Just when we thought Android tablet design couldn’t get any sleeker, something else even more eye-popping comes along. So far this year, Asus’s $499.99 Eee Pad Transformer Prime has been by far the most attractive slate to pass through our labs, but even its thin, all-metal design didn’t enthrall us like last year’s $499.99 Sony Tablet S. In fact, until we saw Toshiba’s $529.99 Excite 10 LE, we thought that the Tablet S’s thin and well-balanced form factor was still the most attractive and easiest-to-hold slate on the market. But now it’s time for Sony to step aside; something thinner, lighter, and maybe even more comfortable has come along.
Perhaps the thinnest and lightest full-sized 10.1-inch slate to date, the Excite 10 LE is a huge departure from Toshiba’s previous forays into the Android tablet market. It’s nothing like last year’s big and bulky 10.1-inch Toshiba Thrive, which afforded it the space required for its generous port selection. In addition, unlike many of its higher-end thin-and-light competitors, it comes with dedicated HDMI and USB ports (though these are miniature ports, whereas the Thrive had full-size ports); the Tablet S has no HDMI port, and the Transformer Prime has no USB port. As you’ll see later in the Design section of this review, the Excite 10 LE really is an all-around versatile slate.
You can buy the Excite 10 LE in one of two flavors: the $529.99 16GB model we’re looking at here, or the $599.99 32GB version. (Toshiba also offers these two models running Android 3.2, or Honeycomb, for the same price.) Both versions are exceptional slates, albeit a little pricy. Some competing Tegra 3—and Android 4.0â—based (a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich, or ICS) models, such as the Acer’s $449.99 Iconia Tab A510 and Asus’s $399.99 Transform Pad TF300, come with 32GB of storage for lower prices. Like the higher-end Transformer Prime and the aforementioned Tablet S, with this model you pay a little more for the thin-and-light engineering, the sleek design, and the metal casing.
Compared with the of Tegra 3—based slates we’ve looked at, however, it’s not the best performing tablet. But then it’s also not built around the popular Tegra 3 processor. And that seems to have hurt its benchmark performance: the Excite 10 LE turned in mediocre scores on most of our benchmark tests and fell slightly behind in a few a key areas, especially battery life. During our hands-on time with it, though, we didn’t notice any performance lags and were generally very pleased with its responsiveness. If thin, light, and drop-dead gorgeous are part of what you’re looking for in a tablet, you’ll find it in the Excite 10 LE—so long as you don’t mind paying for it, that is.
See the full review at Computer Shopper.