Review: Toshiba Encore 8
4.0Overall Score

Price (RRP): $399 for 32GB; $459 for 64GB;
Manufacturer: Toshiba

Tablets are taking over and PC manufacturers are trying a different tactic to get Windows in the hands of people, with pint-sized portable computers. We’ve seen plenty of 10 inch tablets, but Toshiba is trying an 8 incher of its own, and it will even let you play with all those Windows apps you already own.

Features

Toshiba’s first truly handheld Windows tablet in a long time, the Toshiba Encore relies on Intel’s latest and greatest Atom processor, with the Bay Trail version popping up in here in the form of the Z3740, a quad-core processor clocked at 1.33GHz and paired with 2GB RAM.

Two variations of storage exist in Australia, with a 32GB model retailing for $399, while a 64GB model comes in at $459. Regardless of what model you choose, a microSD slot can be found on the tablet, making it possible to expand the storage.

Connections for the Encore 8 are pretty standard, and include the 802.11a/b/g/n wireless networking (WiFi), Bluetooth 4.0, DLNA, a microUSB port, and a microHDMI port for sending the Encore 8 to a bigger display.

You might want that, because all of this sits under an 8 inch screen, making it one of the smallest Windows machines you can buy, and it even runs the full version of Windows 8 (8.1, actually) and not that Windows RT stuff that Microsoft’s Surface tablet gets. The display here will show 1280×800, worthy of high definition, and a pixel clarity of 189 pixels per inch.

Cameras are pretty normal on tablets, and the Toshiba Encore 8 is no different in this regard, with an 8 megapixel camera on the back and a Full HD webcam up front. A microphone is also included, capable of recording in stereo.

Few buttons exist on this device, with two physical buttons — power and volume rocker — while the front-facing Windows logo also acts as a button, with haptic feedback behind it.

The regular 3.5mm headset jack is also included. useful if you plan on plugging in headphones or a microphone.

Toshiba’s Encore is charged over microUSB just like many phones and tablets currently available.

Performance

Toshiba isn’t shy when it comes to computers, creating the world’s first consumer-ready laptop, and helping push that clamshell style notebooks still rely on today.

It also produced a tablet long before most other companies, with the T100X, a handheld that ran Windows 3.1 with a 9.5 inch monochromatic display and a whopping 40MB of space.

Times have changed, though, and Toshiba is tipping its hat to modern day tablet computing with a Windows 8 tablet, several generations on from that old version of Windows, with a more defined colour screen, better performance, and the ability to take all of your desktop apps with you.