Toshiba has announced two new tablets today – the 8-inch Encore 2 and 10.1-inch Encore 2.
Both these new tablets share a distinctive design from Toshiba featuring a Satin Gold chassis and matching slim bezel with rounded edges for easier holding. Both are about a third of an inch thick with the 8-inch model weighing just 0.81 pounds and the 10.1-inch model weighing just 1.21 pounds. The speakers (which come with Dolby Digital Plus Advanced Audio) are positioned in such a way so audio is not blocked when the device is held.
On the inside, both Encore 2 tablets are powered by a quad-core Intel Atom processor that provides the performance and speed for mobile gaming, getting work done and navigating Windows 8.1. The Encore 2 tablets can be configured with up to 64GB of onboard storage and up to 2GB of memory. Both feature a micro-USB port for sharing content and charging, and a micro-SD slot supporting cards up to 128GB that allows storage to be expanded for documents, photos and videos. They both also have a 5MP rear camera that can capture Full HD 1080p video at 30 frames per second and a front-facing camera for video calls. And they both have an echo suppressor to minimize background noise while on a video or audio call. For displaying content on a bigger screen like a monitor or TV, the Encore 2 tablets have a micro-HDMI port and also support wireless display.
There is also an optional Bluetooth keyboard cover with clickpad to boost productivity. This cover is optimized for the 10.1-inch Encore 2 but also works on the 8-inch Encore 2. The Encore 2 tablets also include a 1-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, giving customers access to full versions of Word, Excel, Power Point, OneNote and Outlook with the ability to work online and offline and sync between devices when connected to OneDrive.
The Encore 2 tablets will be available in the U.S. in early July starting at $199.99 for the 8-inch model and starting at $269.99 for the 10.1-inch model. The tablets will reach Europe during the third quarter of 2014.
To be honest the Encore is not a bad bargin tablet, the inclusion of office home and student made it a great investment for a spare machine for home and work, (its saved my bacon a few times!) The full version of Windows 8.1 uses a lot of the available space, but the Encore2 looks to have improved on adding additional memory via improved SD handling increase, and also including Office 365 as a evaluation for a year will give users a great taster for working via the cloud/onedrive..
The 10.1 would be a better option for long use IHMO as the 8 screen gets fiddly especially if you use the desktop heavily. Sure if you want something that will run an entire day with boots on go Surface without a doubt, but for £179 the Encore is a great price for a working practical 8.1 machine.
Looking forward to hearing the UK pricing on these new Encore 2 machines
I really wish Toshiba would concentrate on resolving the problems with the Encore I prior to releasing the Encore 2. The Encore still does not handle connected standby correctly and drains the battery in only 24 hours or less of connected standby. The lack of charging while using a USB device is a horrendous oversight.
If Microsoft and its partners cannot resolve these types of issues there will not be much of a future for Windows tablets. I need to be certain my tablet has a charge before leaving for a meeting and I do not have that certainty with the current crop of Toshiba tablets.