Toshiba Excite 7

An inexpensive 7-inch tablet with a display and performance worthy of the price tag

Toshiba has a history of keeping a fresh lineup of medium and large Android tablets running alongside its Windows offerings, and the latest in that lineup is the Excite 7. A decidedly lower-end device than the latest refresh of its 10-inch Excite Pro tablet, and not to be confused with the previously-released Excite 7.7, the Excite 7 is a $169 7-inch tablet with one clear vision — sit on store shelves with a great price and a few key specs hoping to sell well.

At this price level you're not going to get any fancy features, bells and whistles or flair, but sometimes that's a good thing. Realizing what you can reasonably do in a tablet for $169, Toshiba has put together a pretty solid package in the Excite 7 that undercuts offerings from other manufacturers by $30 to $80, and that's a big deal for many consumers, especially this holiday season.

Read on past the break and see what the Toshiba Excite 7 has going for it.

Inside this review: Hardware | Software | Bottom line

For $169 you can't expect too much in the way of specs under the hood, but Toshiba has crammed just enough in the Excite 7 to get the job done. The full list of specs is listed below for your enjoyment.

Operating System
  • Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Display
  • 7-inch LCD
  • 1024 x 600 resolution (170 ppi)
  • 5-finger multi-touch
Processor
  • Rockchip RK3188
  • Quad-core Cortex A9 at 1.61GHz
  • Mali 400 GPU
Memory
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB internal storage (6GB available)
  • MicroSD expansion
Camera
  • Front: 0.3MP camera
  • Rear: 3MP camera
Battery
  • 14Wh non-removable Lithium-Polymer
  • 13hrs of typical usage
  • Micro USB charging
Connectivity
  • Wifi 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
Miscellaneous
  • Gravity sensor
  • 3-axis accelerometer
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Microphone
  • Stereo speakers
  • SRS audio enhancement
Dimensions
  • 192.12 x 116.84 x 10.92mm
  • 349.26g

Hardware and display

Toshiba Excite 7

Externally, it's very clear that the Excite 7 and the 10-inch Excite Pro were cut from the same cloth — or pressed from the same plastic, if you prefer. The Excite 7 is adorned with the same solid piece of plastic coating the entire back, taking on a dimpled pattern in a slightly slick and glossy silver finish. When held in portrait mode, you'll find a power button at the top of the right edge, a pair of stereo speakers at the bottom edge (which sound pretty good) and all other ports and buttons at the top. Curiously, Toshiba doesn't seem to have made up its mind whether the Excite 7 is meant to be used in portrait or landscape based on the logo and buttons, but luckily its amorphous enough to be used any way you'd like.

Toshiba Excite 7Toshiba Excite 7

The display has a painfully low resolution, and few redeeming qualities beyond that

Around front you'll find a 7-inch display surrounded with generous bezels that, however unsightly, actually help you hold onto the tablet without registering unwanted touches. Inside those bezels is a 7-inch display with a painfully low resolution of 1024x600, or 170 ppi. The panel has a noticeable gap between the glass and display, doesn't get all that bright and has an overall washed-out look. Pair that up with the low resolution and even at normal tablet holding distance you can notice the grain. It's an absolutely massive downgrade from what you'll find on a Nexus 7 (2013) and an appreciable downgrade from pretty much any other tablet made throughout this year or last.

Read: Toshiba Excite Pro review

The Excite 7 features a pair of cameras — a 3MP unit on the back and 0.3MP front-facing — neither of which are useful for taking pictures or video of anything you care about. There's no auto focus or settings to speak of, and the resulting pictures even when it does focus are grainy and soft.

Toshiba Excite 7Toshiba Excite 7

If you can get past the way the screen looks, you'll actually be very happy with how the Excite 7 feels in your hand. "Hefty" is probably the best way to describe it, and at 349.2g (0.77lb) — that's about 20 percent heavier than the latest Nexus 7 — you can definitely feel the extra weight. But the tradeoff for that heft is you're getting a device that feels really solid. You can't find a creak, seam or gap in the entire device, and it just feels very well made. Toshiba has been making consumer electronics hardware for years and the experience shows here.

Software and experience

Toshiba Excite 7

On the software front, things are actually pretty uninteresting, and that's a good thing. Toshiba has chosen on the Excite 7 to go with a nearly "Stock" build of Android 4.2.2, with only a couple of pre-installed apps and barely a tweak to the settings menu. The one change you'll actually be able to notice is an "Audio Enhancement" option in the settings and its accompanying toggle in the quick settings shade.

Apps and games generally run well, but multitasking is problematic

Although the looks are much the same as you'd see on a Nexus 7, the performance surely isn't of the same caliber. First impressions are actually pretty good — sweeping through home screens, loading casual apps and getting the tablet set up wasn't much of a pain. But as soon as you start multitasking, you'll start to notice the slowdowns. Quickly moving between apps is notably slow, and you'll notice extra load times when opening content-heavy apps. Everything just takes a few more seconds to load than you want it to, and it quickly becomes annoying if you're used to any modern smartphone or tablet.

For what it's worth the combination of a mediocre CPU and GPU is plenty of horsepower to move around games on a 1024x600 display, and aside from the poor screen quality performance was actually quite good. We noticed intense games dropping frames when the tablet received big groups of notifications or went through some intense graphical sections, but overall you won't be disappointed on the gaming front.

Bottom line

Toshiba Excite 7

When it comes to inexpensive Android tablets, you'll be hard pressed to find something from a major manufacturer that gets too much cheaper than the Toshiba Excite 7. For your $169 you're getting a pretty solid piece of hardware that will undoubtedly hold up for some time, even if the internal components won't keep up to speed quite as long. But make no mistake, you're not getting top-notch performance even today, let alone in a year when the apps and software are even more demanding. 

In exchange for a $60 price drop from the Nexus 7 (2013), you're getting a heavier, thicker tablet with less storage, a drastically worse display and last year's budget internals. If at all possible, we implore you to scrounge up a few more dollars and upgrade to the next level of tablets such as the Tegra Note 7 or Nexus 7 (2013).

If price is at the top of your list when making a buying decision and you still want to pull the trigger on a tablet, ASUS has a couple of 7-inch offerings that are even cheaper and offer the same or better experience than you'll get here. Toshiba put together a solid package for the price it was working with, we just think the money could have been better distributed to the display and internals to make this an experience worth recommending.

Read: Tegra Note 7 review

 
There are 18 comments

Walkop says:

I'm surprised at the massive difference in outcome between your review and APs. I think you didn't place nearly enough value on the display, myself.

Sure, it's $169, but it makes major compromises that you cannot simply forget along the way. The original Nexus 7 is a better tablet! I cannot see this getting reccomended for anyone, regardless of your price range, when there are better alternatives almost anywhere. Optimism only gets you so far.

Did you read the conclusion? If so, do it again. You clearly missed what was being said.

As was pointed out Asus makes a much better cheap tablet and for a little more you can get the Tegra Note 7.

Posted via Android Central App

Walkop says:

Yes, I did. But the overall tone of the article seems like they're trying to take a very optimistic tone when in reality, the device is lackluster at best.

Look at the bolded intro! "An inexpensive 7-inch tablet with a display and performance worthy of the price tag."

Don't get me wrong, I love the guys here at AC. I just think APs article was way more objective.

adhurt says:

Not sure why I'd even bother with this tablet today. The Hisense Sero Pro 7 matches the specs fairly well and has NFC with the secure element to enable payments. Oh, did I mention that is comes in at $129 @ wally world? Seriously - this Toshiba is DOA.

mammlouk says:

This is exactly what I was thinking. I would grab a Tegra 3 based Sero 7 Pro over a Rockchip any day of the week. On top of the NFC, it also includes a 1280*800 resolution.

intrepid359 says:

The Rockchip RK3188 actually outperforms the Tegra 3 and the Exnyos 4 series quad core processors.

jpkerr1 says:

Months later this device is no better than HP's entry-level seven inch tablet(except for a quad-core vs. dual CPU)which was roasted in the tech world for among other things it's low-res screen. This device is a disservice to the field of Android tablets, the price point and the Toshiba stockholders. 800 x 1280 should now be the default screen size for seven inch tablets if they want to be considered as anything other than cheap commodities to sell blister-packed at Big Lots, Walgreen's etc. Yeah Samsung, I'm lookin' at your seven inch tablets too...

annedev says:

well, the price is a great attractive. The hardware is very decent. I guess it worth it.

CeluGeek says:

Aside from the Nexus 7 and the Tegra Note 7, it seems 7-inch tablets are going the way of 3.5" to 4" smartphones. It's as if manufacturers had a meeting and agreed that devices with smaller screens must ship only with crappy specs so people don't want to buy them. That's precisely the road traveled by the QWERTY smartphone, leading to its death.

If you want a decent tablet and Google Play media services aren't supported in your country or if you just don't want to put up with non-expandable storage, you have to buy a bigger tablet. 7" screens are no longer an option unless you want mediocre hardware.

Yeah, that seems to be true. I personaly love my G Pad 8.3, but the wife still like the 7 inch form factor and that's why I went ahead and got her the Tab 3 even though it isn't much of an upgrade from her A100, but it is a smaller form factor and there are accessories for it.

Suntan says:

I think it is just a realization of the market. If you build a 7" tablet with competitive specs you immediately get called out for being $5 or more over a Nexus 7.

If you build a tablet that is slightly bigger/better than the specs on the N7 you immediately get called out for not being as good of a deal as the N7 and not being as good of a product as the Unicorn-tear-powered ipad mini.

You build a tablet that is significantly lower than the price/spec of the N7 and you get hated on for releasing a cheap POS like this product.

That said, why put front and back cameras on a dirt cheap tablet?

-Suntan

jlczl says:

What about the Kindle Fire HDX 7 inch?

Posted via Android Central App

This appears to be a better tablet, but I just got the Galaxy Tab 3 for the wife for Christmas for $149.99 from Micro Center simply because the accessories for it are all over the place and lack of accessories is one of the pitfalls of not going with Apple, Google, or Samsung. The whole reason she uses the tablet is to watch movies on trips and Apple and Google's offerings don't have expandable storage, otherwise I would have gotten one of those two.

PRELUDE_777 says:

This type of devices not even acceptable this days.

Posted via Android Central App

worknman says:

With those specs, they should've called it the Toshiba Yawn :)

Or the Toshiba MajorlyUnderSpec'dForThePrice tablet.

Posted from the awesome new Nexus 7

droidify says:

I think that is a terrible value.

Ckidwell says:

Yeah it is. Get the 2013 Nexus 7. I got a 32gb Nexus 7 (2013) for $110 from Craigslist. It was like new and could've even passed as new for a gift. Be patient and look on craigslist or slickdeals and you'll get a much better deal.