Toshiba has a habit of entering markets late, but the results have mostly been good. With the new Excite Write tablet, the premium entry in the manufacturer’s Excite tablet line, that trend doesn’t quite hold up.
Instead, the Excite Write stands as an example that a great tablet on paper doesn’t always result in a great product in execution. Few tablets have packed such solid hardware in such an utterly unimpressive package, and the steep price is likely to cause serious hesitation among consumers.
The Toshiba Excite Write is big. In fact, it’s very big. Compared to tablets such as the Sony Xperia Z or the Nexus 10, which are 0.27 inches and 0.35 inches thick respectively, the 10.3-by-7.0-by-0.4 inch Excite feels like a brick.
Factor in the cheap, tacky plastic and the decidedly uninspired design and it certainly doesn’t feel like the premium device it aspires to be. Considering the device is intended to be used for writing, presumably while being held with one hand, 0.4 inches and 1.48 pounds is simply too unwieldy.
The Excite Write features microSD, mini-HDMI and micro-USB ports, all of which are stashed behind a flimsy cover on the tablet’s left edge. It’s not hard to imagine this hatch being broken off during normal use, leaving a large and uncomfortable gap in its place.
This cover is joined by a DC charging port below, which inconveniently connects to a comically large power brick. On top of the port cover is a volume rocker and 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, while the power button sits alone atop the device.
Resolving the Details
Any tablet comparison naturally gravitates to the display, and in this regard, the Toshiba Excite Write ought to excel. Rather than the meager 1280-by-800 display in Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 or the good-but-not-great 1920-by-1200 resolution boasted by the Sony Xperia Z, the Toshiba cranks out an eye-pleasing 2,560-by-1,600 pixels.
However, although it’s every bit as razor-sharp as expected, the ten-inch panel just doesn’t stand up to the gorgeous Nexus 10 display. The Nexus features the same resolution, and the colors are much more accurate and vivid than the Excite Write.
Under the Hood
Like its display, the Excite Write’s internals also sounds exceptional on paper. Featuring a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4 processor and two gigabytes of RAM, it’s obviously a tablet built for performance. Unlike the display, the hardware mostly delivers on its promise.
There’s still the odd hiccup, but performance is generally smooth and snappy. The tablet holds up admirably well even under taxing loads, and it’s hard to imagine an everyday situation that would cause anything more than a brief stutter. In a real-world tablet comparison, the Toshiba handily outpaces the Nexus 10, Xperia Tablet Z and the Galaxy Note 10.1.
The Toshiba Excite Write is a bit of a paradox. It’s clearly intended as a premium device. This is backed up by high-end performance and, to a lesser extent, an extremely sharp but ultimately imperfect display.
At the same time, the design and build quality seem to be more suited to a budget tablet that costs a fraction of the Excite’s price. The performance may be unmatched compared to tablets in its class, but there are simply too many flaws to warrant the outsized price tag.