Toshiba Encore review

Toshiba Encore tablet

Toshiba's Encore fits a Windows 8.1 PC into an 8in device that can be easily carried in one hand, yet still manages an all-day battery life. The inclusion of Office 2013 also makes it good value. On the downside, its sometimes sluggish performance and lack of ports count against it.
Compact, runs full Windows 8.1, Office 2013 apps included, all-day battery life
Occasionally unresponsive, few I/O ports, small screen makes desktop difficult to use
Overall Rating:
3 Star Rating: Recommended
Price: £299 inc VAT
Manufacturer: Toshiba
Model: Toshiba Encore WT8-A-103
Display: 8in 1280x800 AutoBrite multi-touchscreen
Processor: Intel 1.33GHz Atom Z3740
Memory: 2GB LPDDR3
Operating system: Windows 8.1 (32-bit)
Storage: 64GB SSD
Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth
Ports: Micro USB, micro HDMI, micro SD slot, headset jack socket
Camera: 8MP rear, 2MP front-facing
Dimensions: 213x136x10.7mm
Battery: 2-cell 5,280mAh lithium-ion internal
Weight: 445g


Toshiba's Encore tablet is a compact, relatively low-cost device that runs the full-blown Windows 8.1 platform despite its 8in screen format. It also comes with a version of Microsoft Office 2013 included in the price, making it good value for money and a potential winner with some buyers, such as students.

Announced earlier this year and available to buy now, the Encore is little larger than many e-readers and also roughly the same size as Apple's iPad Mini. Despite this, there is a full PC inside the Encore's casing, powered by a quad-core Intel Atom processor, making it capable of handling traditional Windows applications.

It's tricky to know who Toshiba sees as the target market for the Encore. While its small size makes it a rival for Android tablets such as the Nexus 7, it is heavier and more costly than such devices. Meanwhile, its small screen space and Atom processor make it less attractive for running demanding Windows applications than other Windows 8 tablets.
Toshiba Encore tablet
Toshiba said the Encore could be used as a companion device to another PC in a business environment. However, the firm really seems to be aiming at students, judging by the inclusion of Office Home & Student 2013 and an emphasis on Skype video chat and six months' worth of free Xbox music access in its promotional literature.

In use, we found the device somewhat sluggish at times – despite its quad-core Atom – and the small screen makes it infuriatingly difficult to do just about anything in the Desktop environment.
Conversely, we found that the Metro-style user interface of Windows 8.1 seems to suit a device with a screen size like this, as opposed to a laptop or larger screen PC.

While the Encore is relatively compact, it is also chunkier than rival tablets with a similar screen size, at just over a centimetre thick. It is also heavier, at 445g, when compared with the 290g of a Nexus 7 or the 331g of the iPad Mini. Despite this, we found it comfortable to use and hold in just one hand, especially in a portrait orientation.

In fact, this seems to be how Toshiba envisions the Encore being used. The Toshiba logo on the front panel is placed in portrait orientation as is the Windows button, and the two speaker slots for audio output are on the "bottom" edge of the device in this orientation. However, the screen automatically rotates as usual, so you can view the screen in landscape mode if you prefer.

While the front of the Encore has the typical, almost featureless black fascia seen on most tablets, the rear and sides are formed from a single piece of plastic with a mesh of fine dimples that give the device a rather cheap look and feel when compared with the iPad or Nexus. It does, however, feel sturdy enough to take a few knocks.

The Encore comes in two versions, with the only apparent difference between the two being the amount of storage they have. Our unit had a 64GB solid-state drive (SSD), while a slightly cheaper model has just 32GB.
Toshiba Encore tablet
Both models are based on the Intel Atom Z3740 processor, which has four cores and is clocked at 1.33GHz, although this can rise as high as 1.86GHz when required under Intel's Burst technology. More importantly, this chip is based on the latest Bay Trail platform, which is designed to offer better battery life for portable devices such as this.

This being an Atom, memory is restricted, and both versions of the Encore appear to be limited to no more than 2GB of low power DDR3.

Meanwhile, the Encore lacks any kind of cellular wireless connectivity, which means users have to rely on WiFi or Bluetooth to get an internet connection. Toshiba has equipped the device with 802.11a/b/g/n capability in this department.

The ports on the Encore are relatively sparse, with just a micro USB port, headset jack socket and micro HDMI ports adorning the top edge of the device when viewed in portrait orientation.

The micro USB port is chiefly for connecting the mains adapter to charge the Encore's battery, but can be used to connect peripherals such as flash memory sticks, according to Toshiba. However, this would require an adapter cable, which Toshiba does not include.

The left edge of the case (again in portrait orientation) features a micro SD slot for adding extra flash storage, while the right edge has the Encore's power button and volume control.

An 8MP camera lens adorns the rear of the Encore, while a 2MP webcam can be found in a corner of the front fascia. Despite its high pixel count, the rear camera did not deliver great image quality and produced photos that were slightly off focus in our tests.

Next: Display and performance

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About Doru Somcutean

Hello, my name is Somcutean Doru and I'm from Romania.

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  1. I'm glad that you like it, but those articles are not written by me, are original articles from different websites, I find those article interesting and I post them here, the articles from ROReviews are written by me, and I also have some in English as well, anyway, thank you so much for the support.