Emerging Technology

GADGET WATCH: Toshiba Excite Write

Patrick Stafford /

The tablet market has plenty of competitors and there isn’t much room for new entries. Which is why Toshiba’s latest entry into the market, the Excite Write, is so interesting.

So does Toshiba have a winner here? Or is it just another piece of digital jetsam in a sea of mediocre gadgets?

Hardware and features

The Toshiba Excite Write features a 10.1 screen, with a native 2560×1600 resolution. The gadget itself is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 4 processor, and is running on Android software.

The Excite Write is powered by 2GB of RAM, with 32GB of internal storage, although that can be expanded through a microSD card. There is one camera on the rear, with an eight megapixel lens. The tablet also features micro HDMI and USB slots.

What’s the consensus?

Over at Engadget, the publication starts where it counts – the design. Unfortunately, the praise isn’t forthcoming, noting the device comes wrapped in a type of plastic shell.

“Its color is silvery gray and, though we’re not the type to use and abuse our products, that paint job looks like it’ll chip off or scratch easily, but so far it’s held up well.”

“The backplate also feels somewhat hollow, as if there’s empty space beneath it. Tapping on its center will corroborate this assumption.”

Engadget also noted some flimsy casing to house the various ports, saying a “slight mishandling could cause it to break off all too easily”.

And finally, for the screen, Engadget didn’t have much good to say either: “Whatever snazzy marketing name Toshiba’s slapped on it, its colors lack the pizzazz we expect from something so high-res.”

“Take the Google Chrome logo, for example: the yellow has a muted, brownish hue. Further, whites, like on the Gmail or Play Store icons, appear somewhat grayish.”

However, PC Mag was gentler on the device regarding hardware performance, saying the Write provided a “respectable” frame rate, and that Wi-Fi performance was solid.

“In our battery rundown test, which loops a video with screen brightness set to maximum and Wi-Fi switched on, the Excite Write lasted 6 hours, 4 minutes.”

“That’s good compared with the Nexus 10’s 5 hours, 9 minutes and the Tablet Z’s 4 hours, 41 minutes in the same test, but still short of the 7 hours, 17 minutes of the Asus TF700.”

As for the tablet’s version of Android, PC Mag said the tablet support was “lacklustre”, which is disappointing considering the stylus is a large part of the gadget’s selling point.

“Pen input feels accurate and responsive in TruNote, but when you use a third-party app like Autodesk Sketchbook, pen input lags just enough to be annoying.”

“That might not be Toshiba’s fault entirely, but the company should have done a better job integrating the pen features into Android itself. As it stands, it seems like Toshiba threw the pen in as an afterthought to market the Write against the Galaxy Note 10.1.”

Finally, LaptopMag said the device’s graphical power provided an average output, but was beaten out on higher-level performance benchmarks.

Who’s it for?

The Toshiba Excite Write doesn’t provide solid competition in its price range. If you’re looking for a tablet with a stylus, the 10-inch Samsung Note is almost certainly a better choice.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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