Introducing the Toshiba Excite 7.7

While Toshiba's tablets so far haven't been necessarily bad, like most Android tablets they just haven't really set the world on fire. The only breakthroughs in this market seem to have been ASUS with their Transformers and Amazon's Kindle Fire with its hyper-aggressive pricetag; frankly, the iPad's market stranglehold is a tough nut to crack. That's why I like seeing what Toshiba's up to; most people don't notice when they experiment, but with their Excite line they definitely seem to be doing just that.

Toshiba produced the only 13.3" tablet at the top of the Excite line, but in the smallest form factor, the 7.7", they've gone a different route. The Excite 7.7 eschews the IPS panels most commonly found on tablets in favor of a 1280x800 AMOLED display. The result is a visual experience that's definitely eyecatching compared to other tablets on the market, but can it really justify the $499 starting price?

So here's an interesting question for you: why is the desktop/notebook/case guy handling a tablet review instead of someone like Jason, Anand, Brian, or Vivek? The simple answer is that as someone who doesn't use tablets with any great frequency, I get a slightly different perspective much as Jarred did when he helped review the Acer Iconia A500. This is a big, fresh market that's only going to get bigger with the release of Windows 8; my experience just seeing what HP and Toshiba had in store for that launch is proof enough of that. Just like smartphones have gradually eroded the market for dedicated portable gaming consoles, tablets (and ultrabooks to an extent) have been eating away the market for netbooks. Whether you like it or not, this is the new boss.

With the Excite 7.7, Toshiba is taking the basic foundations of Android tablets and banking on a crucial difference: the AMOLED display. AMOLED is an interesting display technology choice for a tablet; thus far it's been found essentially almost entirely on smartphones, but it has a lot to offer in a bigger size. So while the Excite's 1280x800 resolution isn't necessarily competitive with the substantially higher resolutions of bigger tablets, it makes up for it by having an essentially unmeasurable contrast ratio. When a pixel on an AMOLED display is off, it's off, so there's no calculating a contrast ratio when you have to divide by zero.

Tablet Specification Comparison
  Toshiba Excite 7.7 Apple iPad (2012) Amazon Kindle Fire Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9
Dimensions 205.7 x 134.6 x 7.6mm 241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4mm 190 x 120 x 11.4mm 230.9 x 157.8 x 8.6mm
Display 7.7-inch 1280x800 AMOLED 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536 IPS 7-inch 1024 x 600 IPS 8.9-inch 1280 x 800 PLS
Weight 349g 652g 413g 447g
Processor NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.3GHz (4 x Cortex A9 + 1 x LP Cortex A9) Apple A5X (2 x Cortex A9, PowerVR SGX 543MP4) 1GHz TI OMAP 4430 (2 x Cortex A9) 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 (2 x Cortex A9)
Memory 1GB 1GB 512MB 1GB
Storage 16GB 16GB 8GB 16GB
Pricing $499 $499 $199 $469

The Excite 7.7's biggest problem from the get go is that price tag, but note that it's among the thinnest and lightest tablets available, easily besting the Amazon Kindle Fire. Thankfully the $499 MSRP isn't what's materializing in retail; a visit to NewEgg reveals the 32GB model available for $509 while the 16GB model is just $429. That's still a chunk of change, but at least it takes it out of striking distance of the incumbent iPad. Weighing about half as much probably doesn't hurt either.

Specifications on the Excite 7.7 are fairly modest; it's Tegra 3 as we're accustomed to for Ice Cream Sandwich-powered Android tablets and features a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. Wired connectivity is handled by a micro-USB port, micro-SD slot, and headphone/mic combo jack; wireless is bog standard 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0, with no mobile broadband options. The shell itself is attractive, though, with a black finish around the front display, two speakers on the bottom surrounding the charging port, and an etched aluminum backing.

Display and Performance
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  • Kegetys - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    How are the OLED black spots/blobs on this screen? As far as I know, every OLED screen has or can have them and they can be very distracting ie. when watching video in the dark. For phones its tolerable since the screen is so small anyway but a tablet it would surely be very annoying.
  • Jaybus - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    It is not true that all OLED screens have black spots. It is simply a matter of binning. Screens that don't pass QC due to black spots are sold cheaper. It is just like LCDs. LCDs with a few dead pixels are sold cheaper and still end up in devices. It doesn't mean that all LCDs have dead pixels.
  • teiglin - Thursday, August 30, 2012 - link

    From reading various feedback on xda, the standard pattern (which mine also has) is four circles, each about 2" in diameter, and my device has these as well as maybe 3-4 other small (<0.5") blobs. However, I don't notice them even when watching movies in the dark at minimum brightness; for me to see them, it requires a solid black or dark gray screen at near-minimum brightness. The only times it comes up in actual use is when I'm reading and there is a page with almost no text--even the small illumination given by minimum brightness white text hides the irregularities.

    I've read that some people have perfect screens, and I've read that some people's screens are worse, and of course, some people are just more and less sensitive to these issues. So YMMV.
  • B3an - Friday, August 31, 2012 - link

    Way too expensive.

    And no Android tablets are interesting anymore as far as i'm concerned. I totally agree with the reviewer in that the OS is an unintuitive mess that gets bogged down easy and needs excessive processing power in order to function remotely well. Android was the only option before to anyone smart enough to not buy Apple. But now that Win 8 or even RT tablets are coming i have zero interest in a Android tablet.
  • sos_sifou - Saturday, September 1, 2012 - link

    sir, the main device you should compare the Toshiba 7.7 with, is the original samsung galaxy tab 7.7
  • adsgasdgsadg - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    Dear Fellow Excite Owners:

    PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION! Only 177 more signers to go!

    The reason we cannot root the Toshiba Excite currently, is because Toshiba decided to LOCK THE BOOTLOADER!In order to be able to root, Toshiba needs to get their developers to unlock the bootloader! To get Toshiba to agree to do this, we need to get this petition signed!

    Please sign it for yourself and the benefit of all Toshiba Excite (AT300, AT305, etc.) owners so we can get this tablet rooted!

    You need root to:

    * Increase battery life (JuiceDefender)
    * Improve battery life (AutoKiller Memory Optimizer)
    * Restore/make backups (Titanium Backup)
    * Manage startup (Startup Auditor)
    * Manage autorun programs (Autorun Manager)
    * Increase SD speed (SD Speed Increase)
    * Use full features of Ad-Blockers (Droid Ad-Free)
    * Use Firewall* Compile apps
    * Pair PS3 controller
    * Connect as bluetooth keyboard for PS3 (BluePutDroid)
    * And many more things you need root access for!

  • my baby - Friday, April 26, 2013 - link

    Toshiba Excite 7.7 is one of the best small Android tablets currently available. It's also thin, light, boasts the latest version of Android (4.0), and includes a microSD slot for storage expansion. I like this tablet capable for
  • my baby - Monday, April 29, 2013 - link

    Toshiba learned a lot from the Thrive and they're clearly willing to experiment a bit with the technology if the AMOLED display is any
  • Jenaii - Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - link

    that is right, the tablet market is targeting high performance tablet but that doesn't mean this tablet is out you may check the further review @
  • Jenaii - Thursday, May 2, 2013 - link

    The Toshiba Excite AT305T64 runs the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system, which builds on the things people love most about Android–a simplified UI, easy multitasking, customizable home screens, re-sizable widgets, and a full suite of familiar Google mobile services.

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