Toshiba Encore Windows tablet (preview)

The Toshiba Encore is an 8in tablet that runs the full version of Microsoft's Windows 8.1 operating system

Toshiba Encore
  • Toshiba Encore
  • Toshiba Encore
  • Toshiba Encore
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Pros

  • Runs full version of Windows 8.1
  • Competitive price
  • Fast boot times

Cons

  • Screen isn't very high res
  • No full-sized USB port

Bottom Line

The Toshiba Encore is a competitively priced 8in tablet that runs the full version of Microsoft's Windows 8.1 operating system.

Would you buy this?

Windows tablets haven't been as widely well received or adopted as their iOS and Android competitors, but Toshiba's latest attempt could be about to change that. The Toshiba Encore is an 8in tablet that runs the full version of Microsoft's Windows 8.1 operating system.

The key aspect of the Toshiba Encore is that it runs the full version of Windows 8.1, not Microsoft's downscaled RT version. While Windows 8.1 may lack iOS and Android's wide range of mobile apps, it can run any Windows desktop application out there. This immediately gives it a big advantage, especially to business or corporate users who may be restricted in what programs they can run.

Toshiba will include a full version of Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 pre-installed on the Encore, attempting to make it appeal to users who want to get some real work done. The pre-installed software package includes Microsoft's Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications, but lacks the Outlook e-mail client. Microsoft also includes 7GB of free SkyDrive cloud storage, as well as 30 free Skype minutes.

Aside from its software, the other key feature of the Toshiba Encore is its processor. It's one of the first devices on the market to run a new Intel Bay Trail chipset, a 1.4GHz quad-core Z 3740 processor. Toshiba claims the chip provides power that's comparable to a regular, mid-range laptop, and says the Encore will boot in just 300-milliseconds.

The Toshiba Encore has 2GB of RAM on board and is available in 16GB and 32GB models. The 8in screen has a rather low resolution of 1280x800, though it's worth noting that this is slightly higher than Apple's current iPad mini (1024x768). Other features include a microSD card slot for memory expansion, a micro-HDMI port for outputting to a high definition monitor or television, and built-in GPS.

The Toshiba Encore has dual cameras — a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video calling apps like Skype, and a rear-facing 8-megapixel camera that can record full HD, 1080p video. Toshiba says the battery will last up to seven hours.

The Toshiba Encore will be available in Australia from the first week of November in a light gold colour, pictured below. The 32GB model is priced at $399, while the 64GB model will retail for $469.

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