Toshiba Excite 7 review

The Toshiba Excite 7's poor screen and high price make it an uninspiring choice for an Android tablet.
Photo of Toshiba Excite 7

Toshiba’s Excite 7 ($169.99 direct) tries to compete with other low-end Android tablets like the Dell Venue 7 and Hisense Sero 7 Pro, but doesn’t deliver in terms of performance for the price. Its low-resolution display and anemic stereo speakers make this tablet a weak choice, especially when other tablets are better for less.

Design
The Excite 7 is a thick slice of tablet. It measures 7.8 by 4.6 by 0.43 inches (HWD) and weighs 12.2 ounces, hefty when compared with the 0.34-inch thin 10.24-ounce Google Nexus 7. It has a widescreen aspect ratio with big bezels, making it easy to hold without obstructing the display.

The back is textured plastic, with a recessed rear camera in the top left corner, and a front-facing camera also on the top left.

On top of the Excite 7 are the micro USB port, microSD slot, volume rocker, and headphone jack. The microSD slot doesn’t have a protective cover, but the card doesn’t protrude when inserted. The Power button is on the right. Stereo speakers sit on the bottom corners.

The 7-inch display is less than ideal. It has a 1024-by-600 resolution at 169 pixels per inch, giving tablets like the Dell Venue 7 and Hisense Sero 7 Pro a leg up with their 720p displays, not to mention the Barnes & Noble Nook HD with its 1440-by-900 panel. It’s a poor showing for a screen, with fuzzy text and dull images. In addition, viewing angles weren’t particularly wide.

Connectivity, Battery Life
The 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi uses the 2.4GHz band, omitting the faster 5GHz frequency. It also has Bluetooth 4.0. There’s no NFC, unlike the Hisense Sero 7 Pro, nor is there wireless charging, unlike on the Google Nexus 7.

The Excite 7′s battery life isn’t the best in its class. In our video playback test, the Toshiba Excite 7 lasted 5 hours and 20 minutes, much shorter than the Sero 7 Pro’s 9 hours and 17 minutes.

Performance, Multimedia
The Rockchip 1.6GHz quad-core CPU and 1GB RAM give the Excite 7 adequate processing power. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough to best cheaper tablets like the Sero 7 Pro or the Venue 7.

It runs an almost-stock version of Android 4.2.2. Preloaded apps include a file manager, Adobe Reader, a user guide, and a shortcut to Toshiba’s product registration site. None of these are removable.

Asphalt 8, a very CPU-intensive game, was extremely choppy and almost unplayable. A somewhat less taxing racing game, Riptide GP2, ran smoothly, as did zombie shooter Dead Trigger 2. Casual browsing was smooth enough, but switching apps was slower than on other tablets like the Venue 7. Graphics benchmark GFXBench clocked the Excite 7 at 21 frames per second, while the Venue 7 scored 33 frames. Browsing in Chrome was pretty smooth, with the Excite 7 scoring 2339 compared with the Venue 7′s 2288.

The Excite 7 played every one of our audio and video test file, including FLAC and OGG audio files. There’s 5.32GB of free space, and it accepts microSD cards up to 64GB. Unfortunately, the anemic speakers don’t make this a great multimedia device. In a song like The Strokes’ “Soma,” voices echoed as though they were yelling through a paper cup.

Camera
The Excite 7′s 3-megapixel rear camera, like many tablet cameras, is deplorable. Shots take at least a second to capture and process. Moving at any point in the process creates a completely useless and blurry image. Video frame rates were consistently low, at around 7 frames per second. There was constant flip-flopping in exposure, creating what was essentially a light show in my recording.

The front-facing VGA camera is predictably poor and muddy, and suffers from the same exposure and frame rate issues as its rear-facing sibling.

Conclusion
The Toshiba Excite 7 would make a decent $99 tablet, but competitors at its $169 price point beat it easily. It doesn’t have 720p screen resolution like the Hisense Sero 7 Pro, nor does it match the graphical power of the $129 Nook HD or $149 Dell Venue 7. While it isn’t awful, it just can’t keep up with the competitors in its price range—not to mention slightly more expensive, far more powerful tablets like the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7″ and Google Nexus 7.

Specifications
Wi-Fi (802.11x) Compatibility 2.4GHz
Screen Resolution 1020 x 600 pixels
Operating System Google Android 4.2.2
Dimensions 7.8 x 4.6 x 0.43 (HWD) inches
Weight 12.2 oz
RAM 1 GB
Camera Resolution 3.0-Megapixel Rear
0.3-Megapixel Front
Screen Pixels Per Inch 169 ppi
Additional Storage MicroSD
Processor Speed 1.6 GHz
Bluetooth Version 4
Screen Size 7 inches
Storage Capacity (as Tested) 5.32 GB
Storage Type SSD

Verdict
The Toshiba Excite 7's poor screen and high price make it an uninspiring choice for an Android tablet.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc