Tegra 3-powered Toshiba Excite 10 – Analysis
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Today we talk about an important tablet in Toshiba’s lineup as it is the first model to ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The Excite 10 comes after the model 10 LE which is still being advertized as the “thinnest and lightest” tablet out there. The new model features wide, rounded corners which are quite smooth while the textured metal backside makes the tablet easy and comfortable to hold in the hand.
However, we have to warn you though that the tablet is a bit bendy while the edge casing will feels like it can be stripped off (but you shouldn’t try this). It weighs 1.28 pounds as opposed to the LE which tips the scales at 1.12 pounds. The Excite 10 measures 10.3 x 7.1 x 0.8 inches (width x height x depth), while the LE has the following dimensions: 10.1 x 6.9 x 0.30 inches.
If you hold the Toshiba Excite 10 in landscape mode you will notice that on its right side sit a full-size SD card slot, a micro HDMI port, microUSB port and the headphone jack. That card slot will accept cards up to a capacity of 128GB, a feature that you will rarely find on a tablet nowdays. On the left edge Toshiba has installed the volume rocker, rotation lock and the power/sleep button, while on the bottom edge sit two stereo speakers which have been placed far apart at the opposite ends. The dock connector sits between the speakers and uses the company’s oversized proprietary connection standard.
There’s also a front-facing two megapixel camera sitting at the top middle of the bezel, while about an inch away along the top edge you will notice the microphone slit. The back of the Toshiba Excite 10 holds the five megapixel camera that has an LED light sitting on its left.
As we were saying earlier, this is the first Toshiba tablet to ship with Android (version 4.0.3) and has a user interface that looks a lot like what we have seen on other tablets running on Ice Cream Sandwich, but there are some minor changes. One of them would have to be the Enable Balanced Power option which if activated it is going to dim the backlight in order to preserve battery life. Also on board is Audio enhancement which will grant you access to SRS surround settings such as clarity enhancements, volume boost and other similar options. The tablet also benefits from the Ambient Noise Equalizer for adjusting the volume of the Excite 10 based on the level of noise in the area. Toshiba also throws in its proprietary file manager app which we’ll let you handle your files easier on the built-in memory or on the SD card.
Under the hood of the Toshiba Excite 10 are an impressive Tegra 3 quad core processor and 1GB of RAM. The tablet is sold in three different storage options: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. Some of the goodies that we should mention include Bluetooth 3.0, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, GPS, digital compass, accelerometer and a gyroscope.
It has been equipped with an IPS panel that runs at a native resolution of 1,280 x 800 pixels, which is a regular resolution for a tablet that comes with a 10-inch screen. The level of color saturation is accurate, and just about the same as what you can see on the Transformer TF300 from Asus, with both screens having great viewing angles. However, the bad news is that the backlight bleeding is an issue especially when you are viewing black screens, and you’ll notice this problem mostly on the left and right edges of the display.
The screen sensitivity is quite good when navigating through menus and screens but it is not as impressive as the one on the TF300. We like the fact that the applications are launched with virtually no sort of delay, thanks to the Tegra 3 chip which can provide a fast and rich user experience.
Regarding the download speeds, these are just about the same as what we’ve seen on similar tablets, without any noticeable clipping while scrolling through websites. You might want to know that the images are blurred while you are scrolling and these will be fully loaded after the scrolling stops. This is something that you will notice on any tablet that runs on Android Ice Cream Sandwich.
We’ve mentioned earlier that the Toshiba Excite 10 sports a two megapixel front-facing camera and a five megapixel rear-facing camera. The latter is able to record 1080p (full HD) clips but the videos are washed out and do not have the same level of clarity as other cameras we’ve seen installed on tablets, like the one that the TF300 or the iPad have. The still photos look better but since there’s no autofocus available, some of the pictures taken with the camera can be on the blurry side. As for the front-facing camera, this takes decent photos with a fair amount of detail, but it’s mostly recommended just for video chat use.
Thanks to the Tegra 3 chip that powers this tablet, both 720p and 1080p movies from outside sources will work smooth so there aren’t any multimedia playback issues to be concerned of. As far as the battery, over the course of just a few hours it will drain out quite fast but this is what you get from most of the other 10-inch tablets which run on Android and have a Tegra 3 chip powering the whole system.
The entry-level 16GB version of the Toshiba Excite 10 will set you back $450 which is the same price tag as the Acer Iconia Tab A510 (32GB model) has, and it is $70 more expensive than the 16GB version of the Asus Transformer Pad TF300 so the Excite 10 has to face some serious competition from other Tegra 3-powered tablets, especially since prices are going down in this segment of 10-inch tablets. This still remains a good choice if you are in need of a lot of storage since you’re able to install a 128GB SD card. In addition, the tablet provides a solid amount of performance and it looks quite nice, at least that’s what we think.