The 5-megapixel camera has some photo options, including digital zoom, panoramic shots, an exposure meter (from -2 to +2), five white-balance options (auto, incandescent, daylight, fluorescent, and cloudy), geotagging, five scenes (auto, action, night, sunset, and party), a flash, and seven picture sizes ranging from QVGA to 5 megapixels.
The front-facing camera, surprisingly, has all the same features save for the panoramic shooting. There are also only five picture sizes, ranging from QVGA to 2 megapixels.
Video recording for the rear camera has continuous flash, and the same digital zoom, white-balance, and geotagging options. There is also a time-lapse feature with which you can record every 1 to 10 seconds, and you can choose to shoot in HD 720p or SD 480p. One of the two interesting features is the "silly faces" mode, which will distort your image while the video records. It can squeeze your face together, shrink your mouth, or make your eyes huge and cartoonlike. Needless to say, I got a kick out of it. The other is a background module, where you can change your background to outer space, a sunset, a disco, or your own custom image. The front-facing camera contains all the same recording options except for the flash and the two different video qualities.
The Wi-Fi-enabled device comes packaged with a bulky power charger, and is equipped with 1GB of RAM, Bluetooth, GPS, digital compass capabilities, a gyroscope, and an accelerometer.
Powering the Toshiba Excite 7.7 is a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor equipped with GeForce graphics. The CPU was pretty impressive -- there was some lag time when it came to switching the tablet from portrait to landscape mode, opening large applications, and rendering text after pinch-zooming, scrolling through the app drawer, zooming on photos, and swiping through the different home screen pages was a breeze. Most importantly, games and videos played effortlessly and rendered quickly. While playing Temple Run, the device executed high frame rates. Colors were vibrant and videos were smooth.
Audio quality was perfectly adequate as well. At times when the volume was on maximum, sounds came off tinny and harsh, but at a reasonable level; they were clear and didn't bleed together. The Toshiba audio enhancements did make audio sound noticeably less muffled, but similar to the other Excite units, Ambient Noise Equalizer didn't seem to do very much.
The camera quality was also acceptable, though not the best I've seen. The shutter speed on the camera wasn't instantaneous, but I didn't have to hold the Excite 7.7 for too long to prevent motion blur from appearing in my pictures. Feedback followed my movement of the camera without much lag and when I recorded video, audio was picked up clearly.
Photo quality wasn't stellar but was decent nonetheless. In dim to low lighting, edges were ill-defined and bled together. Dark hues were hard to distinguish, and bright lights were often washed out. Photos taken in natural sunlight fared a lot better. Images appeared more in focus and edges were easier to distinguish. The lower front-facing camera specs make it adequate to take vanity shots with. When I did manage to take a decent picture, colors were not as rich as they appeared in real life, and images were grainy when zoomed in just a little. Vanity shots taken indoors looked even grainier.
Here are our official CNET Labs-tested battery life results. More tablet testing results can be found here.
|Tablet||Video battery life (in hours)|
|Toshiba Excite 7.7||7.5|
Though it's up to the individual to decide what the ideal tablet screen size is for him or her, if you're in the market for something small, the Toshiba Excite 7.7 is a solid choice. Easy to handle and a breeze to navigate through due to its speedy CPU, its thin profile and light build makes it even more appealing. Its AMOLED screen gives it an edge over its 10- and 13-inch colleagues, and compared to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 (which has a fantastic display in its own right), the Excite 7.7 gives off slightly better coloring and higher brightness. However, the pricing is undoubtedly steep. Even with its great display, most recent OS, and quad-core processor, you'll have to really ask yourself whether it's worth forking over $500 for a 7.7-inch device that has only 16GB of storage and no HDMI support. It may be more enticing if it cost about $150 less, but frankly, half a grand is just too high.
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