LAS VEGAS, CES 2012 — Toshiba’s Excite X10, a tablet the company calls the world’s lightest and thinnest, is finally landing on U.S. shores, and we got our first hands-on experience with it at CES last night as Toshiba readies to release it here in a few months.
Man, is this thing ridiculously light. It sports a metallic back made of strong, light magnesium, the same material used in high-end DSLR shells.
It really is fantastically light — so light that it actually feels like it’s made from plastic; but magnesium is also incredibly tough, with a very high strength-to-weight ratio. Of course, magnesium is also highly flammable, which is one reason you don’t see it around very often.
Toshiba was able to jam an astounding number of ports into the thing — especially impressive considering how thin it is. A mini-HDMI port, micro-USB port and a micro SD card slot are all carved into one side of the tablet.
The Excite X10 we played with was also very fast and smooth, thanks to a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor supplied by Texas Instruments and 1GB of RAM. It was running Android’s Honeycomb OS, but when the tablet ships Toshiba says it’ll have Android’s new Ice Cream Sandwich installed, which should be a big improvement over the problematic Honeycomb.
So it’s slightly larger, lighter, thinner, has slightly higher resolution (1200×800 compared with 1024×768 for the iPad 2) and has way more ports. And no, this isn’t the whole story, and it doesn’t mean this tablet is better than the iPad 2. But it does seem to have the iPad 2 certainly beat in a few arenas. Then there’s the price: The 16GB version at $530 and the 32GB at $600.
Any bet that Cupertino will make this tablet look like an abacus when the iPad 3 comes out?