Check out our complete review of the Toshiba Excite 7.7 tablet.
Toshiba has taken the lid off three upcoming tablets today: the Excite 7.7, Excite 10, and Excite 13. All three are essentially identical on the inside and outside, with their only real differences coming from size. I got a chance to check them out last week and walked away fairly impressed. Though Toshiba isn’t going to knock the iPad out of the ring anytime soon, representatives seemed genuinely excited about the PC maker’s progress in the tablet market so far and where things may head from here.
All three of these tablets include the following:
- Gorilla Glass display
- Aluminum shell
- Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
- Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor (very nice)
- 1GB RAM
- 16-64GB internal storage
- 5MP rear camera, 2MP front camera
- Stereo speakers
- Micro HDMI, Micro USB, and full-size SD card slot (7.7 has a microSD)
- Wi-Fi connectivity (no LTE or 3G)
Below are some brief impressions of each unit. The only thing we’re not crazy about are the prices.
Smaller tablets are in these days, but manufacturers are still struggling to find a size that all consumers love. Like the Motorola Droid Xyboard 8.2 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 LTE, Toshiba has decided to try a slightly larger screen than the 7-inch models that dominated the market last year. And that’s a good thing. I never been a huge fan of the 7-inch size as it usually makes sacrifices on resolution and is just a bit too small. 7.7 inches is just large enough to get the job done and feel like a fully usable tablet.
Like Samsung, Toshiba has packed a full 1280×800 pixel AMOLED screen into this Excite, which looked awesome. I really can’t wait for AMOLED to spread to larger screen sizes. It has much richer colors and it’s almost exciting the first time you see how black the black is. It sounds silly, but it’s noticeable. In the hands, the tablet felt a comfortable size. At only about 8mm thick and 13.4oz, it felt lightweight and pleasant to hold.
The Excite 7.7 will be released June 10, starting at $500 for the 16GB model ($579 for 32GB).
The Excite 10 is Toshiba’s third 10-inch tablet, and it’s another step forward. Though the original Toshiba Thrive (review) was a bit bulky and ugly, this new model packs in more functionality into far less space. Hardcore geeks will be a bit dismayed that you cannot access the battery or plug in a full-size USB, but the full-size SD slot is quite nice and there are enough Micro ports to plug in most anything you need. Overall, I’m not the biggest fan of the 10-inch tablet size in Android tablets, as the widescreen makes it awkward to hold, but if you like the form factor, this will be a solid choice. It weighs about 1.32lbs, which is quite comparable to some of the leanest tablets on the market (most of them by Samsung). Toshiba claims it can get 10 hours of battery life and 7 days of standby.
The Excite 10 will be released on May 6 for $450 (16GB), $530 (32GB), or $650 (64GB).
I always imagined tablets would get bigger, but I didn’t think Toshiba would be the company to lead the way. The Excite 13 is a huge tablet that almost feels like half a laptop. It’s 13.3-inch screen even boasts a higher 1600×900 resolution and thanks to its size, it also boasts four speakers and can get up to 13 hours of battery life as well, and 7 days of standby. Toshiba reps described this model as possibly being used on the couch.
It’s definitely slightly too heavy (2.2lbs) to hold with one arm or carry around for hours, but as tablet for sitting, its size comes in handy. It will come with a stand to help you prop it up, but even without a stand, I found it a much more natural size to hold in my lap and use. It also could be good for multiplayer board games and things of that nature. It’s difficult to say if this size will take off, but if anyone is going to buy a 13-inch tablet, but I look forward to reviewing this tablet in the months ahead. Who knows, maybe 13 will be a lucky size.
The Excite 13 will be available on June 10 for $650 (32GB) or $750 (64GB).
A good lineup
It’s quite refreshing to see how positive and excited Toshiba is about the potential of tablets. While other manufacturers like Samsung have been tossing tablets out like crazy and act disappointed in the response so far, Toshiba has had modest goals and is happy about where things are headed. I was told that the original Thrive, despite being one of the bulkier tablets on the market and not having much visibility, has sold a few hundred thousand units, exceeding expectations.
With this new lineup, Toshiba seems to be exploiting the strengths of its first tablets while also giving its customers a much richer build quality and not skimping on hardware. I’m a bit worried that $450-$750 is a bit much for tablets these days, but we shall see.