The screen is really impressive with high resolution and good colors. As a normal touchscreen it works well, but the pen function leaves something to be desired.
Last fall, we tested the Toshiba Excite Pro, which was then the only one, apart from the already somewhat ancient Google Nexus 10, that had a display that could compete with the iPad in number of pixels. It also has excellent properties otherwise. Nice colors, good contrast and a brightness that, if not maxed out, is fully approved. In addition, with really good speakers. Watching movies on it, even 4k movies, is a really fun experience.
It was fast too, with the same hardware under the skin as the HP Slatebook X2 10, and with essentially identical performance. The new Excite Write is basically the exact same board as the Excite Pro. It’s the same processor and the same high-resolution screen. However, it’s been a few months and the performance isn’t as impressive when new circuits come out.
It’s not quite in the same class as the latest plates from Samsung and Sony with the Snapdragon 800 or 801, but it’s still plenty of computing power and it’s very rare that you experience any difference. However, a couple of things set them apart. Excite Write has received more built-in memory, 32 GB Flash compared to 16 GB in the Pro.
Excite Write has above all got a new focus on, as the name suggests, writing. Firstly, you get a substantial carrying case that works as a screen protector when you carry the tablet around, a table stand when you have to work with it, and has a built-in keyboard in the part that is also a screen protector.
The keyboard is a sturdy thing in hard plastic, where the plate is set down in a notch and then leaned against a built-in support in the case. The buttons are high class but still frustrating to work with, especially given the compact ten-inch format on the tablet and thus also on the keyboard. However, it could be worse.
The case makes an already thick, heavy and plastic plate even thicker, heavier and plasticier. Toshiba doesn’t win design awards outright.
A thick slab, a sturdy case, a clunky keyboard and an awkward docking solution. There are many ways to build a hybrid computer, and Toshiba seems to have chosen several wrong ways at once.
Toshiba has chosen not to build in a mousepad, so they can use the entire surface for the buttons. It is both good and bad. In office apps, it would have been nice to be able to highlight text more easily, for example. But for the most part you can get by without it in Android, which is designed for touch.
Unfortunately, that keyboard needs to be Bluetooth synced to the tablet and charged separately. Given that the tablet is basically already docked physically in the keyboard, it would have been much smarter to have surface contacts for connection, as on, for example, Lenovo’s PC tablet Miix 2.
You also get a stylus and it is possible to run a handwriting interpreter instead of an on-screen keyboard. However, the pen itself is nothing more, a plastic stick with a cheap feel and there is no pressure sensitivity in the screen. If Toshiba wants to compete with the Samsung Galaxy Note, they have to step up.
And if they want to compete at all against manufacturers such as Asus, Apple, HP, Lenovo and Sony, they need to take a new approach. Technically, Excite Write is in and competing, but technology isn’t everything, and when it comes to mobile gadgets, comfort and feel are just as important, if not more so. Toshiba has some of the slimmest laptops on the market, and once upon a time also had the slimmest tablet. But time has run away from the manufacturer and they need to rethink to catch up.
Toshiba Excite Write AT10PE-A-105
Manufacturer: Toshiba, www.toshiba.se
System circuit: Nvidia Tegra 4
Processor: Cortex A15, 1.6 GHz quad core
Graphics: Geforce ULP
Storage: 32 GB + micro sd
Screen: 10.1 inch ips, 2560×1600 pixels
Brightness: 292 cd/m2
Connections: Ac in, micro usb, micro hdmi, headphones
Wireless: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS
Cameras: 8 megapixel rear, 1.2 megapixel front
Operating system: Android 4.2
Battery life, web video: about 5 hours
Miscellaneous: Tripod case with built-in keyboard, stylus
Size: 26.1 x 17.8 x 1.05 cm
Weight: 652 g
Award: SEK 4,800
Antutu Benchmark X: 27399 points
3dmark Ice Storm Unlimited: 10611 points
Sunspider 1.02: 727.7 ms
Plus: Good performance. Very good display. Keyboard and stylus.
Minus: Heavy and clumsy. Plastic construction. No mobile broadband.