Toshiba has already attempted to enter the tablet market last year, with the Thrive being pretty much a complete failure. The fault didn’t lie in poor hardware, though – on the contrary, the Thrive had a lot of features that other tablets don’t, including a full size USB and HDMI ports and a SD card reader. The reason why it failed was poor marketing (people didn’t even know that it hit the stores!) and, to a lesser degree, the bland design of the device. But this year, Toshiba is back in action, with a completely new tablet that is sure to rock everyone’s socks off – the Excite X10.
Unlike its predecessor, the new Excite X10 is all about design. It is the thinnest and lightest tablet on the market, being only 0.3 inches thick and weighing only 1.18 pounds, and it’s not made out of cheap plastic either. Instead, you have a full metal and glass design, with the front being covered by a big sheet of Gorilla glass and the back cover (which is non-removable) having a very nice brushed finish and a big Toshiba logo in chrome letters. The sides of the tablet also have a groove that makes it look unique and pretty cool.
Hardware features and performance
Despite the ultra slim and trendy design, the Excite X10 hasn’t lost any of the important hardware features – it has everything you’d ever need on a tablet and more. The 10.1 inch display is the first thing that amazes you when you turn the device on: the IPS LCD unit is simply great, with a sharp picture thanks to the 1280×800 pixels resolution, near perfect viewing angles and of course, excellent colors, contrast and brightness.
The other hardware specs are everything you would expect from a modern, high end tablet: there’s the standard Wifi N, Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS radio combo, a set of sensors for normal operation, as well as a micro SD card slot, 3.5 mm audio jack, micro USB and micro HDMI ports – there’s nothing the Excite X10 can’t accomplish. There are also 16 or 32 GB of storage space inbuilt, and with a micro SD card, you can extend that by up to 32 GB more.
There are two cameras on the X10: a 5 megapixels unit on the back with an LED flash for photos and HD videos (1080p video recording is supported), and a 2 megapixels unit on the front for video calls and occasional self-snapshots. The quality of both cameras is great and either one can be used for photos to be posted on Facebook or sent via IM, for example.
Toshiba will be shipping the Excite X10 with Android 3.2 Honeycomb out of the factory, but there’s an OTA update to Ice Cream Sandwich coming up, so there will be no issues with outdated software on this tablet. The user interface has a few customizations made by Toshiba, but it’s nothing extensive and you can enjoy a mostly vanilla Android experience (which is great compared to iOS, for example –there’s so much you can customize and do) out of the box.
Price and Availability
The Excite X10 will cost $529 and $599 for the 16 and 32 GB versions, and while it’s a bit on the high side (especially with sub-$500 quad core coming up), the high quality of the tablet and the hardware features can definitely be worth it. Toshiba hasn’t yet announced a release date, but the tablet should become available in stores by the beginning of spring, so it won’t be long before we can buy or at least pre-order it. I just hope that Toshiba hires a better marketing and PR firm for this device, so that it doesn’t repeat the Thrive’s mistake.