- Windows 8.1 OS allows full access to typical PC software
- Decently sharp screen for web browsing and video streaming
- Good battery life
- Poor touch responsiveness
- Desktop mode apps difficult to use with touchscreen
- Clunky and difficult to hold
- Sluggish desktop mode performance
Following in Dell and Lenova's footsteps, Toshiba released their own Windows 8.1 tablet dubbed the Encore. At 8 inches, the Encore was a bit too bulky for many reviewers to hold comfortably one-handed. Trusted Reviews goes so far as to call it "a cumbersome tablet."
Unfortunately the display doesn't make up for the general bulkiness of the device. With a resolution of 1,280x800 the tablet is only made up of 190ppi, well below the retina standard of 326ppi. Despite the lower pixel density, critics were pleased with the sharpness of image quality and viewing angles, finding it suitable for reading web pages and video streaming in tablet mode.
The biggest weakness of the screen, according to reviewers, is its responsiveness. They found simple tasks like selecting an app or locking the screen would often not register despite several tries.
The Encore's one standout feature is its use of the full Windows 8.1 Pro software. Unlike Windows RT based tablets, this one has access to all standard desktop PC software so you won't be limited to the small number of apps in the Windows 8 store. Unfortunately, critics discovered that most of the apps are unusable in desktop mode as the screen is too small to properly press the appropriate buttons or drop down menus.
The Encore can connect to a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, but Whistle Out noticed a significant amount of lag when using the peripherals saying, "Though it gets the job done, it is far more frustrating than we think it ought to be."
Much of the lag issues are due to the tablets mediocre 1.33GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM. While reviewers found the tablet experience smooth, the desktop experience was much jumpier with numerous slowdowns and hangs even when loading web pages. Critics do not suggest playing more recent 3D games on the device as the frame rate was fairly poor.
Aside from the processor and RAM, the tablet offers up to 64GB of internal storage, an expandable microSD slot and a micro HDMI port. According to Toshiba, the battery should last 7 hours of heavy usage, though Laptop Mag's battery test clocked it at over 8 hours.
The Toshiba Encore garnered mixed feelings from reviewers. Wired says "Encore's sluggish performance often makes it frustrating to use…" while V3 states it's "an interesting device…and it could be a compelling companion device for a laptop or desktop."
What the Critics Are Saying...
- Bobby MacPherson, PC Pro
The first compact Windows 8 tablet we'd seriously consider buying, packing in usable performance and a generous software bundle for a very tempting price.
- Michelle Mastin, PCWorld
Toshiba's Encore 8 packs some nice extras compared to rival 8-inch Windows tablets, but it's thicker and heavier than the competition.
- TechRadar team, TechRadar
It's with somewhat of a heavy heart that we have to report that our search for a Windows 8 tablet saviour continues, with the Toshiba Encore falling short of a number of expectations. While the fact that it can run full Windows programs is at first a nice feature, it's not much use if the underlying...
- Louie Tran, TabletPCReview
I came in with really low expectations on the Toshiba Encore 8, but after using it, it's actually quite the contender for the small tablet space thanks to it's decent overall performance and battery life.If you are looking for something that can run the full version of Windows in a small tablet form...
- Tim Schiesser, TechSpot
Toshiba’s first foray into the world of 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablets isn’t the fantastic product the company was hoping for. The drab, chubby design is particularly uninspired, failing to make an impression up against slimmer and more portable competition. The inclusion of an HFFS display...
Prices (Where to Buy)
Manuals / User Guides
- Toshiba Encore Manual (PDF)
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