Toshiba Encore 2 8-inch hands-on


A quiet, but still formidable player in the PC space, Toshiba showed off a few of its upcoming tablets at the most recent Pepcom Digital Experience event in New York City. Honestly, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen or heard anything remotely relevant from the PC maker. Nonetheless, we managed to grab a quick hands-on time with its affordably priced Toshiba Encore 2 tablet, the 8-inch model – albeit, they also will have a 10.1-inch model available as well.

Design


When you’re priced so low, there’s just so much you can do with a tablet’s design, which is apparently so here with the Toshiba Encore 2. Frankly, it screams conventionality with its contrasting white/silver plastic body. Unfortunately, while holding and grasping onto it, we notice that there’s a hollowness to the construction – though, the plastic build helps to give it a lightweight figure. Indeed, the visuals are usually the first to attract consumers, but sadly for this one, there wasn’t much thought put into this.



Display


Alright, we’re forgiving about the lower resolution on this display, which sizes up at 8-inches. Throwing in its 1280 x 800 resolution, which comes out to a pixel density count of 189 ppi, it’s far from being the sharpest thing in the block. Regardless of that, we don’t have too much of an issue trying to make out fine details or small text, but then again, it would’ve been nice for the resolution to be bumped up. Overall, the bland and dull tone of the display just washes away any hope of it being remotely usable outdoors.

Interface


With the small footprint of the tablet, it kind of limits what we can do functionally with the tablet. Indeed, it’s the perfect size for media consumption, but if you’re out to do some serious work while on the road, you’ll have some challenges trying to operate things with its smaller display. On the other side of the spectrum, we at least have the option to run legacy software with this one – just don’t expect this one to offer the ideal working parameters.

Processor and memory


Not surprising at all, especially when it’s attached with one dirt-cheap price, the Toshiba Encore 2 8.1-inch is powered by a quad-core Intel Atom processor of some kind with 1GB of RAM. As we’re cleared alluded to already, this isn’t the kind of device to be a workhorse, but rather, the hardware inside is effective enough for “fun” multimedia activities – like watching a movie or listening to music. Even though it’s still possible, you might regret installing that copy of Photoshop.

Call it tight, but the Toshiba Encore 2 is only stuffed with a 64GB hard drive, which is a decent amount considering that this is running the full Windows 8.1 PC experience. Knowing that, you’re going to want to rely on using the microsD card slot to offload your content.

Camera


Always a useful thing to find, its 5-megapixel rear camera is no doubt ready to snap a photo at a moment’s notice. However, something in the back of our head is already telling us that its quality won’t be anything mind-blowing. Alternatively, there’s a front-facing camera if you happen to do a lot of Skyping.

Expectations


Sure to catch anyone’s attention, the $200 cost of the Toshiba Encore 2 8.1-inch is undoubtedly tempting. You have a compact, travel friendly tablet that provides users with the full Windows 8.1 experience on the road – so there’s some flexibility in what you can do. Most people are going to be tempted solely by the Toshiba name and low price point, but it’ll be intriguing to see if the price point can be backed up by a decent overall experience that users can find tolerable to use long term. If not, you’re probably going to be better off spending the extra cash to check out something else more usable.



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Encore 2 8-inch
  • Display 8.0 inches
    1280 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP (Single camera)
    1.2 MP front
  • Hardware Intel Atom
    1GB RAM
  • Storage 32GB, microSDXC
  • OS Windows 8.1

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