Toshiba is stepping up its tablet game just in time for the back-to-school shopping season. The company is revamping its entire line of Excite tablets, giving them improved specs and a new elegant design. The new range includes the entry-level Toshiba Excite Pure, the mid-range Excite Pro and the top-of-the-line Excite Write with pen input.
A direct competitor to Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1, the $599 Excite Write features a 10.1-inch 2,560 x 1,600 Pure Pixel display. The Note 10.1 is stuck at 1280 x 800 pixels. Adding to the Excite Write's impressive features is Nvidia's latest Tegra 4 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and a pair of Harmon Kardon speakers. The Write also includes an 8-megapixel back camera and 1.2-megapixel shooter up front.
The Excite Write's most significant feature is its TruPen stylus and built-in Wacom digitizer, which features with 1,204 pressure sensitive points to help ensure the slate accurately reads your input. The Write's stylus also features a removable tip that increases resistance to make the writing experience feel more realistic.
The Write comes loaded with Toshiba's TruNote app. The software is capable of recognizing and exporting shapes, as well as cursive handwriting. A search function lets you write and search for words written in cursive, even if it was written by a different person.
The Excite Write's TruCapture app allows users to capture a photo of a presentation board at an angle and automatically flatten and sharpen the image. Unfortunately, this function wasn't working during our hands-on.
While the Excite Write's TruNote app looks impressive, Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 lets you do more with its S Pen software (such as Air View and Quick Command). Plus, the Write doesn't offer an integrated pen slot; you'll need a lanyard attachment. The toughest thing to swallow is the Excite Write's $599 price, compared with $499 for the Note 10.1, but we'll see how this slate holds up in testing.
If you're looking for the same level of performance as the Excite Write but could do without pen input, check out the $499 Excite Pro. Like the Excite Write, the Android Jelly Bean-powered Excite Pro features a 10.1-inch 2,560 x 1,600 Pure Pixel display, quad-coreNvidia Tegra 4 processor, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage.
Similarly, the Pro includes a pair of Harmon Kardon speakers and DTS Premium Voice Pro software. The Excite Pro also gets the same 1.2-megapixel camera up front and 8-megapixel shooter in back.
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The $299 Excite Pure is designed for those on a budget. This 10.1-inch slate 1280 x 800 display, quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage space. Camera options are limited to a single 2-MP front shooter.
Overall, it looks like Toshiba has done a nice job in ramping up its tablet offerings, but we'll save our final judgments until they hit the market beginning June 25th.