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Customer Review

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute steal!, 4 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Toshiba Excite Pro 10.1-inch Tablet (NVIDIA Tegra 4 1.6GHz, 2GB RAM, 16GB Memory, Android 4.2) (Personal Computers)
If you were lucky enough to pick one of these up around Christmas 2013 via the hotukdeals post, then you have a fantastic deal for the money. I previously bought a cheap Chinese tablet for the same price as I got this one!

Don't worry about previous overheating and WiFi reception issues: they are fixed by two updates (settings > About tablet > System updates). Remember, reviews written on release for the Toshiba were created when the tablet had these issues *and* cost more than twice as much, so you are getting an absolute bargain right now. Update: I have found a few games that do still create overheat stutter - Dead Trigger 2 will cause this if you play with the tablet on performance for 20 minutes.

Without the updates, the tablet is very, very fast, but may have a tendency to overheat (mine did not overheat but did throttle back a little and stutter a bit after I continuously ran the most strenuous 3DMark graphics testing, whilst leaving the tablet in a zipped case - but it didn't crash on overheat with the stock firmware, and neither did it get that hot... more like warm). After update, the maximum clockspeed is reduced a little, so it scores about 7-8% less on 3DMark, but with much less throttling... you don't notice the difference in performance because its already fast: games are fully tegra enhanced and flawless, and browsing with the installed Chrome browser is as fast as on a desktop (my desktop is a 12 core i7 video editing/gaming monster with 24GB and a top 3 graphics card and SSDs/velocirapters, so, yeah, I'm comparing it to a top 10% gaming desktop being used for browsing here!).

In tests I did against other tablets (I am a web developer and have all common tablets available at work), this tablet is either faster than, or as fast as the Kindle, Nexus 10 and iPad 4... and at current prices it less than the cost of any of them, some by less than half the price!

*** IMPORTANT UPDATE ***
If you are using the tablet to view PDFs or long webpages, scrolling may be sluggish out of the box, and not at all as fast as you expect.
To fix it, you need to enable Developer Options, and then Force hardware acceleration of 2D displays. To do this:
Go 'Settings > About Tablet' (bottom option)
Go to 'Build number' (it will again be at the bottom). Tap this seven times.
Developer options are now enabled. You will see it above the 'About tablet' option you just used, and it looks like this: '{} Developer options'
Tap that, and then scroll down to 'Force GPU rendering'. Check this option.
Done: your Excite Pro is now as silky smooth in document viewing, and faster than an iPad for viewing complex pdfs. Result!
Bit annoying that Toshiba did not enable this option by default, given that the GPU is so fast (as soon as you enable GPU rendering the tablet feels like something twice as fast in many apps, not just pdf viewing!), but at least now you know how to unlock faster rendering.
*** END ***

Apart from blistering speed, the other best thing about this tablet is the ability to add a 64GB SD card. A nexus 10, Kindle or iPad don't have this ability, and you have to pay through the nose for the extra capacity. With the Toshiba, you get so much available storage on-board that you do not have to bother with all that cloud storage business! I am going through reading all the classic comic series (200AD, Sandman, etc), and that's about 30GB of comic .cbr files, but no problem with removable SD cards (if you are a non-geek, then the same applies if you have a large Kindle or pdf book collection). Similarly for ripped films: If you commute, you can get enough of them for a month's worth of 'a film a day' on the train with a 64GB SD card, and still have room for apps on the 16GB main memory... all with no need for any web access (and associated waiting). Oh, and Tegra 4 has hardware video enhancements, so the video looks great on this tablet, and the screen is a very useful 16:9 widescreen format. Bonus.

Sound is excellent: you get good balanced sound rather than tinny tablet audio. It sounds closer to a high end laptop rather than a tablet, and certainly far better than any other tablet I have used. It doesn't have as high a particularly max volume as my Toshiba laptop (also with Harmon Kardon speakers), but then again, the tablet never distorts or ends up sounding like public transport at school home time (if you've been there, you'll know what I mean - cell phones at max volume, making every song feel like it was recorded in a tin can). It's certainly good enough to listen to Spotify or Grooveshark in a quiet room.

For business users, you get an Office Word compatible wordprocesser (.doc, .docx) preinstalled, and with the separately available Bluetooth keyboard, have a pretty good traveling laptop replacement for the odd email and document writing on the train. Battery life is very good given the performance, and excellent if you set the power management on 'balanced'. Complex pdf files are also handled with ease, something that common 'non-gaming' tablets often have trouble with (in my experience) because of their shared graphic memory, slower main memory and narrower data bus (all of which cause sluggish page load and pdf rendering/scrolling issues). If you have WiFi share on your phone, the Toshiba can connect to it (and makes a stable connection), so you can easily have mobile internet access on the tablet via your phone 3G/4G, and of enough stability to maintain communications with the office. Update Maarch 2013: the toshiba keyboard case that matches this tablet is now vastly reduced, so if you want your tablet to double as a notebook, have a look at Toshiba - Keyboard - Bluetooth - English - black(PA5132E-1EKB), as they can be found for a third of the initial asking price! FWIW, Im actually writing this update via the PA5132.

The Toshiba has no problems with Flash web content. Less of a problem than it was a year ago, but having a Flash enabled tablet is always a good thing if (like me) you do use some of the more specialised websites (for example, I do a lot of video editing, and many of the available online tutorials are fairly old and still use Flash video, so I could not watch them on an iPad).

Unlike cheap Chinese tablets that you would typically get at this price point (i.e well under two hundred quid), you get British preinstalled software throughout so don't have to faff about changing USA locale and keyboard: its all set for the UK on default, and the preinstalled web links are to British sites rather than America-centric, etc.

Finally, its worth noting that Toshiba laptops are known as the most reliable laptops available (Toshiba usually beat Apple to second place... this comes via a yearly report for industry IT, tried to add the link but Amazon doesn't allow it). I have had the same Toshiba Satellite laptop since 2006 with no issues (including battery life!), and am hoping this tablet will show the same reliability. Given the Toshiba is one of the fastest high end gaming tablets right now, it will probably also be usable in 5 years time.

Downsides?
You don't get a USB cable to connect it to a PC (you need to buy it separately, couple of quid as its standard, and you probably already have one if you have an Android phone), and you cannot charge via USB (you have to use the included power supply).
Also, you can't unlock the tablet (so have to wait for Toshiba updates for new versions of Android, which will be later than Google direct releases on Nexus). The main issues with lack of unlocking ability is you can't overclock the tablet.... But you don't really need to with Tegra 4! You won't be able to install custom ROMs either, but I personally don't see the need as the tablet is now fast and stable as-is.
If you are into reading books/magazines as pdfs, bear in mind that the 16:9 screen format is more geared to films rather than books (which read better on the iPad 4:3 screen format, because that is closer to a printed page). This is an issue with all high end Androids though and not specific to this tablet. You can get round this by using the Kindle app to view your books as .mobi (which will reflow the text/images to fit the screen - google 'Calibre' to see how to convert books to .mobi and add them to the Kindle android app), but if you need pdfs and 16:9 is a problem, you probably need an iPad. The 16:9 format is the one to go for if films are your thing though, so its swings and roundabouts if - as with most people - you want both.
Oh, and when you first turn on the tablet, it comes uncharged. You have to plug in the power supply and then wait whilst it charges past 10%... the instructions don't tell you to wait, so it may look like its not booting if you are not familiar with Android.... don't panic, and just leave it charging for 20 minutes before switching it on just to be sure.

Overall, this is a cracking deal, and one of the best electronics deals I have seen on Amazon in 2013 (and 2014 January sales). Even though I have an existing 10 inch tablet, and I could have ebayed the Toshiba and made a fair profit, I'm already in love with it and it's a definite keeper... a nice Christmas present to myself!
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Jan 2014 13:22:59 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Jan 2014 16:12:44 GMT
ShammyB says:
Amazon did not allow me to put the price of the tablet in the main review: it was one hundred and sixty nine when I bought it. As I say in the main review, an absolute steal for a very fast, quality name 10.1 inch tablet that is comparable to the large memory capacity iPad 4/Nexus10 once you put a cheap SD card in... same build, quality and performance for getting on for a third of the price!

Also, the updates can be quite large, so you need to make a setting change so that the tablet doesn't shut down WiFi when it goes to sleep (otherwise the update will never load because the WiFi will keep turning off when the tablet goes to sleep):

Go Settings > Power management.
Select the custom setting.
Make sure 'Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep Only when plugged in' is selected as the first option
Click apply ang go out of settings.

In the home screen, drag down from the battery icon (top right), and in the menu that drops down, keep clicking con 'Power management' until it changes to 'Custom'.
Plug in the power supply so the tablet is on charge.
Go to settings > About tablet > System updates and select the update. Once it starts, you can make the tablet sleep by short-clicking the on button (top left of tablet, don't long-click as that turns the tablet off completely), and come back in three hours or so when the update has loaded (the Toshiba downloads seem to be very slow, and all the updates are half a gig, as they are almost all a full OS reinstall), and switch the tablet back on and start the update.... the tablet will install the firmware, then reboot and initialise the OS, and then you're done.

Posted on 4 Jan 2014 15:42:54 GMT
Hey, Mr. Bhangal: What a well texted lovely review! Thank you very much - it was a pleasure to read your novel! :)

Posted on 4 Jan 2014 17:28:21 GMT
DS says:
Nice review, sounds too good to be true... Well, mine is still on its way to Germany, we will see whether it is really so fantastic. I found a little mistake within your review. The tablet has a 16:10 format, not 16:9.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jan 2014 16:08:03 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Jan 2014 16:08:23 GMT
ShammyB says:
@Amazon Customer: you haven't seen my review for the Novo 9 tablet yet then: Ainol Novo 9 Spark Firewire Tablet PC - 9.7" Retina IPS III 2048x1536 Pixel Display, Quad Core A31 CPU, 8 Core GPU, 2GB RAM, 16GB ROM, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Dual Cameras 5.0MP, 10000mAh battery - includes HDMI cable and 8GB SD memory card. that ones three times as long :)

@DS: I'm finding that the tablet still does overheat in some very recent games (esp Dead Trigger 2), although it no longer crashes. Instead, it can start to stutter slightly after about 20 minutes as throttling starts to take place. I only noticed this today and have updated the review accordingly. I have one more firmware (from 19 Dec) to update - they take ages to download, see the first comment above - and will update the review again if this update makes a difference.

Posted on 2 Oct 2015 12:19:09 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Oct 2015 12:27:39 BDT
I can't believe this review. I have this tablet and the review is so innacurate. I can only put it down to the reviewer feeling smug about getting it for a good price (at the time). The overheating issues were NEVER solved. The nvidia chip in this tablet is well known for overheating. There is nothing anyone can do about it.

This tablet is not "blistering" in speed. It may have seemed fast at the time it was bought but it now seems painfully slow when you compare it to the current budget offerings from such people as Teclast. It benchmarks at around 20,000 on antutu iirc. Hardly "blistering" lol. And because of the overheating problems the processor throttles back often, making the tablet even slower in actual use than the benchmarks suggest. It only has 1.8Gb of memory, which is less than most other tablets sold today and it is always running out of memory if you run a few apps at the same time. This low memory problem also contributes to the slowness of this tablet.

I wouldn't call the sound excellent either. The quality is adequate. I get slightly better quality from my cheap chinese tablet. The volume is the biggest problem as it is not high enough for certain apps like iPlayer.

In short, this is one of the most innacurate reviews I have read of this tablet. But I guess that is how you become a top reviewer by rating items higher than you should.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Oct 2015 12:32:23 BDT
ShammyB says:
Hi. Overheating issues were fixed via a firmware update after release, and once this is applied the issues dont occur for me (the tablet throttles back to avoid overheating). The good thing about this (fixed) issue was that the tablet became susprisingly cheap due to the bad press, which is why I bought it.

The review is accurate for the time it was written, but you are right about Teclast; they make very good tablets. I now own the X98 Air dual boot (and have reviewed it on Amazon), and it is a better tablet than the Toshiba, but it is also a much more recent tablet, so there is nothing unexpected here!

Posted on 4 Jun 2016 23:13:35 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Jun 2016 23:14:26 BDT
Edik says:
Actually how many tablets in 2016 can offer that kind of resolution (at 10") even at the same price as this tablet was in mid 2013?

Pity the bootloader is locked but 4.3 is acceptable.

For reading PDF, email, browsing, OneNote, light facebook/social feeds it still is a pretty fine tablet.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Jun 2016 00:33:46 BDT
ShammyB says:
Yeah, its still a good tablet.

I use the Teclast X98 Air 3G more now but that's simply because I prefer the 4:3 screen ratio (better for reading comics and books).

The Excite is still good even today for game performance and sound quality, plus for watching movies. Battery life is also good.
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