- Editor's Rating
- Decent battery life
- HDMI port and microSD
- 8MP camera performs well
- Good-sounding speakers, loud and clear
- Text not as crisp as its competitors, and hard to read in some apps
- Bulky compared to other tablets in its class
- Some performance issues, like in Microsoft Outlook
Quick TakeA tablet to be considered by those who are looking for something that can run the full version of Windows in a small formfactor.
Now that netbooks seem to have disappeared before we even had a chance to forget about them, the small tablet space has been quite competitive between operating systems and OEMs. Toshiba throws in its latest 8-inch Windows offering into the mix with the Encore 8, directly competing against manufacturers such as Lenovo, Acer, and Dell just to name a few.
Running a full version of Windows 8.1 Pro, the Toshiba Encore 8 starts at a budget price of $300, which may turn the heads of some people looking at the Apple iPad mini and the Google Nexus 7, or other Windows-based small tablets such as the Dell 8 Venue Pro.
Is this a worthy competitor? Or is it too little and too late for Toshiba to even be in the game? Let’s take a look!
Build and Design
At first glance, the Toshiba Encore 8 looks bulky and thick with its all-plastic faux metallic design. It certinly doesn’t look like a premium device like the Nexus 7 or the iPad mini. Weighing just a little under a pound, it is almost twice the weight of Apple’s mid-size offering, and roughly the same weight as the full-sized iPad Air. The Encore’s dimensions are 8.39 x 5.35 x 0.42 inches, which is slightly thicker than the Dell Venue 8 Pro that it directly competes against.
That said, after using this as my main tablet for almost a week — and even when picking it up for the first time — it’s actually quite comfortable to hold. I got used to the weight and size really quickly, and it pretty much goes unnoticed in a backpack or laptop bag.
This computer features an 8-inch IPS display with 1280 x 800 resolution with 189 ppi, which is quite adequate for watching videos and viewing websites. Colors and brightness are more than satisfactory, and the LCD screen is very responsive.
Like most Windows 8-based tablets, the issue with the display lies in Desktop Mode. On this particular device, apps such as Outlook or even websites using Internet Explorer, the text and some images look either too small or pixelated.
Buttons and Ports
The Toshiba Encore has some useful ports adding more functions to the device. There is a microSD card reader on the left side so you can expand the memory up to at least 64GB. To the right, you will find a power/sleep button as well as a volume rocker.
The microUSB charging port is on the top of the device along with the microHDMI port. Sorry folks, there is no USB port for plugging external hard drives and other devices but it does support Bluetooth 4.0 if you want to add a wireless mouse and keyboard.
At the bottom of the Encore, you will find a set of stereo speakers, which actually sound great. In fact they sound much better and louder than the ones in the iPad mini and even the Surface Pro.
You’re just getting started; Page 2 describes the Toshiba Encore 8’s performance, and it includes our benchmark scores.