Toshiba is the latest to announce a tablet that comes with a stylus, furthering the notion that when it comes to slates in 2013 (and the occasional smartphone), 10 sweaty human digits just aren't cutting it for many users.
The 10.1-inch Excite Write lies at the top end of Toshiba's new Excite range of tablets, not that you'd be aware by looking at it. The rear of the tablet features the same dot textured pattern as the basic Excite Pure model, with a harmon/kardon logo in the bottom-right corner alone giving the game away. It's not much of a looker, and those seeking a visually exciting slate should look elsewhere.
It's just as well that the tablet's screen produces the goods. Boasting a 2560x1600-pixel-resolution display, it beats Apple's iPad 4 in terms of pixel count, and is on par with Google's Nexus 10. Colours look vibrant and the panel produces decent images from a variety of viewing angles.
Additionally, the screen is constructed from Corning's Gorilla Glass 2, which should stave off any unwanted scratches when you're stabbing at it with the supplied stylus.
The Excite Write's high-resolution display can also be found on the Excite Pro, so it can hardly be called the tablet's defining feature. That accolade belongs to its ability to take notes using Toshiba's own TruNotes app, which users can store, upload or send to others.
As with most tablets that feature handwriting functionality, the Excite Write's competency to accurately turn scribbles into text partly depends on the neatness of the user's writing. Naturally, ours is up there with the prettiest, so the feature worked well enough in our tests. However, the tablet's weighty feel did little to convince us that holding it in one hand for long periods while writing would be something that we would want to do.
Internally, the Excite Write is powered by a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4 mobile processor, and packs 2GB RAM. Toshiba is claiming 9.5 hours' use from its battery, which we'll just have to go along with for now. We tested racing game RipTide GP on our demo unit, which zipped along without so much as breaking into a sweat.
In terms of software, Toshiba has loaded the tablet with the Android 4.2 operating system, which comes as close to stock Android as you could hope for on a non-Nexus tablet. Swiping through menus was easy and the tablet allowed us to navigate the OS without any hint of slowdown.
Connectivity-wise, the Excite conceals a row of ports behind a thin strip of plastic that we managed to prise open without too much difficulty. Opening it reveals a microSD card slot, HDMI and micro-USB charging port, which are positioned next to a headphone port. The device also features harman/kardon stereo speakers and offers up 16GB or 32GB of internal storage.
Would we recommend Toshiba's Excite Write upon first impressions? At price of £449, it's a solid no, particularly when the Excite Pro, which features the same specs and features without the handwriting functionality, starts at £349. You'll be able to check out the device yourself in Q3 when it goes on sale at PC world.