We've already looked at the Dell Venue 8 Pro Lenovo Miix 2 8, so now it's time to check out the Toshiba Encore. Like the other two, the Encore is an 8 inch Windows 8.1 tablet running on the 1.33GHz quad core Intel Atom Bay Trail CPU. It has the same 2 gigs of RAM, 32 or 64 gigs of flash storage, a microSD card slot and a 1280 x 800 display. The 32 gig model sells for $329, which is $30 higher than the competition, and there's a 64 gig model available for $399.
The Encore isn't a sleek and sexy budget tablet. It's chunkier and does less to hide its all-plastic heritage than the competition. It's also a few ounces heaver. Toshiba and stylish aren't two words we often get to put in the same sentence. That said, it's a solid tablet that doesn't feel delicate--it falls short on looks rather than quality. The nearly 1 pound Encore does have an edge against the competition for those who wish to use it with an external monitor or HD TV: it has a micro HDMI port. The Dell and Lenovo have Miracast wireless display (not common on TVs yet), but not HDMI. Toshiba also uses a higher resolution camera on the back, and that 8MP shooter does indeed take sharper shots and clearer video.
In terms of performance, it's the same story as with the Venue 8 Pro and Miix 2 8: the new quad core Bay Trail Intel Atom CPU with Turbo Boost is twice as fast as the last gen Atom and about half the speed of the Intel Core i5 U series CPU used on Ultrabooks and higher end tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro 2. This is a full Windows 8.1 32 bit machine and it can run desktop exe programs like iTunes, Adobe Photoshop and casual games. Microsoft Office 2013 Home and Student Edition is included, a very nice bonus with this crop of 8 inch Windows tablets.
Unlike the Dell, the Toshiba doesn't work with a digital pen, but it does provide enough power for 2.5" portable hard drives that lack external power. The tablet has a micro USB host port (also used for charging), a 3.5mm audio jack and micro SDXC card slot.