Toshiba Excite 10 teardown reveals pure tablet hardware and design

Bill Detwiler cracked open the Excite 10 and found the hardware and internal design of a true tablet, unlike the very laptop-like Toshiba Thrive.

Cracking Open the Toshiba Excite 10

The Thrive, Toshiba's first Android tablet, was a very laptop-like tablet. It had a user-replaceable battery, full-size HDMI and USB ports, and SD card slot. The Thrive's design made it easy to work on (to many IT pros), but it also made the device larger and heavier than other tablets.

The company's new Excite tablets are anything but bulky. At 0.35-inches thick and weighing just over 1.3 pounds, the Excite 10 is a razor blade compared to the Thrive. And, it has a quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and a full-sized SD card slot. How did Toshiba pack better hardware into a tablet that's almost half as thick? In this week's cracking open episode, I show you.

Our Excite 10 test machine (Model: AT305-T16) had a 1.2GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of DDR3 SDRAM, 16GB of on-board storage (expandable to 128GB), a 10.1" IPS LCD (1280 x 800 resolution), 802.11 b/g/n WLAN and Bluetooth, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. It measures 7.0" (H) x 10.3" (W) x 0.35" (D) and weighs 1.3 pounds.

Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open the Toshiba Excite 10

Cracking Open observations

  • Pop-off back cover: Luckily, the Excite 10 isn't much more difficult to crack open than the Thrive. Using a combination of metal and plastic tools, I popped the back cover away from the front panel assembly and lifted it off--disconnecting the speaker cable in the process.
  • Replaceable, but not user-replaceable battery: The Excite's battery isn't user-replaceable, as was the Thrive's power pack. This eliminates the need for a user-accessible battery compartment, which helps reduce the device's thickness. The Excite's flexible battery is also thinner than the Thrive's hard-shell unit.
  • No internal frame: With the exception of the speakers, all the Excite's internal hardware is mounted to the front panel assembly. Much of the Thrive's hardware was mounted to a separate, and rather thick, internal frame. In fact, nearly all the Excite's internal, plastic structures are thinner than the Thrive's.
  • Fused display and front panel: The Excite's LCD display and front panel (digitizer) are permanently joined. This makes it impossible to replace one without replacing the other. But, it eliminates the need for the large mounting plate that held the Thrive's display in place.

Bottom Line

Compared to the Thrive, the Excite's overall hardware layout and internal design is more like a tablet and less like a laptop. Gone is the separate Wi-Fi card. Gone is the removable storage chip. And, gone are the full-size HDMI and USB ports. But what you lose in full-size ports and replaceable components, you gain in a thinner, lighter tablet.

Read Erik Franklin's CNET review of the Toshiba Excite 10 for more information on the tablet's software features, real-world performance, and battery life test results.

Internal hardware

Our Excite 10 test unit has the following hardware:

  • 1.2GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor (1152A3 KT NAU315.01P T30SL-P-A3)
  • 10.1" IPS LCD (1280 x 800)
  • 16 GB Toshiba THGBM2G7D4FBAI9 eMMC storage chip (THGBM2G7D4FBAI9 FR5429 TAIWAN 11249AE)
  • 1 GB Hynix DDR3 SDRAM (H5TC2G83CFR)
  • 3.7V, 6,600 mAh/25 Wh Li-ion battery (Model: PA5053U-1BRS)
  • 5 MP rear camera
  • 2 MP front camera
  • SD card slot
  • Goodix GT8110 10-point capacitive touchscreen controllers (GT8110 12075A C)
  • Goodix GTM802 (GTM802 G2 152AD 21428049 -20 ARM)
  • National Semiconductor (Texas Instruments) VT22ACE4 90C187LF
  • AzureWave AW-NH660 wireless module
  • Parade PS8122 1:2 HDMI/DVI Demultiplexer
  • Wolfson WM8903 Ultra low power CODEC for portable audio applications (WM8903L 22AMBUC)
  • Fortemedia FM34-395 Low Power Voice Processor (FM34NE 395 B34DB)
  • Texas Instruments TPS61030 Efficient Synchronous Boost Converter With 4A Switch (TPS61030 TI 22W Z90P)
  • Texas Instruments TPS6592 PMIC (TPS659II04AA2 21AC9XW GI)
  • Nuvoton M0516 ARM Cortex -M0 32-bit microcontroller (M0516LBN ARM 2205B007-ZN2 209ABFA)
  • Invensense MPU-3050 Triple Axis Gyroscope with Embedded Digital Motion Processor (MPU-3050 Q4P673-J4 EI 1145 K)
  • Intersil ISL9519 Narrow VDC Regulator/Charger with SMBus Interface (9519HRTZ F120VS)
  • Broadcom BCM4751 Integrated Monolithic GPS Receiver (BCM47511IUB6 UD1210 P10 190S40 SN)

By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the ...