The Toshiba Excite 13 is the Samsung Galaxy Note of tablets. Defying the laws of portability, the Toshiba Excite 13 packs a whopping 13-inch screen, at the cost of portability. Weighing 2.2 pounds, the Excite 13 isn’t exactly “tablet” weight. In fact, the 12-inch MacBook Air likely weighs less. However, the question remains: is there a demand – or need – for such a large screen?
The Excite 13 is the heftiest sibling of the Excite series, putting the Excite 7.7 and Excite 10 to shame. If you recall, the Excite series is Toshiba’s second attempt in the overcrowded tablet arena. Their previous tablet, the Thrive, didn’t thrive in the marketplace. Likely due to its clunky form factor and slew of unnecessary ports for a tablet.
Toshiba took a play or two from Apple’s playbook and put their tablet on a diet, gave it a makeover, and added some makeup in the form of aluminum. The Excite 13 looks stylish and is relatively “slim.” That’s beside the point, given the pure heft of the 13-inch screen, which is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. It most certainly is not meant for one-handed operation, or even two hand operation, for that matter.
Toshiba knew this, which is why they included a built-in stand. You’ll definitely need this, at least until you try holding a 13-inch tablet while watching a feature-length movie. Comically, the gargantuan display has less pixels than the iPad’s 9.7-inch IPS screen, coming in at 1600 x 900. Moreover, there is nothing overly special about the Excite’s screen. The IPS display on the Asus Transformer Prime is debatably better than the Excite’s beastly screen.
Toshiba wasn’t looking for the oohs and awes with the Excite 13, given most of its internal features are relatively mundane, albeit standard for an Android 4.0 tablet. It runs a 1.7 GHz Nvidia Tegra3 processor, which has four cores and a 12-core GPU. With 1 GB of RAM, the Excite 13 handles multiple tabs and open apps with ease, like most premium Android tablets.
Surprisingly, the Excite 13 doesn’t have a full-sized USB port, which is odd for a tablet this size. But it does contain MicroHDMI, MicroUSB, an charging port.s Speaking of the charger, it resembles a laptop A/C adapter more than a tablet adapter. Perhaps rightly so, given the monstrous battery needed to power a 13-inch screen.
Oh, and the tablet also has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera. Not that you would – or should use it in public. Who in their right mind would hold a 13-inch display in the air to take a picture, unless you’re trying to win “Geek of the Year.” Nonetheless, Toshiba likely threw it in there to win the specs game. Because as we know, Specs matter to Android folks.
On the software front, the Excite 13 runs a vanilla install of Android 4.0.1 with minimal bloatware and useful preinstalled apps. Toshiba did the Excite justice by leaving out their proprietary programs and not messing with the UI like Samsung and HTC. The interface is responsive and tolerates the 13-inch display. Although, pixilation is likely in stretched apps.
Supersized without Super Performance
Unfortunately, the screen is the only aspect of the Excite 13 that is super...sized! The display itself, while large, lacks the quality and performance of the iPad 3 and Asus Transformer Pad Infinity. None of the internal components are impressive and benchmarks are average for a new Android tablet.
Unfortunately, very few people need – or can justify – such a large screen. At best, the Excite 13 is a stationary touch screen. Nobody in their right mind would carry a 2.2-pound tablet in their briefcase, when there are 10-inch devices that weigh half as much. It is a niche product that caters to a certain crowd. Who that “crowd” is, is to be determined.