Excite 10, 192GB of storage is possible. Granted, that could cost you about $800, but still, if the need of storing multiple seasons of "24" ever arose, this is one avenue to consider.
On the tablet's left edge are the power/sleep button, a rotation lock, and a volume rocker. Along the bottom edge are two speakers, located at the far, opposite ends. In the middle is a dock connector that uses Toshiba's oversize proprietary connection standard that connects with an appropriately oversize cable. At the far end is a downstream USB connection. The cable is longer and fatter than most and feels unwieldy and cumbersome as a result. Hopefully Toshiba implements something more streamlined in its next round of tablet designs. Beyond the design problems, despite an attempt on four different PCs, I couldn't get the tablet to show up as a drive after plugging it into either computer's USB ports.
At the top middle of the bezel you'll find a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and along the top edge, about an inch away, is a small microphone slit. On the back of the tablet at the top right is a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash light directly to its left.
The Excite 10 is the first Toshiba tablet to ship with Android 4.0.3 installed. The UI is identical to what we've seen on other Android 4.0 tablets for the most part, with a few small changes. Chief among them is the Enable Balanced Power setting that appears to dim the backlight, regardless of the current brightness setting, ostensibly to save battery life.
The other is Audio enhancement, which allows access to SRS sound settings like volume boost, clarity enhancements, and others. The audio enhancement feature clearly improved the sound quality of all audio when turned on, enhancing the previously muffled sound to something with more clarity. At the highest volume we still heard some static interference, however. In addition, Toshiba says its Ambient Noise Equalizer adjusts the tablet's volume based on the amount of noise in the area. We tested this by playing sound from other tablets right next to it, but didn't notice a change in the volume of the music the Excite 10 was playing.
There's also Toshiba's own file manager application, which makes it easier to find and organize files stored in the tablet's internal flash or expanded memory.