Toshiba Encore Mini 7in Windows tablet
It's too small to do anything useful, and perhaps a little overpriced, too
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
Toshiba's Encore Mini is touted as offering a full Windows PC experience in a 7in form factor. The question is: why would you want a full Windows PC experience in such a small device?
Windows 8.1 can be frustrating enough to use on much bigger tablets, but on a 7in tablet it can be downright miserable, especially when compounded by cheap hardware. If there are those of you out there who think you might need a full Windows-based tablet in such a small form factor, then read on.
With Windows 8.1 running on a quad-core Intel Atom Z3735G CPU, the Encore Mini has the potential to be a decent little device, but the rest of the kit includes only 1GB of RAM, a paltry 16GB of storage (though there is a microSD slot), and a 1024x600-pixel screen. The screen is set to a higher resolution of 1280x768 by default (it's the recommended resolution when you go into Display settings), and this is because some of the apps that this type of tablet could be useful for, such as Kindle, won't run at 1024x600. We therefore tested this tablet at that pre-set, higher resolution.
The end result was a screen that was hard to tap on with any accuracy, and text that looked muddy. It was quite a chore to close, minimise and restore windows when in the Desktop, and we even found difficulty trying to tap into text boxes or on icons such as the Windows Key. If you were to use the tablet mainly in the Modern (Metro) UI for apps that are designed for touch, then you could have a good time with this tablet, but for anything Desktop-related, you probably won't have too much fun, and especially not if you have thick fingers.
We'll also mention that the screen isn't of the IPS (in-plane switching) variety, and therefore has limited viewing angles. You can see colour shifting and changes in contrast when you change the angle, so the pressure is on to keep the tablet at a perfect angle at all times in order to enjoy what you are seeing on the screen. Additionally, paleness is visible around the edges where the backlight illuminates the pixels, and this can be seen when viewing dark photos or videos.
Reflections from the glossy surface bounce off the screen noticeably most of the time, and the screen overall can be drowned out when used in a bright environment. For something that's meant to be so portable, these aspects are frustrating. The maximum brightness level will be best to use most of the time, except while indoors, and at night.
Around the edges, the tablet has necessities: a power button, a volume control, a micro-USB port, and a microSD card slot. There's not much more to it than that. Even a Windows Home button isn't present on the hardware, and on such a small device that is perhaps a blessing as it would be too easy to press inadvertently. The back has a stylish white colour, and the unit's build quality felt decent enough. However, even slight bouts of pressure on the chassis caused puddling to appear on the screen.Read more: HP Pro Tablet 610 G1 Windows tablet
So what can you use the Encore Mini for? You can use it to run pretty much any Windows application. After all, it does run a full version of Windows 8.1. But that would be hard considering the size of the screen. It's a tablet that's mostly useful for consuming content, whether it be video, audio, or just reading ebooks or browsing Reddit.
One of the main usage scenarios we found for the Encore Mini was as a control for playing music on our Bluetooth stereo system. We connected to our stereo using Bluetooth 4.0, and then fired up Google Play Music to stream music from the Internet (via the single-band 802.11n Wi-Fi module). We used the touchscreen to control the music and select the albums that we wanted to play. We had to switch off the power saving features, though, otherwise the music stopped when the tablet slept.
What else? We fired up some Modern UI-based Windows 8 apps from time to time, such as Twitter, The Big Picture, and a few Solitaire games, and used the tablet to browse and pass time while sitting on the couch watching TV. Ebooks could be read through Kindle, and with the size of the tablet being quite small, it wasn't hard to hold for a long periods of time. We didn't enjoy the look of the screen, though, and the text rendering was poor.
Is it good for Web browsing? In short, no, it's not. This is especially true if you use Firefox on the Windows Desktop. It's not a natural touch interface, and even simple things such as typing in a URL require you to first invoke Windows' on-screen keyboard. When typing in credentials on sites, you have to manage the location of text input boxes so that the on-screen keyboard doesn't cover them up.Read more: HP Stream 11 laptop
It's easier to use Internet Explorer in the Modern UI interface for Web browsing, mainly because it's more suited to a touch interface. But even then it's not great. Web sites with lots of images and multimedia can slow the tablet down to a crawl.
Battery life will depend on the programs you run and the brightness setting of the screen, but you can bank on about a handful of hours. Charge time is over two hours via a micro-USB charger.
You could say that for $199, the ordinary user experience should be expected, but it's actually not a great price when you consider we are living in the age of the cheap supermarket tablet. Mostly, though, we think that seven inches is just way too small for a Windows tablet to be useful. Eight would be the smallest we'd go for in a Windows tablet. Something like the regular Toshiba Encore. We like that one better.
Join the newsletter!
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
cloudandco Smart Cane
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Apple iPhone X
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Toys for Boys
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Bose SoundLink Micro
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Xbox One X
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Google Home Mini review: a welcome addition to the smart speaker family.
- 4 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 5 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
Latest News Articles
- BenQ unveils a pair of new ergonomic eSports mice
- Microsoft's path to a smarter Bing and Cortana includes tapping Reddit users' opinions
- BuyDig has a 27-inch 4K monitor with FreeSync for $350
- Try VR for cheap: Windows Mixed Reality headsets are on sale for nearly half off today
- Newegg has dropped the Ryzen 7 1700X to $300
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- LG V30+ review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- Xbox One X review: Brave new world
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTSolution DesignerOther
- CCWintel Team LeadWA
- FTInfrastructure Designer - Citrix/AWSOther
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Digital Producer/Digital Program ManagerOther
- TPFrontend Developer - AngularNSW
- FTSenior Android DeveloperOther
- CCChange specialist OR Junior Change managerNSW
- FTTest ManagerACT
- FTSenior SAS DeveloperOther
- FTCommunications ManagerOther
- FTSecurity Business Analyst - $850 per dayOther
- FTIT Project Coordinator | Gold CoastQLD
- CCNetwork Data AdministratorWA
- CCExstream DeveloperNSW
- FTClinical Support Specialist - PermanentQLD
- TPIT Technical WriterNSW
- FTInsights AnalystOther
- FTEngineer Control Systems SpecialistSA
- FTCyber Security Program ManagerNSW
- TPSolution Architect | eDRMS | 2 PositionsQLD
- CCHelpdesk Support AnalystNSW
- FTDigital ProducerQLD
- FTOperational Support Engineer - Linux & CiscoOther
- FTBusiness Transformation - Business AnalystOther