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Toshiba Excite Write review

Excite Write

Toshiba's new top of the range tablet has a stunning 2,560x1,600 display

Unveiled earlier today, the Excite Write is one of Toshiba’s new top of the range tablets. From the outside, it looks very much like the Excite Pure, the most basic model in the Excite range. It has the same textured dot pattern on the rear of the tablet to give it a good amount of grip, but it’s slightly thicker and heavier than its entry-level cousin, standing at 10.5mm thick and weighing 632g.

Excite Write

It’s not the most eye-catching tablet we’ve ever seen, but the Excite Write was far more impressive when we turned it on. The 10.1in display looks stunning. It has a huge 2,560×1,600 resolution and everything looked razor sharp regardless of whether we were web browsing, watching film trailers or scrolling through Android 4.2.1’s home screens. The Excite Write is protected by Gorilla Glass 2 as well, so it shouldn’t pick up any scratches.

The ten-point touchscreen was very responsive, but the Excite Pure will also be available with Toshiba’s keyboard cover. This is a Bluetooth keyboard that doubles up as a carry case and protective cover, but we were a little disappointed with its overall build quality. The smooth corners of its plastic cradle make it very easy to take the tablet in and out, but the flexible rubbery plastic stand that curves round to support the tablet has to bend quite considerably in order to bear its weight, even when the bottom of the cradle was resting in its support groove above the keyboard tray.

Excite Write keyboard cover

It felt quite fragile as a result, particularly since the cradle doesn’t magnetically snap into place, and it didn’t quite feel sturdy enough to survive a sharp accidental knock. Thankfully, it looks like the keyboard cover will be an optional extra rather than being bundled in with the tablet, so you should be able to attach your own Bluetooth keyboard cover instead.

The Excite Write has a good range of connections. There’s a microUSB port, microSD card reader and a micro HDMI output on the side of the tablet and all three are concealed behind a plastic flap. The tablet also has an 8-megapixel rear camera with an LED flash and a 1.2-megapixel camera on the front for video chat.

Excite Write01

The Excite Pure is powered by Nvidia’s latest Tegra 4 processor and has 2GB of RAM. It completed our SunSpider JavaScript benchmarks in a super fast 567.7ms, making it one of the fastest tablets we’ve seen. It felt particularly snappy while we were web-browsing, but it also showed itself to be a capable games machine as well. We tried it out with Riptide GP2, a water-based racing game that only runs on Tegra 4, and the graphics looked incredibly smooth.

The Excite Write’s final trick up its sleeve is its digitizer stylus pen, which lets you take notes using the touchscreen. Toshiba has also developed its own TruNote note-taking app to go with it and this is meant to be able to convert your handwriting into typed text. The pen felt very smooth and responsive while we were trying it out, but when we tried converting our note into typed text, we only had partial success.

Excite Write note

We tried out our best handwriting…

Excite Write fail

…but converting our note into text didn’t quite go as planned

There’s also the Excite Pro to look out for, which is more or less identical to the Excite Write in terms of specification but is £150 cheaper and doesn’t come with a stylus. The Excite Write will be nearer £500, so it will be facing some steep competition when it’s launched later this year, but we have a feeling that its large resolution might just be enough to make it stand out from the crowd. The Excite Pro may end up being a more enticing device, but both of these tablets are definitely ones to watch in the coming months.

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