Toshiba Excite 10 Tablet

Today I’m going to review this Android Tablet: The Toshiba Excite 10, an android tablet powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 CPU.

Not to be confused with it’s older brother, the Toshiba Excite 10 LE (Limited Edition), this one has a much more powerful yet efficient CPU (Nvidia’s Quad-core Tegra 3 at 1.2GHz vs. Texas Instruments Dual-core Omap 4430 at 1GHz), and is a little bulkier.

Size is quite comfortable at 262mm wide, 178mm tall, and 9mm deep. It is a standard (for most android tablets) 10.1″ in size.

Weight is about 599 Grams. I say about, because there are some obvious variations between the 16GB ,32GB, and 64GB versions. It is a nice weight, not heavy, but feels substantial in your hands.

Display is a capacitive, multi-touch LCD at 1280×800 resolution. Some would say it’s a little low in resolution, but that’s only when comparing to Apple Ipad 3 and such. It is more than sufficient to run any HD content and in beautiful clarity.

Some complaints have been made as to instances when light bleed issues would appear. That is, if you show a black screen, with no picture, you might see the edges with some light. This issue may exist but is not persistent in all units. Mine didn’t exhibit such symptoms.

Cameras are average to be honest. The back camera (not facing you) is a 5MP affair and is located, somewhat inconveniently, on the left hand side of the tablet. This means that you might cover it with your finger when holding the tablet to take photos or videos. Although you can take FullHD video, the quality is just average and at low light situation, the results are quite poor, even with the built-in flash. The front facing camera is rated at 2MP, which is pretty good for skype conversations, but for some reason, it makes you hold the tablet at an angle if you want to show your entire face when talking, rather than just a part of it. That’s poor design on the side of Toshiba.

Performance is mostly more than satisfactory. The built in Nvidia Quad-core CPU does its job and can handle most tasks quite easily. That includes most games, HD video content, and music  that I tried. The 1GB Ram is sufficient for all current android applications and games. There are still some glitches though. When viewing graphics-rich PDF files, the tablet may take a while to render the pages. I didn’t encounter it at all instances, and it may be due to the use of one viewer over another, but it still should not happen with a modern tablet.

Connectivity is handled by WiFi. Bluetooth is included, but 3G is not even an option with this tablet. That is unfortunate since it limits its use when traveling. A GPS module is included and provides a quick lock, and the ability to use offline navigation solutions (such as Sygic, or iGo). One thing that is very worth mentioning is that this tablet supports a powered USB host (OTG) out of the box. What does that mean? it means you can connect peripherals to it, including external hard drives, keyboards, mice and other odds and bits. This is not to be taken lightly, as many tablets don’t offer this option, especially not in non-rooted devices.

Battery Life is quite good. Standby time can stretch upto 4 days. With active usage it will last between 13-24 hours, depending on how heavy the usage is.

Rooting is a sore point with this tablet. The requirements for the online community to be able to root a device is a unlocked bootloader (it’s like the bios in a computer) and since Toshiba was not gracious enough to provide the Excite 10 with an unlocked bootloader, no rooting is possible, and as such many options are left closed for the more-than-average user.

Popularity is not so great, due to the issues I mentioned (mostly the rooting) and the relatively high price. Toshiba considers the Excite series to be their leader Tablet, and sells it in three sizes: 10.1″, 7″, and 13″. Prices start from 400 USD.

Conclusion – Even with it’s low points, the tablet is beautifully designed (barring the cameras issue) and feels sturdy yet not too bulky. It has Gorilla Glass coating that makes it quite scratch-resistant, and it’s battery life is quite good. I would recommend it to the average user with some money in his pocket. A last important point to mention is that this tablet has built-in OTA (On-the-air) updating service. And Toshiba does update every few months. The tablet currently runs Android 4.0, but Jelly Bean (4.1) is on its way, as well as Key Lime Pie (4.2). I still hold hope that Toshiba will come to their senses and unlock the bootloader to allow more people to enjoy it.

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