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Toshiba Excite 10 SE review: Not really exciting at all

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MSRP: $349.99

The Good Comfortable feel, and a solid set of basic features for an Android tablet.

The Bad Lacks any higher-end feature sets, has a reduced set of features compared with the Excite 10, and has a cheap plastic feel. It also feels priced too high for what it is.

The Bottom Line The Toshiba Excite 10 SE looks like, and is, a generic budget-range 10-inch Android tablet...nothing more, nothing less.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.5 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7

Review Sections

Buying a tablet, when you realize that tablet already feels dated before it ever leaves the box, is a tough proposition. Toshiba's history in Android tablets started at the high end with the Excite 10 LE, continued into a respectable middle end with the Toshiba Excite 10, and has taken another cost-cutting step with the Toshiba Excite 10 SE. Unfortunately, the trimmed features and build quality don't seem to be translating into much savings for you, the customer.

The Excite 10 SE (or, as Toshiba also calls it, the AT305SE) has a plastic body, replacing the aluminum one of the Excite 10. It has a Tegra 3 processor, just like its predecessor...but we reviewed that Excite in the middle of last year. The other internal specs are largely the same, but features have been removed: it has lower-resolution cameras, no HDMI port, and a microSD card slot instead of SD.

At about $349, it's more expensive than the Asus MeMo Pad Smart 10, an otherwise similarly powered Tegra 3 tablet. The MeMo Pad 10 has HDMI, too. Also, incidentally, this tablet is only currently upgradable to Android 4.1.1, not to the most recent version of Android, version 4.2, aka Jelly Bean.

Sarah Tew/CNET

With Google I/O just around the corner, and newer processors on the horizon, this 10-inch tablet just doesn't feel like the wisest Android investment. It's old news, and has too many cut corners. It works...just not as well as the competition.

Sarah Tew/CNET

At 1.4 pounds, the Excite 10 SE feels right around the same weight as the Asus MeMo Pad Smart 10, or the 9.7-inch Retina Display iPad. The Toshiba Excite 10 LE was a slim, sexy metal tablet. The Excite 10 after that was thicker, but still metal. The 10 SE is another step down the budget ladder: it's clad completely in plastic. A rosy-silver "Fusion"-finish plastic covers the edges and dot-textured back instead of aluminum, and there's glossy plastic on the front instead of Gorilla Glass. It gives the tablet a much more budget-laptop feel.

Sarah Tew/CNET

I did, however, like the smaller footprint of the Excite 10 SE, at least as compared with the thinner, longer Asus MeMo Pad Smart 10. It's thicker (0.4 inch), but feels like it'll slip a bit more easily into a small bag. The slightly reduced bezels make more sense.

Sarah Tew/CNET

It's hard to wax too poetic about the Excite 10 SE's design. It's functional, but it's decidedly less sexy than previous, closer-to-high-end Toshiba tablet offerings.

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.

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