updated 08:50 am EDT, Tue April 10, 2012
Toshiba Excite 7.7 and 13 join Excite 10 in lineup
Toshiba grew its Excite tablet line in both directions on Tuesday with three new models to cover every possible category. The Excite 7.7 (which we've tried), Excite 10, and Excite 13 (AT770) all carry a quad-core Tegra 3 chip along with a completely stock version of Android 4.0 bundled with apps like Netflix and Zinio's reader. They keep the slimmer builds of past Excite models but with a more rounded, polished design.
The Excite 13 is one of the few tablets its size and carries a native 1600x900 resolution. Toshiba is up front about the 2.2-pound design and doesn't see it replacing truly mobile tablets, instead pitching it as a home design; it's best for shared movie viewing and has a four-speaker sound system to match, the company says. Going to the bigger screen makes it 0.4 inches thick, but it can also last for 13 hours of battery life and carries a full SD card slot along with micro USB and micro HDMI.
The 7.7-inch tablet has the 1280x800 AMOLED display of the Galaxy Tab 7.7 and thus can be as thin as 0.3 inches while remaining bright and color-rich. Having such a small size puts it down to just over 0.8 pounds, and while it drops micro HDMI, it has both the requisite micro USB and a microSD card slot. Battery life hasn't been quoted, however, and may be shorter.
An update to Toshiba's mid-range tablet, the Excite 10, keeps the 1280x800 LCD and thin 0.35-inch profile with the faster performance. It should last for about 10 hours on a charge and keeps the expansion of the 13-inch model.
Excite 10 models will ship first, arriving in May for $450 with 16GB, $520 for 32GB, and $650 for 64GB. June will see the Excite 7.7 carry an unusual premium at $500 for 16GB and $580 for a 32GB model. The same month will see the Excite 13 cost $650 for 32GB and $750 for a 64GB version.
Toshiba has been one of the smaller players in the tablet market and fared poorly with the Thrive series, which was docked for poor build quality and performance even relative to other Android tablets of the time. Its new models may still struggle in absolute performance versus the new iPad, but from our hands-on time are much sleeker and more responsive than in the past. The new approach is potentially more successful than some of Toshiba's over-customized rivals, but with no major revolution isn't expected to topple either the iPad or the Amazon Kindle Fire.
Excite 7.7 (AT270)