When, at IFA in Berlin, Toshiba claimed its new AT200 Android tablet was the thinnest and lightest in the world, the team at TabletPCReview was skeptical. Sure the AT200 was extremely thin and impossibly light, but what did Toshiba sacrifice in order to produce a tablet so slim? Battery life? Ports?
After some hands-on time with the newly-named “Excite X10” at CES 2012 four months later, we can safely say that Toshiba didn’t have to give up everything that made the bulky Thrive such a hit with the team, as the Excite X10 retains microUSB and microHDMI ports, as well as a microSD card slot. Ok, so it does not have the full-sized ports we loved so much, but when many Android tablets (and the iPad) only have a proprietary input, we can’t complain too loudly.
Still Dual Core
The Toshiba Excite X10 has a 10.1-inch 1280 x 800 display and will ship with Android Honeycomb 3.2. Toshiba reps claim it will receive an Ice Cream Sandwich update soon after it launches, and there is no reason not to believe them. Toshiba showed much restraint in not applying any major user interface tweaks for the Excite X10 (and the Thrive, for that matter), so this is as close to a pure Android tablet experience as is available, which also makes for a quicker ICS upgrade.
The Excite X10 features 1GB of RAM and a dual-core 1.2GHz TI OMAP 4330 chip, which is slightly disappointing considering quad-core tablets are supposed to be all the rage this year. Reps did confirm that Toshiba will release a quad-core tablet in mid-2012, and we believe they may be waiting for Apple to show its cards with the next-generation iPad before revealing anything publically. After all, this whole thin-and-light tablet craze began with the iPad 2, right?
Yes, It’s Thin
It’s impossible to say for sure if the Toshiba Excite is the thinnest and lightest 10-inch tablet in the world. It is approximately .3-inches thick and weighs 1.1 pounds. One would have to dive into the subatomic scale to measure the difference between it and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. But unlike the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the Excite does not have a plastic build, but rather a magnesium alloy back panel with Corning Gorilla Glass for the display. It feels more durable than it should, given its weight, and much more rugged than some of the ultrabooks with the same building material on display at CES.
We wonder though, did Toshiba have to make any sacrifices to battery life in order to accommodate such a thin profile? We’ll see when we have an Excite X10 in for review.
The Excite X10 is scheduled to ship in February for $529 (16GB) and $599 (32GB). That’s not very competitive, considering the 16GB Apple iPad is $499, as is the 16GB Galaxy Tab 10.1. For its part, Toshiba is keeping both the 7-inch and 10.1-inch Thrive tablets on the market as entry-level devices, and both will receive the Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade.