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Toshiba Excite 10 LE: The World's Thinnest 10" Tablet
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Date: May 29, 2012
Section:Gadgets
Author: Jennifer Johnson
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Introduction and Specifications

Toshiba is claiming to have the world's thinnest 10-inch tablet with its Excite 10 LE. This Android 4.0-powered tablet is indeed thin and lightweight, measuring 0.3 inches thick and weighing about 1.18 pounds. In addition to its thin design, the Excite 10 LE also offers a number of ports and expansion slots. With its size, range of IO ports, and good-looking magnesium alloy surface finish, the Excite 10 LE is certainly eye catching.

Although thin and light are definitely key features for any tablet, we also demand performance. Toshiba understands this, and has included a 1.2 GHz Dual-Core Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 processor as well as 1GB of DDR2 RAM in this tablet. The Excite 10 LE is available in 16GB and 32GB model and both models are available with Android 3.2 Honeycomb or with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. In this review, we'll take a look at the 16GB Excite 10 LE with Android 4.0 which has a suggested retail price of $529.99. The 32GB model with either version of Android will set you back an additional $70.

The Excite 10 LE features a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800, LED-backlit display with a 16:10 aspect ratio and 10-finger multitouch support. The screen is also covered with Corning Gorilla Glass for the sake of durability. Other key features of this tablet include micro HDMI and micro USB ports, a micro SD card slot, Bluetooth, a 2MP front-facing HD webcam, and a 5MP rear-facing camera that can capture 1080p video.


Join us in the coming pages as we take a closer look at what the Toshiba Excite 10 LE has to offer in our hands-on review.

Toshiba Excite 10 LE Tablet
Specifications & Features
Operating System
Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich
Display
10.1 inch LED backlit, 1280 x 800 native resolution, capacitive 10-finger Multi-touch
Processor
1.2 GHz TI OMAP4430 Dual-Core processor
Memory
1GB LP-DDR2 RAM
Internal Storage
16GB (as tested), 32GB also available
Wireless Connectivity
802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1

Camera
Front 2MP HD webcam with microphone
Back 5MP webcam with auto-focus, digital zoom and LED flash, up to 1080p video capture

Audio
Stereo Speakers with SRS Premium Voice Pro Suite and Toshiba Sound Enhancements
Ports and Expansion
Micro SD Card slot
Micro HDMI port
Micro-USB v2.0 On-The-Go port
Docking connector
3.5mm stereo headphone jack

Sensors
Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor, GPS, Digital Compass
Size
10.1 x 6.9 x 0.3 inches
Starts at 1.18 pounds

Battery
25 W-hours Li-polymer
Battery Life
8 hours, 30 minutes
Preloaded Software
TOSHIBA App Place, TOSHIBA Book Place, TOSHIBA Media Player, TOSHIBA News Place, TOSHIBA Service Station, TOSHIBA File Manager, Adobe Reader, Kaspersky Tablet Security, Hardwood Backgammon, Hardwood Euchre, Hardwood Solitaire IV, Hardwood Hearts, Hardwood Spades, LogMeIn, Netflix SD Player, Printer Share, Quickoffice, Zinio
Price
$529.99 (16GB); $599.99 (32GB)

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Design

Toshiba's Excite 10 LE tablet uses a boxy design with rounded corners. This is in contrast to some of the other tablets on the market today, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 which features rounded edges all the way around the tablet.

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The Excite 10 LE tablet features a magnesium alloy surface that gives the tablet a nice finish and has no issues with fingerprints. While holding the tablet, one thing we noticed was some (not all) of the edges on the rear of the tablet weren't perfectly flush with the sides. In other words, there is a slight lip in some corners but not in others. It's a minor thing and not a big issue when holding the tablet, but it's something we definitely noticed.

You'll find a 10.1-inch LED backlit display on the Excite 10 LE. This display supports a resolution of 1280 x 800 and supports 10-finger multi-touch. One interesting thing about the display is the fact that you can see a grid-like pattern when the screen is off. The Excite 10 LE's display will collect some fingerprints over time, but generally speaking the tablet did a good job at hiding fingerprints. 

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Viewing angles on the Excite 10 LE's display are excellent. When looking at the tablet outside under direct sunlight, the display was on-par with other devices we've seen: not the greatest, but definitely still readable. While outside, we did notice the grid-pattern on the display was more visible than it was indoors.

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Toshiba includes a handful of ports with the Excite 10 LE including microUSB and micro HDMI connectors as well as a microSD card slot and 3.5mm headphone jack. All of these ports are located on the left side of the tablet when held in landscape mode.

At the base of the tablet, you'll find a dock connector which also acts as the charging port using the Toshiba-supplied cable. Speakers are located on both ends of the base.

On the right edge of the tablet, you'll find the power button, power indicator light, volume controls, and a screen rotation lock/unlock switch.

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Above the display on the front of the Excite 10 LE, you'll see the front-facing 2MP webcam. The 5MP rear-facing camera is centered on the tablet near the top with the camera light just to the left of the camera.

One of the things Toshiba touts about the Excite 10 LE is the fact that it is the "world's thinnest" 10-inch tablet. Although the Excite 10 LE is definitely thin at about 7.62mm, it wins this title by a relatively small margin. For example, the Apple iPad 2 measures about 9.4mm (0.37 inches) thick.

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User Interface

Toshiba currently offers the Excite 10 LE with Android 3.2 Honeycomb or with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. We were glad to see that Toshiba didn't mess too heavily with Android’s stock Ice Cream Sandwich in our test model. The tablet offers five customizable home screens and you'll notice some of Toshiba's included applications directly from the main home screen. The home screens don't come with a lot of clutter from the start, and we appreciate this.

   

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Speaking of included software, the Excite 10 LE comes with a handful of Toshiba apps as well as apps from a few other companies. Among the list of applications on the tablet, you'll find the TOSHIBA App Place (a Toshiba-branded app store), TOSHIBA Book Place, TOSHIBA Media Player, TOSHIBA News Place, TOSHIBA Service Station, TOSHIBA File Manager, Adobe Reader, Kaspersky Tablet Security, Hardwood Backgammon, Hardwood Euchre, Hardwood Solitaire IV, Hardwood Hearts, Hardwood Spades, LogMeIn, Netflix SD Player, Printer Share, Quickoffice, and Zinio.

To be honest, there's some definite overlap between some of the stock Android 4.0 applications and some of the Toshiba-branded applications on the tablet. Although you can't uninstall many of these applications, you can disable them using the Settings menu.

  

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Toshiba's included File Manager makes it easy to view contents on the internal storage as well as on a microSD card. There's also a separate location for screen captures. The left column in the app provides access to the various storage locations. You'll notice navigation and other control options in the upper right corner of the app.  

   

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The 5MP rear-facing camera on the Excite 10 LE produced shots that were on-par with other 5MP cameras we've seen from other tablets and smartphones. Although this camera definitely won't replace your DSLR or point-and-shoot, the Excite 10 LE's 5MP camera will get the job done in a pinch. The flash that sits beside the Excite 10 LE's camera will wash out objects from time to time, depending on how close you attempt to get to your subject.

   

   

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Performance Benchmarks

Next, we'll take a look at how the Toshiba Excite 10 LE tablet compares to other tablets by running and examining a few benchmarks that are currently available in the Android Marketplace.

CPU testing
Android CPU testing

 

The Excite 10 LE performed reasonably well in the Linpack test, coming in behind the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime and the Transformer Pad 300 running under various power modes.

The Sunspider browser-based benchmark is designed to test a device's JavaScript processing capabilities. In this test, the Excite 10 LE didn't perform as well as some of the tablets in our comparison chart, but it didn't earn the last spot, either.

Rightware Browsermark
Web Browsing Performance

The Rightware BrowserMark test is designed to look at browser performance. Here, we see much of the same story: The Excite 10 LE earned a mid-range score.

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More Performance and Battery Life

GLBenchmark is an OpenGL ES 2.0 benchmark with a number of performance metrics incorporated. We specifically used the Fill Texture Fetch suite to measure texture fill rate of a graphics core and the Egypt Off Screen test to measure 3D performance in frames per second. The Off Screen test renders workloads at 1280x720 for all devices, but off-screen, so Vsynch and screen resolution are not limiting performance.

Graphics testing
Android graphics testing

In both of the GLBenchmark tests (Egypt Off Screen and Fill Texture Fetch), the Excite 10 LE earned a mid-range score coming in behind a handful of other tablets.

An3DBench XL is a benchmarking tool based on an Android port of the jPCT 3D engine. The app runs 7 tests in total that look at graphics processor fill rate and complex rendering workloads and scenes.

While the Excite 10 LE didn't earn a top spot in the An3DBench XL test, it held its own, coming in slightly behind some of the leaders in this test. The tablet held its own in the Magic Island test where we've seen quite a bit of variation in scores from other tablets.

HotHardware Battery Life Test
How Long Does It Last?

In an attempt to quantitatively measure the Excite 10 LE's battery life in a controlled benchmark environment, we ran a test in which we set up a webpage with a mix of graphics, Flash media and text. The page automatically refreshes every three minutes, we loop the page and also setup a screen lock utility that keeps the display from sleeping during the test.  Battery life is measured down to the minute the tablet finally shuts down.  The Wi-Fi radio is enabled in this test to simulate battery life in real-world web browsing over a wireless connection.

For this test, we set the Excite 10 LE's display to 50% brightness, which is still plenty bright and easy on the eyes. The Excite 10 LE lasted just over 8.6 hours untethered before it powered down.

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Performance Summary and Final Thoughts

The Toshiba Excite 10 LE has a lot of good things going for it, including its thin and lightweight design as well as its attractive magnesium alloy casing. At just 0.3-inches thick, Toshiba says the Excite 10 LE is currently the world's thinnest 10-inch Android tablet. Although we wouldn't be surprised if other manufacturers will challenge that title soon, Toshiba's Excite 10 LE has the boasting rights for now.

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While we appreciate the look and feel of the Excite 10 LE, we also place a lot of weight on a tablet's overall performance. The Excite 10 LE performed well in all of our benchmark tests, but it never topped the charts. In real-world testing, the Excite 10 LE was responsive and we had no complaints about the tablet's overall performance, however.

With so many different tablet options available today, it can be hard to decide on one tablet over another. The Excite 10 LE's thin design, micro HDMI port, Android 4.0, and a magnesium alloy casing help set this tablet apart from others in the market. The Excite 10 LE's price tag is right in line with competing offerings as well, as are its available storage options (16GB and 32GB).

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All in all, the Excite 10 LE is a great tablet that we'd have no problem recommending to a friend, but it's not a tablet that stands out in terms of performance or price. If you're considering a good-looking, lightweight tablet that offers all of the current technologies on the market today, however, the Excite 10 LE is a competent option.

 

 

     
  • Thin design
  • micro HDMI port
  • Android 4.0
  • Magnesium alloy casing
  • No 3G or 4G LTE connectivity
  • Price
  • Average Performance

 



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