Toshiba Excite 13 Lightning Review: This Tablet Could Fit 40 Commandments

How big is too big? A tablet is already too wide to fit in a pocket. So what's holding it back? Nothing! Toshiba went nuts with the enormous Excite 13. At this size, it's more table than tablet.

What Is It?

It's a big-ass tablet with a 13.3-inch screen, a Tegra 3 quad-core processor, and it runs on Android's Ice Cream Sandwich OS.

Who's it For?

People who watch a lot of video and never leave the couch.

Design

The Excite has mini HDMI and USB ports and a full-sized SD slot—less than the old Toshiba Thrive—but at 0.4 inches, one-third thinner. It comes with a stand. It needs it.

Using It

Between Ice Cream Sandwich and the Tegra 3, it's very fast. The audio is loud and deep, but the fidelity is lacking, and the speakers on the bottom side get muffled.

The Best Part

The size! Definitely a great tablet for watching movies.

Tragic Flaw

The size! The only thing the tablet excels at is watching movies. At 2.2 pounds, it's really heavy, it's awkward to transport, and the screen is such a wide rectangle that gaming (and typing and everything else) is exceedingly difficult.

Toshiba Excite 13 Lightning Review: This Tablet Could Fit 40 Commandments

This Is Weird...

The surface of the Gorilla Glass would often stick to the LCD behind it. An inky puddle emerged in the middle of the screen. It disappeared when the tablet was twisted like an ice cube tray. Travel in a backpack amplified this effect.

Test Notes

  • Fantastic battery life! Close to 11 hours.
  • The 1600 x 900 resolution gives it a greater pixel density than most Android tablets and the first two iPads. But it's nowhere near the retina display on the latest iPad.
  • The screen is far dimmer than average. Bummer.
  • Handheld thumb-typing is impossible. Even with a split keyboard. Keep it in your lap.
  • It gets attention on mass transit. That's either good or bad.
  • Having a full-sized SD card is great. You can expand storage up to a crazy 128GB.
  • At 2.2 pounds, it's a pound heavier than the comparable 10-inch Galaxy Tab 2.

Should You Buy It?

Maybe, if you only want a tablet to watch videos at home. That's the one way this makes sense. For anything else, go for the Excite 10 or 7.7—each is cheaper and faster.

Toshiba Excite 13 Specs

• Network: Wi-Fi
• OS: Android 4.0
• CPU: 1.5-GHz quad-core Tegra 3 processor
• Screen: 13.3-inch 1600 x 900 pixel LCD
• RAM: 1GB
• Storage: 32GB or 64GB + up to 128GB microSD
• Price: $650 32GB / $750 64GB
• Giz Rank: 2.5 stars