Toshiba’s Excite 7.7 tablet – Visually Exciting
What is It? – The Excite7.7 is the smallest in Toshiba’s newest line of Android tablets. With a 7.7” diagonal screen it’s slightly larger than the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Google/Asus Nexus 7, and the Kindle Fire. The key distinguishing feature of this tablet is an extremely vibrant display called AMOLED. It’s topped by Gorilla Glass, which makes it scratch and drop resistant. This tablet is one of the thinnest we’ve seen, only about 1/3 on an inch thick. To give it some substance, the back is made out of a textured aluminum which gives it a good feel and makes it easy to hold. It comes equipped with the so-called Ice Cream Sandwich version of the Android operating system, unlike many of the tablets on the market which have the earlier Honeycomb version. That basically means it does more things more quickly with more applications, especially streaming video. The sound comes from two small built-in speakers. The audio, like much of this genre, is best enjoyed with earphones and not through the speakers. It has a 5 megapixel rear facing flash camera that wasn’t as sharp as it should have been, and a 2 megapixel one in front for video conferencing. It uses a proprietary charging plug, so you won’t be able to swap it with any other micro-USB charger you might have lying around. It has a micro SD memory slot, a micro-USB port, but no mini-HDMI, a feature I’ve never seen any real call for anyway.
Is it Boomer friendly? – Because of its very bright display, the screen is easy to see even in relatively strong daylight, and it has a fairly wide viewing angle. The system was quick to load video and played back with no noticeable artifacts. Buttons include a standard volume rocker, a power switch, and a multi-function switch that normally can be set to lock the screen position, but has other programmable functions. Because of the limited screen size, the icons are small, and so are the keys on the virtual keyboard. The keys change color to let you know you’ve actually hit the one you wanted, but if you’re like me, the size of my fingers makes that tough to see. The tablet also has so-called Haptic feedback which gives you a little vibration when you touch an icon.
Frustration Factor – Pretty low. Right out of the box it asked to sign on to my home wireless network, no muss, no fuss, just tap it and sign in. Very quick. It was also very quick about syncing all my other Google apps.
Is It Worth the Money? - Okay, this is serious bucks. We’ve seen the 16GB version for anywhere between $420 and $500. The 32GB version for between $500 and $605 . On the other hand, the 7” version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab with 16GB ranges from about $260 to about $400. And the Nexus 7 with 16 GB ranges from ranges from about $249 to $275. So even though the Toshiba is quick, and has a very bright screen, you’ll have to make the call as to whether buying one is also a bright idea.