April 23, 2012
- Thin & lightweight design
- Lacking display quality
- Some application problems
The Toshiba Excite 10 LE comes into a crowded tablet market where everyone wants to take a bite out of the Apple iPad. Toshiba went with making this Android 3.0-powered tablet both lightweight and razor-thin, but the design isn't all that counts. While we liked some aspects of the Excite tablet, it is definitely lacking in several ways.
Toshiba constructed this tablet with a magnesium alloy body, so it feels sturdy and lightweight. In fact at only 1.2-pounds, it's the lightest 10-inch tablet that we've seen to date. It fits comfortably into your hands, although the edges at the bottom are squared off instead of rounded like other tablets, including the third-generation Apple iPad. Holding the Excite 10 LE in one hand for reading worked well, so no complaints there. The back of the tablet has a brushed-metal finish, which actually looks really sharp.
Along the left side of the tablet, you'll find a headphone jack, microUSB, micro-HDMI and a microSD memory card slot. We really like the selection that Toshiba gives you here, especially the ability to export content via HDMI to an HDTV. One thing we didn't like, however, was the proprietary charging cable that plugs into the dock connector at the bottom. Why didn't Toshiba just utilize the microUSB port to do this? The charging cable doesn't allow data transfer (which is reserved for the microUSB port), so that's just another reason to combine charging and transfer through the USB interface.
The Toshiba Excite 10 LE's 10.1-inch LED-backlit display has a resolution of 1280 x 800-pixels. In comparison to the Retina display on the third-generation iPad it doesn't even come close. It is a capacitive touchscreen that allows for up to 10-touch points. We found the display's responsiveness a little lacking at times, especially in terms of smoothness. Also, the image produced by the 10-inch display couldn't compare to the Apple iPad or even tablets from others, like Asus. What it lacked was both color accuracy and vividness. The glass covering the front is made of Corning Gorilla Glass, which is definitely a plus for its scratch-resistance.
This Toshiba tablet is powered by Google Android 3.2.1 (Honeycomb) but is also upgradable to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) when Toshiba decides to make it available. In our use we found performance with the tablet to vary. We experienced some issues with application crashing, particularly with some of Google's own apps. The Web browser crashed a few times while browsing the Web, even while viewing our own site. Other third-party apps downloaded via the Android Market seemed to perform a little better and on-par with most other Android-based tablets.
In terms of specifications, the Excite 10 LE has a TI-OMAP 4450 1.2GHz dual-core mobile CPU, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of flash-memory storage and integrated graphics. There is also a 2.0-megapixel HD front-facing camera and a 5.0-megapixel camera with LED-flash on the back with 1080p video capture supported. Wireless networking includes both Bluetooth 2.1 and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.
Battery life is good at about 8.5-hours of continuous use, which should get most people throughout the day with no problem.