The "1-Minute" Review
- 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."