Toshiba Excite Pro VerticalToshiba’s Excite line of tablets has scored consistently high in our reviews over the last year. The Excite 10 we looked at in 2012, for example, was a highly impressive, premium-quality slate. Fully encased in metal, it was slim and light, with a wide range of expansion options, and it supported full-size SDXC memory cards, which allowed you to increase its storage capacity by up to 128GB. (We found this last unique feature particularly impressive.) Both it, and the company’s ultra-premium Excite 10 LE, came just shy of receiving our Editors’ Choice nod—primarily because both slates were priced a bit too high.

That’s our primary concern with the Japanese electronic giant’s latest full-size (10.1-inch) Android tablet, the $499.99-list Excite Pro—it costs a little too much. In addition, Toshiba has done away with a few of the features we found so attractive on last year’s model, such as the all-aluminum chassis and support for full-size, high-capacity SD cards.

This is not to say that we weren’t impressed with this new Excite. It is, after all, more than a year later, and nowadays we’re not quite as smitten with all-metal cases and massive storage capacity. What compels us more in a tablet is an ultra-high-resolution screen, a generous complement of system RAM, a super-fast processor, or great-sounding speakers. In mid-2013, media-consumption powerhouses such Google’s Nexus 7 (2013) and Sony’s Xperia Tablet Z are winning the day, and, from that perspective, the Excite Pro holds its own.

The biggest news here is that this new Excite was the first Android slate out of the gate that we tested to run on Nvidia’s new Tegra 4 CPU. (That’s barring the rather different, only tangentially tablet-related Nvidia Shield gaming device.) As you’ll see in the Performance section later on in this review, compared to its predecessor, the new Tegra delivered significant performance boosts across the board on most of our benchmark tests. However, unlike last year, when the Tegra 3 stood out as the only quad-core processor, the Tegra 4 is meeting with some stiff competition from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro, which we’ve seen so far in Sony’s highly impressive Xperia Tablet Z and Google’s recent refresh of the Nexus 7.

The only area where this year’s Excite fell behind last year’s was battery life. Considering the Excite Pro’s high-resolution 2,560×1,600 screen, though, it held up fairly well, and the screen itself displayed our test videos and photographs impressively. When you combine the high-res screen with its pair of excellent-sounding Harman/Kardon speakers, you get an excellent slate for watching movies.

Toshiba Excite ProAlas, nothing is perfect, though, and where the Excite Pro fell short was, in our opinion, important. During game play and watching videos for more than a few minutes, the tablet itself and the power brick got excessively hot—so hot, in fact, that it became uncomfortable to hold onto or rest in our lap.

At no time did it seem hot enough to damage the device, but the excessive heat did, when coupled with the Excite Pro’s premium price tag, cost it our Editors’ Choice nod. At $500, a tablet should be near perfect. As you’ll see as you read on, the Excite Pro faltered in a few other areas, which, depending on how (and for what) you use your tablet, may or may not matter to you. Overall, though, mostly we liked this slate and would have no problem giving it a resounding recommendation were it a little cheaper and cooler.

See entire review at Computer Shopper.



Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet - Decked Out for Business

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet – Decked Out for Business

It only takes a quick glance to know: Here in late 2011, most new tablets are built for consumers. Only a few current ones, such as the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook andFujitsu Stylistic Q550 Slate, have been designed specifically for business. The PlayBook might be a little too tied-down for your tastes, in that it doesn’t offer its own e-mail client and must be tethered to a BlackBerry smartphone to get the most out of it. Windows-based slates like the Stylistic Q550, meanwhile, give you easy access to your business documents—but Windows isn’t ideal for touch input. (Also, Microsoft doesn’t yet offer an infrastructure for downloading free or inexpensive apps, like you have with Apple iPad or Android tablets.) These two tablets are pretty accurate representatives of the state of business slates today, so it’s clear that getting the best of both worlds (a consumer-like tablet experience, with all the versatility and security you need for business) hasn’t been possible—until now. Built around a 10.1-inch screen, Lenovo’s new ThinkPad Tablet has all the accoutrements you would expect in a device that bears the ThinkPad name. What sets it apart, though: It lets you keep your access to apps and features as open as your company will allow….

Read more at Computer Shopper.