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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Toshiba Encore hands-on review: an 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet

 With the popularity of the smaller Android tablets and the iPad mini it was never going to be long until certain manufacturers started launching their own smaller Windows 8 tablets. That is exactly what has happened here, the Toshiba Encore is one of the first smaller Windows 8 tablets on the market, with its only real competition being the Acer Iconia W3. Toshiba has said that it aims to price the device at €299 across Europe and it should be on the shelves by October this year.

The Encore is not going to win any beauty contests, it is very much the plane Jane of small tablets. There is nothing on this tablet that you wouldn’t have seen before; a plastic rear, nearly an inch of bezel all round, it's 10.7-inches thick and at 408g it’s not exactly light. That’s not a terrible thing though and to give the Encore some credit it does feel ok when you have it in your hands. The screen specs are uninspiring too with just 1,280 x 800 pixels on offer, but that is what you expect from a tablet with this sort of price tag.

There has to be some serious question marks hanging of the Eccores head with regards to its Atom processor. The display model that we spent some time with at IFA 2013 wasn’t on top of its game at all, and the less said about the horrifically jumpy playback of a sample video we found on the device’s desktop the better (for Toshiba), it was truly shocking.

The storage options of the Toshiba Encore are pretty respectable, it comes with either 32GB or 63GB of internal storage and has a microSD slot, which enables you to boost the space by an extra 32GBs. There is also 2GB of RAM on board and an 8 Mp rear-facing camera that takes reasonable pictures for a tablet.

The Windows 8.1 Toshiba Encore tablet has been tuned for improved Skype (now under Microsoft’s umbrella), it features a pretty standard 2 Mp front facing camera and also two microphones; one for your voice and one to record and eliminate unwanted background noise.

As always with Toshiba products, there are a good amount of ports on offer and having is micro HDMI, miroSD and micro USB is never a bad thing.

Toshiba Encore video demo

My initial thoughts about the Toshiba Encore are a little mixed; I think the idea of smaller Windows tablet is a good idea, I’m and just not sure that the Encore has positioned itself in the best possible way. If you’re looking for a small tablet to surf the web and watch videos then there are far better Android options out there, most of which cos a fraction of the proposed price of the Encore. That leads me to think that the Encore is positioning itself as a device that is meant to be doubled as a device that can be used to do some serious work on too, hence why it comes bundled with Microsoft Office Home & Student, but there are no signs that the Encore will come with a keyboard and/or trackpad, which will in turn make doing any significant work a nightmare.

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