Seriously thin, lightweight frame; Solid performance and graphics
Visable gridlines on display; Shorter battery life than competitors; Expensive; Sluggish camera
The 10.1-inch Toshiba Excite 10 LE is the thinnest, slimmest tablet on the market, but that's not enough to justify the high price.
It's official: Toshiba has taken the crown for the world's thinnest, lightest tablet. Weighing a little over a pound, Toshiba's $529 Excite 10 LE manages to fit a dual-core processor, Android 4.0 and a 10.1-inch display into its 0.3-inch-thick chassis. But do the Excite's features and performance match its extravagant price?
Designthe first iPad, and, at 10.1 x 6.9 x 0.3 inches and 1.13 pounds, this slate can claim the title as the thinnest and lightest 10-inch tablet on the market.
The 1.2-pound, 10.35 x 7.11 x 0.32-inch ASUS Transformer Prime is the closest to matching the Excite's dimensions. The Samsung Galaxy Tab, which also weighs 1.2 pounds, is slightly thicker at 9.7 x 6.7 x 0.34 inches. The third-generation Apple iPad (2012) almost seems bulky by comparison with its 1.4-pound, 9.5 x 7.31 x 0.37-inch chassis.
The Excite 10 LE's 10.1-inch display sits inside a thick, glossy black bezel that is interrupted only by a silver chrome ring at the top for the 2-megapixel front-facing camera. On the back, an embedded black plastic strip holds a 5-MP camera with an LED flash, with a chrome Toshiba logo in the bottom left corner.
Display and Audio
At 371 lux, the Excite's display outshone both the Android tablet category average (359) and the ASUS Transformer Prime (348). The iPad was slightly brighter at 386 lux, while the Galaxy Tab 10.1 was a blinding 550 lux.
We easily made out the finer details of Spider-Man's suit during the YouTube trailer of "The Amazing Spider-Man." However, the trailer appeared darker than normal, with Oscorp's creepy electric blue spider lab taking on a more violet tint. We found that colors were richer and details sharper on the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Both displays paled in comparison with the iPad's beautiful 2048 x 1536p Retina Display.
The Excite's bottom-mounted speakers filled a small room at full volume. Despite the SRS and Toshiba Audio Enhancement technology, the guitar on INXS' "I Need You Tonight" sounded hollow and tinny. We had the same results on Randy Crawford's "Street Life," complete with a brassy horn section. When we disabled the enhancements, the percussion was almost nonexistent.
The Toshiba Excite 10 LE comes with the standard Android keyboard. While we appreciate the .com button, it would be nice to access special characters by long-pressing the standard keyboard. Swype, our perennial favorite, is included on the tablet. As usual, tracing out words was slick and intuitive, with easy access to special characters. Google voice typing let us dictate messages with fairly high accuracy.
Software and Interface
An omnipresent black system bar resides along the bottom display with icons for Back, Home and Recent Apps in the left corner. Pressing the digital clock in the right corner will summon the Notifications shade and quick settings including Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi and Auto-rotate. Icons for Google Search and Voice Search can be found in the top left corner, while an icon to access the Apps page sits on the top right.
In terms of productivity apps, there's QuickOffice and LogMeIn, which allowed us to remotely access files from our notebook. We loved being able to quickly connect to our printer via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth using PrinterShare, but were disappointed at the short trial period of five free printouts. We prefer Acer's PrinterShare, which let us print to our heart's content free of charge.
The remaining third-party apps include Adobe Reader, YouTube, Skype, and Kaspersky Tablet Security.
The Toshiba Excite 10 LE forgoes the latest quad-core processor from Nvidia for a 1.2-GHz TI OMAP 4430 dual-core CPU. Nevertheless, we were able to perform some pretty heavy multitasking. We played a few rounds of "Avatar Fortress Fight 2" with four apps running in the background and eight open tabs in the Web browser.
On Benchmark CPU, the Excite 10 LE scored 3,210. That's 492 points above the Android tablet category average and on par with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1's 1-GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 Dual-Core CPU, which notched 3,159. However, the ASUS Transformer Prime's 1.3-GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU delivered a more impressive 4,097.
During An3DBench, which measures graphics performance, the Excite 10 LE notched 7,662. That's enough to best the 7,185 category average and the Galaxy Tab 10.1's score of 7,526, but the Transformer Prime maintained its dominance with a score of 8,050.
Camera and Camcorder
A major point of frustration was the slowness of the camera. We lost approximately 3 seconds of our youth waiting for it to focus, and 2 seconds more before the camera was ready to take another photo.
Despite an overcast sky, 1080p video yielded fairly vivid color. While we could read most of the text on the passing cars, there was a noticeable haze to our footage. We also noticed that the camera took a few seconds to adjust back to street level after panning skyward.
Images from the front-facing 2-megapixel camera were grainy but still delivered relatively vivid color on stills and video.
During the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi), the Excite 10 LE lasted 6 hours and 46 minutes. That's 5 minutes shorter than the 6:51 category average and nearly an hour less than the Transformer Prime (7:47) in Power Saving mode. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 delivered an epic 8:23.
Our $529 review unit came equipped with a 1.2-GHz dual-core mobile processor with integrated graphics, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The 32GB version has identical specs but costs $599.
The Toshiba Excite 10 LE comes with a one-year standard limited warranty. See how Toshiba fared in our Best and Worst Brands 2012.
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|CPU||1.2GHz TI OMAP 4430 dual-core processor|
|Storage Drive Size||16GB|
|Storage Drive Type||micro SD Card|
|Display Resolution||1280 x 800|
|Front-Facing Camera Resolution||2.0MP|
|Card Reader Size|
|Warranty / Support||1 Year Standard Limited Warranty|
|Size||10.1 x 6.9 x 0.3 inches|