- Low cost
- Decent performance
- Poor-quality screen
- Very little internal storage
Quick TakeAt just $119 or less, Toshiba's Encore Mini is not a bad choice for those who want a Windows tablet for very light use.
Inexpensive tablets are always popular, but no company has been able to make a Windows device with a low-enough price to compete in this category … until now. The Toshiba Encore mini (WT7-C16) runs the full version of Microsoft Windows 8.1 on an Intel processor, but costs just $119.
Build & Design
Extremely low-cost tablets aren’t known for their innovative designs, and the Encore mini keeps with this trend. It has a typical shape, with rounded corners, an all-glass front, plastic sides, and a textured back.
This device has fairly large screen bezels that’ll draw some criticism. That said, these make internal room for a fairly large battery, something this device needs. They result in a package that’s fairly large for a 7-inch tablet: 7.8 x 4.7 inches. Still, it fits easily in one hand.
At 0.7 lbs. and 0.4 in. thick, the Encore mini isn’t what anyone would really consider thin or light. It’s certainly not cumbersome to use; it just isn’t as small as one might hope.
This model has a 7.0-inch diagonal LCD display, with a WSVGA (1024 x 600) resolution. This is, realistically, the weakest feature of the tablet. Colors are muddy and fonts look jagged.
Because this is a small display, just about everything is, well, small. This won’t be an issue for anyone with good vision, but anyone who needs reading glasses will have to wear them while using the tablet.
Happily, the on-screen keyboard is large enough to be easily usable, especially in landscape mode. This means holding the tablet with both hands and typing with your thumbs.
Some people are hesitant about using Windows on a 7-inch screen; the Encore Mini shows that it’s possible. It isn’t ideal, but it’s quite doable.
Buttons and Ports
There’s a microSD memory card slot on the top edge, something that’s an absolute necessity given how little internal storage capacity this tablet has.
Also on the top edge is a micro-USB port, which is used to charge the device. Using full-size USB accessories like thumb drives or a keyboard with this model will require the Vener8 or something similar.
It’s clear that Toshiba didn’t think of ergonomics when designing the buttons: They are relentlessly square, to the point where they are slightly painful to press. There’s only two of them, though, one for power on the right side and a volume-control rocker on the top.
There’s a single speaker on the bottom edge of this product.
Don’t stop now; Page 2 includes our thoughts on the performance of the Encore mini.