The specs and§ performance of the Toshiba Encore 2 Write WT8PE-B264M aren’t about to blow you away. It’s powered by an Intel Atom Z3735F processor clocking in at a max speed of 1.83 GHz with a 2 MB cache, and has 2 GB of RAM.
In terms of how the Encore 2 Write actually runs, it’s slightly disappointing, even for a mid-range tablet: Startup time is fairly quick, taking just a hair over 10 seconds by our measurement. Meanwhile, system navigation and light app work were perfectly smooth, but web browsing lagged occasionally – especially when navigating pages with plugins or embedded media – and heavier apps like a graphics-intensive racing game we tested had slower load times and were, at times, noticeably choppy.
This is reflected in its Geekbench 3 score of approximately 2100. For comparison, the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 AnyPen with Windows scored a 2300 and the Asus VivoTab Note 8 a 2600. Even the older Dell Venue 8 Pro pulled in a 2500.
This Toshiba tablet comes equipped with 64 GB of onboard storage, and additional capacity is available from a microSD expansion slot that supports SDXC.
The stylus is, for the most part, an excellent addition to this device. Having a real Wacom stylus with pressure sensitivity and two physical buttons — one is used for alternate commands like erasing, while the other is the equivalent of a right-click — provides a full range of functionality; it’s nice not to have to switch between the stylus and a fingertip while working.
The only issue was that on a few issues with accuracy and registering taps. Everything seemed to be calibrated properly and on the whole the performance was fine, but tapping the keyboard sometimes resulted in typos despite pressing the correct key.
The stylus clips to the outside of the device. This is better than having it held on with magnets like the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, but not a nice as having an actual stylus slot would have been.
There isn’t a whole lot to report on the software front because, besides the usual collection of apps that Microsoft bundles with Windows 8.1, the Encore 2 Write comes with just a couple of pieces of bloatware and that’s about it. Whether the lack of included software is a bad thing depends on the type of user experience you want; while obviously none of us are looking to be inundated with bloatware, it would have been nice to have a unique app or two to help the device stand out a little bit.
Like all mid-size Windows tablets, this device comes bundled with a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal. This means that users have access to 1 TB of storage on OneDrive, as well as Word, Excel, and Powerpoint for 12 months. Just be aware, these applications were designed to be used on large PC or laptop screens, so the stylus is frequently needed when using them.
The battery life of this Toshiba tablet is, without a doubt, its greatest asset. On a single charge, we managed to squeeze out just over a work week’s worth of battery life (it died on the sixth day). Admittedly, the sessions usage were typically on the shorter side – usually about 45 minutes, enough time to respond to emails and to peruse news and entertainment outlets – but we made sure to put it through its paces at times. Throughout the same charge, the display brightness was always at maximum and on two separate occasions we streamed an episode of an hour-long TV show from Amazon.
Toshiba says this model is good for 11.1 hours of use on a single charge, and our tests indicate that’s a reasonable claim.