LAS VEGAS: Super thin, super light, rather sexy. It's hard to believe that those are the words one would use to describe a new tablet from Toshiba, the company that brought us the hefty, too-thick Thrive, 10-inch Android Tablet. Yet, I challenge you to look at and, if you’re lucky, hold the new .3-inch-thick, 1.2 lb Toshiba Excite 10-inch Android tablet, introduced here at CES 2012, and come up with a different set of superlatives.
With its burnished, magnesium alloy back, gorilla-glass face and unique channel trim, Toshiba‘s latest tablet entry stands apart from the pack. It is, for now, the thinnest tablet, besting the slim iPad by .04 inches. It's also a tad lighter. The iPad 2 weighs 1.35 pounds and the Excite is just 1.2 lbs. It honestly feels impossibly light, but, thanks to the rigid back, not flimsy.
Perhaps more surprising is the number of buttons and ports Toshiba squeezed onto this tiny frame. That’s right, ports. Like the much-thicker Thrive before it, the Excite offers a pleasing set of inputs and outputs, including micro-SD, Micro USB, Micro HDMI and, of course an audio jack.
Buttons are hidden along the edge in a channel that runs the full perimeter of the device. In fact, they’re almost too hidden; I noticed that I couldn't always see where the power/wake button resided. The Excite also has a physical volume button—a welcome choice when compared to the market's second most popular tablet: the Amazon Kindle Fire. It has just one button for power and no ports beyond the audio Jack.
Like the iPad 2, the Excite packs two cameras, though the Excite’s are somewhat more powerful: 2 megapixels on the front and 5 megapixels on the back. Its 10.1-inch screen supports a 1280 x 800 resolution and sports an anti-smudge coating on its surface (though Toshiba execs admit that nothing will ever keep these screens smudge-free) Inside, the Excite is running a 1.2 GHz dual-core Texas Instruments CPU and 1 GB of RAM.
As for the mobile OS, it will be a “stock” Android experience, though Toshiba has not yet decided if it'll release the uber-light slate with Honeycomb or the new Android 4.0. It is, though, built to support Ice Cream Sandwich. While Toshiba doesn’t mess with the Android interface — and earns a Google logo on the device, in part, because of it, the Excite will feature some special Toshiba apps for media and file management.
Final pricing has not been set, though the Excite should be in the $499 to $599 for the base configuration when it ships sometime early this year.