Review Toshiba Excite Pro AT10LE-A-108 Tablet

Till Schönborn (translated by Markus Döpfert), 08/11/2013

With Tegra 4 to the top? All good things are worth waiting for: Nvidia's Tegra 4 SoC celebrates its long awaited debut. Toshiba's new 10-inch tablet Excite Pro combines the high-end chip with a high-resolution WOXGA display, tremendously fast 802.11 ac radio and speakers by Harman/Kardon. Our test reveals what other highlights the newcomer has in store.

For the original German review, see here.

More than half a year has passed by now since Nvidia introduced the eagerly anticipated Tegra 4 SoC at the CES in January. However the grandly announced chip has not been actually available to date. A circumstance that will not go unpunished in the fast moving and highly competitive ARM business and will probably have cost Nvidia one or two design awards.

With the Toshiba Excite Pro AT10LE there finally is a Tegra 4 device that has found its way to the local dealers. The 10-inch Android tablet is not only supposed to score with its fast quad-core SoC though, but also stands out of the masses in other disciplines: The IPS display has an extremely fine resolution of 2560x1600 pixels, the speakers come from Harman/Kardon and the WLAN module already radios with the latest high-speed standard 802.11 ac.

Considering these qualities, the entry level price of 429 Euros (~$568) for our 16 GB model does not seem overpriced, especially since a doubling of the memory for a surcharge of 20 Euros (~$26) is quite low-priced. For an additional 50 Euros (~$66) the tablet can also be ordered with a practical Bluetooth keyboard cover, which was not at our disposal for this test though. The same goes for the also available "Excite Write" with stylus and optional 3G module.

Given the price and the configuration, the Excite Pro is definitely geared towards the high-end competitors like the Apple iPad 4, the Google Nexus 10, or the Sony Xperia Tablet Z.

Please note: Starting with this review we have revised the valuation standard for virtual keyboards. For all the details click here.

Case

Wie wir testen - Gehäuse

Point structure on back side
Point structure on back side

The designers were not given much creative leeway for the layout of the new tablet. Therefore the Toshiba Excite Pro presents itself quite unobtrusively. The outer dimensions (26.1 x 17.9 centimeters) match almost exactly the 10-inch tablets of the competition; only the iPad 4 is slightly differently shaped due to its 4:3 display. Points are deducted for the thickness of 10.5 millimeters though, that let the Excite appear a little cumbersome, especially in comparison to the Xperia Tablet Z (6.9 millimeters). In addition to that the weight is with 630 grams relatively high but still within the acceptable range.

The silver-gray plastic covered back side creates a fitting contrast to the shiny black front side. To improve surface feel as well as grip the manufacturer equipped the surface with a fine point structure, which makes it possible to hold the device even with sweaty hands.

From a qualitative point of view Toshiba's tablet can only partly live up to the expectations of a high-end product. Even though the torsional rigidity is almost perfect, the case can be slightly bent in certain areas - accompanied by creaking sounds of deformation. Despite the proper processing, this discipline is won by the competitors Google and Apple.

Connectivity

Wie wir testen - Ausstattung

Unlike other tablets where the buyer sometimes has to pay outrageous surcharges for more memory capacity, the Toshiba Excite Pro can be easily and inexpensively extended via MicroSD slot. Thanks to SDXC and UHS-I support it is possible to use extremely fast models up to 64 GB of capacity without limitations. The according card reader is hidden under a small flap at the left side of the case, which also holds a Micro USB port as well as a Micro HDMI outlet in store. The latter serves as connector for external monitors or TVs. The USB port allows the use of mass storage devices, input devices (mouse, keyboard, game controller) or LAN adapters.

Left side: Headset socket, volume rocker, power connector
Left side: Headset socket, volume rocker, power connector
Underneath the flap: MicroSD slot, Micro-HDMI, Micro-USB
Underneath the flap: MicroSD slot, Micro-HDMI, Micro-USB
Top side: On-off switch
Top side: On-off switch

Software

Those who already own a more or less current Android device should have no problems with the handling of Toshiba's most recent tablet. We could not find any noteworthy differences in comparison to Google's Nexus 10, which is equipped with a "vanilla" version of the operating system. Is this a drawback? Not at all: Without an elaborate modified surface it should be quite easy for Toshiba to offer future OS updates in a relatively timely manner. So much for theory - unfortunately at the date of our review there was no more current version than Android 4.2.1 available.

Only a few of the additional preinstalled apps can really be called useful. A nice extra is the full version of ThinkFree Office 6.0, which is capable of many functions of the Microsoft Office programs Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The network-compatible Toshiba Media Player also turns out to be quite practical, although both tools can also be replaced by freely available alternatives.

GPS reception
GPS reception

Communication

The latest WLAN standard 802.11 ac has already found its way into current high-end smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S4, but the Excite Pro is the very first tablet. Unfortunately Toshiba does not reveal more than the manufacturer's name Broadcom. It is very likely though, to be the single stream solution BCM4335 with a maximum gross data rate of 433 Mbit/s. Beside the higher speed, the new version also promises improved connection stability - by default 802.11 ac radios in the less frequented 5 GHz band. The tablet handles our test with a common 802.11 n router without any complaints and proved its very steady reception quality. The support of practical features like Miracast (similar to Wireless Display) and Wi-Fi Direct (WLAN connections without a router) is equally pleasant.

Bluetooth 4.0 and a GPS receiver are also integrated. The latter ensures a fast and precise location determination outdoors.

Cameras

As is customary in the upper price segment, the tablet has one camera each on the back and front side at its disposal. A basic 1.3 megapixels webcam with face recognition serves for video chatting. Its highly mediocre picture quality cannot thrill us. In contrast to that stands the main camera with 8.0 megapixels: The 1/3-inch sensor with a fast F2.2 lens takes detailed pictures with vivid colors, especially during daylight. The video recordings are, with their 1080p resolution, also quite impressive. They even thought of an image stabilizer, although it is only a software solution.

Apart from well-known Android 4.2 features like HDR or panorama settings, Toshiba also integrated a so called TruCapture function. It serves to optimize the perspective and contrast of photographed text (e.g. of whiteboards, but also of books or documents) to ensure the best possible legibility. In practice this works quite well, but miracles cannot be expected.

Front camera (1.3 MP)
Front camera (1.3 MP)
Main camera (8.0 MP)
Main camera (8.0 MP)
Front camera Galaxy S4
Front camera Galaxy S4
Main camera Galaxy S4
Main camera Galaxy S4
Reference: EOS 600D
Reference: EOS 600D

Accessories

The tablet, a 36 watts power supply and some brochures: We could not find more in the packaging. Further accessories like an adapter for the Micro HDMI outlet is widely available on the market with third-party suppliers.

Warranty

In consideration of the high buying price, the short warranty period of just 12 months is inadequate. Toshiba offers at least a free on-site pickup service if the repair was requested via service hotline. However competitor Samsung shows how it is really done: Every tablet comes with a 2 year manufacturer's warranty.

Input Devices

Wie wir testen - Eingabegeräte

The only pre-installed keyboard is the common Android keyboard as is also the case for the tablets of the Nexus series and many other competitors. Owing to the big keys and the intuitive layout, even beginners can type quickly after a short time of familiarization. Light input is captured exactly by the 10 finger touchscreen and instantaneously converted.

As alternative to the classical typing, the letters can simply be swept over with your fingers ("Swype"), or you fall back on the surprisingly reliable voice input. Naturally it is also possible to obtain other keyboards from the Play Store.

Keyboard (landscape format)
Keyboard (landscape format)
Keyboard (portrait format)
Keyboard (portrait format)

Display

Wie wir testen - Display

Concerning sharpness and resolution of the display, no other tablet has been able to keep up with the Nexus 10. The Excite Pro is the first to do so: An enormous 2560x1200 pixels are displayed along a diagonal of 10.1-inches. Typical for Android: A little bit is "lost" due to the controls of the system. This results in a pixel density of nearly 300 dpi. The retina pioneer Apple falls back with "only" 264 dpi for the iPad 4 as does Sony's Xperia Tablet Z which only has 224 dpi to offer. Nevertheless it is also quite difficult to detect single pixels of these models.

280
cd/m²
309
cd/m²
300
cd/m²
290
cd/m²
329
cd/m²
314
cd/m²
303
cd/m²
312
cd/m²
314
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 329 cd/m²
Average: 305.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 85 %
Center on Battery: 329 cd/m²
Black: 0.35 cd/m²
Contrast: 940:1

The built-in IPS panel scores further with a decent brightness which amounts to a maximum of 306 cd/m². If requested an integrated brightness sensor takes over the control of the backlight. A manual setting is also possible though. Combined with a substantial black value (0.35 cd/m²), the tablet achieves an excellent contrast ratio of 940:1, which significantly improves movie and gaming experiences. No matter if iPad or Nexus: The competition cannot do it better.

The manufacturer should have been a little bit more careful when calibrating the display. With a color temperature of 7805 Kelvin the display is distinctly too cool. Color fidelity (Delta E 6.73) and grayscale representation (Delta E 7.99) can also merely be found at the lower end of the mid-range. Those points of criticism should not be overrated though: Without a chance of direct comparison most users will probably not even notice any difference.

CalMAN CMS
CalMAN CMS
CalMAN Color Checker
CalMAN Color Checker
CalMAN Color Saturation
CalMAN Color Saturation
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
Reflections under direct sunlight
Reflections under direct sunlight

A thin layer of hardened glass ("hardcoating glass") protects the display against scratches and damages, but not against annoying reflections during outdoor use. Despite the substantial background illumination, websites and other text are in particular difficult to read under direct sunlight - a well know problem of almost all current tablets. In the shade the Excite can be used without significant limitations.

Viewing angles Toshiba Excite Pro
Viewing angles Toshiba Excite Pro

Since an IPS panel is even often part of the standard configuration of the lower priced devices, viewing angle stability is as a rule not an issue. Even though colors and contrast slightly lose their intensity from extremely high viewing angles, the screen content remains discernible and most widely undistorted. However OLED displays are just a bit better in this discipline.

Performance

Wie wir testen - Leistung

For a long time Nvidia's Tegra 3 was one of the most popular tablet SoCs in the mid- and upper-price range. Compared to Qualcomm's Snapdragon series the chip was recently not competitive though. In addition to that, the barely slower but significantly more energy-efficient and cost-effective Cortex-A7 SoCs by MediaTek & Co cannibalized the sales further.

The new Tegra 4 is supposed to catapult Nvidia back to the top of the performance ranking. The four Cortex-A9 cores of the predecessor had to make way for a Cortex-A15 quad-core which not only promises a significantly improved per-MHz performance but also higher clock rates of up to 1.9 GHz (Excite Pro: Tegra T40S, 1.8 GHz). Additionally a so called "companion core" ("4+1") was installed to lower power consumption during periods of low demand. This is another Cortex-A15 whose maximum clock rate has been limited to roughly 800 MHz and its core optimized for lower voltages.

The new graphics unit is barely less impressive than the CPU. Nvidia has sextupled its amount of shader units from 12 to 72, which divide into 24 vertex and 48 pixel shaders. A real unified-shader architecture, as can be found among the competition, will probably not be installed until 2014 with the Tegra 5 ("Logan"). Therefore GPU computing is at least partly denied for the Tegra 4.

The connection to the main memory works via a 2x 32-bit big dual-channel interface, which was equipped by Toshiba with 2 GB DDR3L-1600. The SoC, which was made in TSMC's 28 nanometers HPL process, should have a TDP of about 5 to 6 watts; unfortunately Nvidia doesn't publish official information just like the competition.

System information Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108

Let's start our benchmarks with a variety of various CPU tests. This time the Excite Pro, or to be more precise the Tegra 4, has to compete against other high-end SoCs from Apple (A6X) and Qualcomm (Snapdragon 600 and S4 Pro). On top of that, the Nexus 10 (Exynos 5250), which is also based on the Cortex-A15 architecture, completes the competition, even though it only has two cores.

No matter if Geekbench or Linpack: Nvidia's new miracle weapon ranks with a significant edge first on the performance list in every single test. Despite the fact that the gap varies a little, even the strongest competitor, namely the Samsung Galaxy S4 with a 1.9 GHz S600, can be kept off by 20%. It has to be considered, though, that a tablet offers a much bigger margin for energy-consuming SoCs, which makes this comparison not really fair.

Geekbench 2 - 32 Bit
Total Score
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
3931 Points ∼32%
Google Nexus 10
2591 Points ∼21% -34%
Apple iPad 4
1768 Points ∼14% -55%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
2065 Points ∼17% -47%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
3216 Points ∼26% -18%
Integer
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
2611 Points ∼20%
Google Nexus 10
1794 Points ∼14% -31%
Apple iPad 4
1330 Points ∼10% -49%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
1528 Points ∼12% -41%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
2272 Points ∼17% -13%
Floating Point
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
6091 Points ∼37%
Google Nexus 10
3916 Points ∼24% -36%
Apple iPad 4
2262 Points ∼14% -63%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
3280 Points ∼20% -46%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
5171 Points ∼31% -15%
Memory
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
3862 Points ∼46%
Google Nexus 10
2480 Points ∼30% -36%
Apple iPad 4
2053 Points ∼25% -47%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
1637 Points ∼20% -58%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
2703 Points ∼33% -30%
Stream
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
1137 Points ∼13%
Google Nexus 10
968 Points ∼11% -15%
Apple iPad 4
1012 Points ∼11% -11%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
556 Points ∼6% -51%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
704 Points ∼8% -38%
Linpack for Android
Single Thread
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
533.97 MFLOPS ∼78%
Google Nexus 10
134.173 MFLOPS ∼20% -75%
Apple iPad 4
382.4 MFLOPS ∼56% -28%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
248.76 MFLOPS ∼36% -53%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
304.848 MFLOPS ∼45% -43%
Multi Thread
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
746.313 MFLOPS ∼68%
Google Nexus 10
189.94 MFLOPS ∼17% -75%
Apple iPad 4
654.29 MFLOPS ∼60% -12%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
516.44 MFLOPS ∼47% -31%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
617.879 MFLOPS ∼56% -17%
Legend
      Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108 Nvidia Tegra 4, NVIDIA GeForce Tegra 4, 16 GB SSD
      Google Nexus 10 Samsung Exynos 5250 Dual, ARM Mali-T604 MP4, 32 GB SSD
      Apple iPad 4 Apple A6x, PowerVR SGX554MP4, 32 GB SSD
      Sony Xperia Tablet Z Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064A, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB iNAND Flash
      Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505 Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB iNAND Flash

In everyday life, tablets are above all used for one purpose: Browsing the internet. While computers and laptops have already offered enough power reserves for complex websites for years, ARM SoCs have just slowly started to explore this field.

After extensive tests with the preinstalled standard browser Google Chrome, we can establish: The Tegra 4 makes the Toshiba Excite the fastest Android tablet that is currently available on the market - at least until Apple's next iPad or Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 is available. Whether it is big sites with many pictures or a variety of tabs, the device barely breaks out in a sweat. Smooth zooming and scrolling are still ensured.

Website are even still relatively quickly called up when the energy saving mode, which limits the CPU clock rate to roughly 900 MHz, is activated. Now scrolling causes slight stutters. This could be caused by the high display resolution.

Sunspider
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
837.1 ms * ∼8%
Google Nexus 10
1345.7 ms * ∼13% -61%
Apple iPad 4
895.3 ms * ∼8% -7%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
1887.5 ms * ∼18% -125%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
1095.4 ms * ∼10% -31%
Octane V1 - Total Score
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
4576 Points ∼22%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
1232 Points ∼6% -73%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
2290 Points ∼11% -50%
Peacekeeper
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
1144 Points ∼18%
Google Nexus 10
652 Points ∼11% -43%
Apple iPad 4
915 Points ∼15% -20%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
322 Points ∼5% -72%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
555 Points ∼9% -51%
Legend
      Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108 Nvidia Tegra 4, NVIDIA GeForce Tegra 4, 16 GB SSD
      Google Nexus 10 Samsung Exynos 5250 Dual, ARM Mali-T604 MP4, 32 GB SSD
      Apple iPad 4 Apple A6x, PowerVR SGX554MP4, 32 GB SSD
      Sony Xperia Tablet Z Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064A, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB iNAND Flash
      Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505 Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB iNAND Flash

* ... smaller is better

Different from browser benchmarks, where the CPU performance is primarily important, Quadrant and AnTuTu evaluate the performance of the entire system. Once again we obtain a clear picture: More performance is currently not available in the ARM section. Even the Galaxy S4, which has a slightly higher clocking Snapdragon 600, has to acknowledge defeat by a little in both tests.

The built-in flash memory presents itself also as very decent, but not to the same extent that the best competitors can. 10.7 GB of the 16 GB eMMC drive is available for the user's data. It can read at a maximum of 52 MB/s and write at 11 MB/s. This makes the Excite Pro only half as fast in comparison to the Google Nexus 10. Toshiba's tablet reveals another small weakness when writing small 4K data.

Quadrant Standard Edition 2.0
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
12872 points ∼54%
Google Nexus 10
4376 points ∼18% -66%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
12566 points ∼52% -2%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
7680 points ∼32% -40%
AnTuTu Benchmark v3 - Total Score
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
27560 Points ∼77%
Google Nexus 10
13563 Points ∼38% -51%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
23181 Points ∼65% -16%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
20197 Points ∼56% -27%
AndroBench 3
Sequential Read 256KB
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
52.37 MB/s ∼31%
Google Nexus 10
99.53 MB/s ∼59% +90%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
75.1 MB/s ∼45% +43%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
48.65 MB/s ∼29% -7%
Sequential Write 256KB
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
11.38 MB/s ∼20%
Google Nexus 10
20.02 MB/s ∼35% +76%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
13.11 MB/s ∼23% +15%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
16.04 MB/s ∼28% +41%
Random Read 4KB
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
8.72 MB/s ∼42%
Google Nexus 10
10.35 MB/s ∼49% +19%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
12.28 MB/s ∼59% +41%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
11.1 MB/s ∼53% +27%
Random Write 4KB
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
0.58 MB/s ∼20%
Google Nexus 10
1.27 MB/s ∼43% +119%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
1.13 MB/s ∼39% +95%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
1.19 MB/s ∼41% +105%
Legend
      Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108 Nvidia Tegra 4, NVIDIA GeForce Tegra 4, 16 GB SSD
      Apple iPad 4 Apple A6x, PowerVR SGX554MP4, 32 GB SSD
      Google Nexus 10 Samsung Exynos 5250 Dual, ARM Mali-T604 MP4, 32 GB SSD
      Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505 Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB iNAND Flash
      Sony Xperia Tablet Z Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064A, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB iNAND Flash

Given the extremely high display resolution, the tablet also needs a respectively fast graphics unit to display games and 3D applications fluently. The GPU of the installed Tegra 4 variant T40S possibly clocks a little beneath the permissible maximum of 672 MHz. However, the theoretical computation power should suffice to still beat most of the other currently available ARM SoCs.

Indeed: With a slight advance Toshiba overtrumps the Mali-T604 of the Nexus 10 as well as the Adreno 320 in the Galaxy S4 and the Xperia Tablet Z in 3DMark and GLBenchmark. The only SoC Toshiba cannot pass is the PowerVR SGX554MP4 of the iPad 4: Owing to the quad-channel interface, the A6X has a third more of memory bandwidth, which is especially worthwhile for graphics applications. This suffices to draw level with the Apple tablet which is not too bad. However, the Tegra 4 shouldn't be a match for the Adreno 330 of the upcoming Snapdragon 800.

GLBenchmark 2.5 - 1920x1080 Egypt HD Offscreen Fixed Time
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
43 fps ∼8%
Google Nexus 10
36 fps ∼7% -16%
Apple iPad 4
43 fps ∼8% 0%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
26 fps ∼5% -40%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
35 fps ∼6% -19%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7 - 1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
16 fps ∼2%
Google Nexus 10
12.4 fps ∼2% -22%
Apple iPad 4
16 fps ∼2% 0%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
12 fps ∼2% -25%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
15 fps ∼2% -6%
3DMark (2013)
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Graphics
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
13478 Points ∼2%
Apple iPad 4
10742 Points ∼1% -20%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
10011 Points ∼1% -26%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
11395 Points ∼2% -15%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics
Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
7948 Points ∼3%
Apple iPad 4
6442 Points ∼2% -19%
Sony Xperia Tablet Z
5359 Points ∼2% -33%
Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505
6110 Points ∼2% -23%
Legend
      Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108 Nvidia Tegra 4, NVIDIA GeForce Tegra 4, 16 GB SSD
      Google Nexus 10 Samsung Exynos 5250 Dual, ARM Mali-T604 MP4, 32 GB SSD
      Apple iPad 4 Apple A6x, PowerVR SGX554MP4, 32 GB SSD
      Sony Xperia Tablet Z Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro APQ8064A, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB iNAND Flash
      Samsung Galaxy S4 GT-I9505 Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 APQ8064T, Qualcomm Adreno 320, 16 GB iNAND Flash

Synthetic benchmarks are one thing, but how does the tablet handle current games from the Android Play Store? Among others we tested Temple Run 2 and Shadowgun, whose complex graphics are smoothly and flawlessly displayed. However, we detected intermittent minor graphic errors in the menu of Real Racing 3. These should not lower the amusement level though. We hope that future system updates also bring the graphics driver up to date to resolve these issues as fast as possible. However, there is still enough power available for the game: By default the Tegra SoC sets the level of detail to the lowest, but the game also runs quite smoothly on the highest level.

Real Racing 3
Real Racing 3
Shadowgun
Shadowgun
Temple Run 2
Temple Run 2

Emissions

Wie wir testen - Emissionen

Temperature

A slight temperature rise is already detectable during idle or with simple multimedia applications running. The upper left area of the back side reaches with 36 °C the highest temperature - apparently that is where the Tegra chip is situated. In our opinion this is a very unfavorable spot: The right-handers who hold the tablet with the left hand touch the hottest spots of the surface directly with their fingertips. Our advice: Simply hold the Excite Pro upside down. It would have been better though, if Toshiba had placed the SoC in the center of the device.

While the temperature at low load can still be considered bearable, nobody wants to hold the tablet in their hand for longer periods at full load - at least not around the area of the previously mentioned hotspot. The same applies for the competition of this performance range though. Those who choose low temperatures over the best performance should look for a device with a Cortex-A7 SoC.

 32.2 °C30.4 °C29.5 °C 
 32.1 °C30.4 °C30.0 °C 
 32.6 °C32.4 °C33.2 °C 
Maximum: 33.2 °C
Average: 31.4 °C
29.0 °C32.2 °C35.4 °C
31.0 °C33.1 °C35.8 °C
31.1 °C33.8 °C32.7 °C
Maximum: 35.8 °C
Average: 32.7 °C
Power Supply (max.)  32.1 °C | Room Temperature 23 °C | Voltcraft IR-350

Throttling and other Abnormalities

Throttling during longer periods of full load
Throttling during longer periods of full load

Due to the relatively strong heating, we examined if the performance is influenced by throttling. Right after the start this is not yet the case: As an experiment we conducted the 3D benchmarks at 7 °C in a refrigerator but were not able to ascertain any improvements.

When the device is used to the full for longer periods of time - depending on ambient temperature and application this takes only a few minutes - the power value start to decrease continuously. After almost 10 runs of the current 3DMark the initial score of 7,948 points dropped to 3,527 points, which is equivalent to a reduction of more than 50%. Admittedly the test conditions were with an ambient temperature of 25 °C not ideal, but a tablet has to be designed for these conditions as well. Subjectively speaking, we perceived the performance loss during games considerably less dramatic. This could be owed to the fact that a throttled Tegra 4 is still an extremely fast SoC.

However, the stability problems, which we encountered during our test with various applications, are unacceptable. The screen not only froze multiple times during 3D benchmarks, but also while browsing. The only possibility to reactivate the system was by rebooting it. We are in touch with Toshiba to sort out the cause of this behavior.

Speakers

Blaring speakers are a thing of the past: The Excite Pro offers real stereo sound with two 1 watt speakers by Harman/Kardon. Spaciousness, resonance and maximum volume level rank among the best that we have heard from tablets so far - improving music and movie experiences substantially. Over-modulation and clanging are nonexistent even at high volume levels. A Micro HDMI and a common jack socket (3.5 millimeters) with good sound qualities are available when the sound needs to be sent to an external playback device.

Energy Management

Wie wir testen - Akkulaufzeit

Power Consumption

Nvidia's previous SoC, the Tegra 3, was already not renowned for its energy-efficiency. The Tegra 4 seems to carry on this tradition: While measuring an acceptable 2.5 to 6.1 watts during idle, we measure an enormous 9.3 to 13.2 watts during full load. Even the iPad 4 is with a maximum of 12.5 watts a little bit less power thirsty, let alone the Nexus 10 (9.4 watts) and the Xperia Z (5.6 watts). The included power supply is also surprisingly powerful: 36 watts would be sufficiently sized for some ultrabooks.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0 / 0.2 Watt
Idle 2.5 / 4.7 / 6.1 Watt
Load 9.3 / 13.2 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

Toshiba tries to quench the thirst for energy of the SoC with a powerful 33 Wh battery. Even though this gives the Excite Pro nearly the same premises as the Nexus 10 (34 Wh), the runtimes turn out to be significantly shorter: During idle (minimum brightness, only WLAN activated) the tablet runs out of energy after a short 11 hours and 12 minutes - 6 hours faster than Google's tablet. The gap is roughly equally big in our WLAN test (150 cd/m², calling up websites and videos). The 7 hours and 7 minutes of the Excite stands in contrast to almost 11 hours of the Nexus 10 and about 9 hours of the iPad 4 (42.5 Wh). At full load (maximum brightness, app stability test) the runtime drops to 4 hours and 19 minutes, which would have been even lower if it wasn't for the throttling.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
11h 12min
WiFi Surfing
7h 07min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
8h 19min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 19min

Wie wir testen - Fazit

Verdict

Toshiba Excite Pro AT10LE-A-108
Toshiba Excite Pro AT10LE-A-108

The highs and lows of Toshiba's Excite Pro AT10LE-A-108 lie very close together. When looking at the technical data there probably is no better tablet for only 429 Euros (~$568): The outstanding application and 3D performance, an extremely fine-grained WQXGA display and the support of the brand-new WLAN standard 802.11 ac - this combination can neither be found in the iPad 4 nor Google's Nexus 10. Other advantages of our test candidate are the great speakers and the practical MicroSD slot.

Unfortunately there is a big "but" coming: Nvidia's Tegra 4 SoC is the boon and bane of the tablet. The enormous performance is countered with an equally impressive power consumption, which does not only reduce battery runtimes. Ultimately the Excite thwarts itself because the chip's only way to stop overheating is by throttling. Fundamentally this is not uncommon but not to this extent. We hope that at least the stability problems are caused by software bugs.

Can we still recommend buying this tablet under these circumstances? In our opinion: With some limitations yes, given that the crashes are eradicated. During the colder season the temperature problems should turn out less severe. Furthermore the problem mainly applies to complex 3D games anyway. Those who primarily want to browse and use multimedia application should have a look at the Excite Pro.

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In Review: Toshiba Excite Pro AT10LE-A-108. Test sample courtesy of Toshiba Germany.
In Review: Toshiba Excite Pro AT10LE-A-108. Test sample courtesy of Toshiba Germany.

Specifications

Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108

:: Processor
Nvidia Tegra 4 1.8 GHz
:: Memory
2048 MB, DDR3L-1600
:: Graphics adapter
:: Display
10.1 inch 16:10, 2560x1600 pixel, capacitive multitouch screen, IPS, LED backlight, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
16 GB SSD, 16 GB eMMC, 10.7 GB free
:: Connections
1 USB 2.0, 1 HDMI, Audio Connections: 3.5 millimeters jack, Card Reader: MicroSDXC, Sensors: GPS, acceleration sensor, gyroscope, brightness sensor, compass,
:: Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a b g n ac), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 10.5 x 261 x 179
:: Weight
0.63 kg Power Supply: 0.09 kg
:: Battery
33 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 4230 mAh, 2 cells
:: Price
429 Euro
:: Operating System
Android 4.2
:: Additional features
Webcam: Rear: 8 MP w/ autofocus and LED flash, Front: 1.3 MP, Speakers: Harman Kardon stereo speakers, DTS, Toshiba Sound Enhancement, Keyboard: virtual, 36 watts power supply, 12 Months Warranty

 

Toshiba's latest Android tablet...
Toshiba's latest Android tablet...
...is called Excite Pro...
...is called Excite Pro...
...and is really something.
...and is really something.
Before all the other manufacturers...
Before all the other manufacturers...
...Toshiba deploys Nvidia's Tegra 4 SoC.
...Toshiba deploys Nvidia's Tegra 4 SoC.
Regarding the sound...
Regarding the sound...
...Toshiba relies on the specialists from Harman/Kardon.
...Toshiba relies on the specialists from Harman/Kardon.
The two stereo speakers have quite some power.
The two stereo speakers have quite some power.
Underneath this flap...
Underneath this flap...
...is among other things the card reader.
...is among other things the card reader.
The quality of the case is overall acceptable,...
The quality of the case is overall acceptable,...
...however the Excite is relatively thick.
...however the Excite is relatively thick.
Unlike the mediocre front camera...
Unlike the mediocre front camera...
...the rear 8.0 MP sensor takes quite decent pictures and videos.
...the rear 8.0 MP sensor takes quite decent pictures and videos.
The tablet is shipped with Android 4.2.1.
The tablet is shipped with Android 4.2.1.
The user surface was not modified,...
The user surface was not modified,...
...only a few apps like a Media Player as well as...
...only a few apps like a Media Player as well as...
... an office program were preinstalled by Toshiba.
... an office program were preinstalled by Toshiba.
Simple tasks like videos...
Simple tasks like videos...
...or browsing are no challenge for the Excite.
...or browsing are no challenge for the Excite.
The Tegra 4 also masters the more demanding games without any problems.
The Tegra 4 also masters the more demanding games without any problems.
Unfortunately the tablet gets very hot...
Unfortunately the tablet gets very hot...
...and starts to throttle.
...and starts to throttle.
The accompanying 36 watts power supply...
The accompanying 36 watts power supply...
...could even power a small notebook.
...could even power a small notebook.

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Links

Compare Prices

Pro

+Very fast SoC
+802.11ac-WLAN
+MicroSD slot
+Extremely high display resolution
+Good main camera
+Powerful speakers
 

Cons

-Strong heat development
-Throttling and stability problems
-Only 12 months of warranty
-Relatively thick

Shortcut

What we like

The Excite Pro AT10LE convinces with a high performance, its extensive equipment as well as its excellent display - and all of that for an absolutely fair price. Small details like the integrated card reader or the 802.11 ac WLAN let the tablet stand out from the competition.

What we'd like to see

A fast SoC is not very useful when the resulting waste heat causes severe throttling. Without a better cooling system, possibly with active cooling, the performance of the Tegra 4 goes unused.

What surprises us

It is remarkable what powerful sound the manufacturer is able to get from the little speakers of the tablet. The cooperation with the HiFi specialists from Harman/Kardon proves to be a real overvalue for the customer.

The competition

Already a few months old but technically speaking still up to date are the competitors Google Nexus 10, Apple iPad 4 and Sony Xperia Tablet Z. Alternatives with Windows are, for example, the Dell XPS 10 or the Microsoft Surface RT.

 

Rating

Toshiba eXcite Pro AT10LE-A-108
04/01/2014 v4
Till Schönborn

Chassis
82%
Keyboard
69 / 80 → 86%
Pointing Device
89%
Connectivity
50 / 70 → 71%
Weight
81 / 88 → 85%
Battery
91%
Display
82%
Games Performance
57 / 80 → 71%
Application Performance
52 / 70 → 74%
Temperature
80%
Noise
100%
Audio
86 / 91 → 95%
Camera
77 / 85 → 91%
Average
77%
85%
Tablet *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Toshiba Excite Pro AT10LE-A-108 Tablet
Author: Till Schönborn, 2013-08-11 (Update: 2013-08-13)