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Toshiba Encore 2 8"

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star
Where to Buy

What's Hot: Very low price, sharp and colorful IPS display, good stereo speakers.

What's Not: Just 1 gig of RAM means multitasking can be painful.


Reviewed December 9, 2014 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

Toshiba Encore 2

Toshiba's Encore 2 8 inch tablet is one of the most affordable Windows 8.1 tablets on the market. These days, it seems that manufacturers are in a race to the bottom with low end Windows tablets, and their prices undercut Android tablets as well as the pricey iPad. The 32 gig Encore 2 sells for just $149 at many stores, and the elusive 64 gig model is $199. Given that Windows program sizes tend to be considerably larger than their mobile OS counterparts (Android and iOS), 32 gigs is very little space since Windows 8.1 itself takes up about half, leaving 16 gigs free after installing Office 365 (one year free included) and Windows updates. The tablet runs Windows 8.1 with Bing, which is a new name for the same old Windows 8.1 32 bit that we've seen on most Intel Atom Windows tablets. Bing is set as the default search engine, which is also true of the non-Bing versions of Windows, but you can set the search engine to whatever you like. The Encore 2 is a Windows machine that can run programs designed for Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Toshiba Encore 2

This is a budget tablet, so expect a plastic casing and large bezels. That said, the Encore 2 is a wonderful redesign that looks sleek and slim compared to the last gen Toshiba Encore. We're not fans of the gold color (more like washed-out champagne) that extends even to the front bezel, but it does stand out from the sea of black tablets. The tablet feels reasonably sturdy and all seams meet cleanly; build quality is good given the price.

The Encore 2 has a sharp and colorful 1280 x 800 IPS display, and we're fine with that resolution on an 8" panel. The crisp display is one of the tablet's strongest features, in fact. This is a touch screen with no support for active digitizers or pens, so you can use a capacitive stylus but nothing fancier. It runs on the 1.3GHz Intel Atom Z3537G with just 1 gig of RAM. The 2 gigs we saw in older Intel Atom Windows tablets felt pretty sparse, and with only 1 gig, multi-tasking is rough--expect slowdowns. Still, it's fine for using IE with 5 tabs open and email running in the background. It can handle HD and 1080p video playback, just make sure you don't have several other programs running in the background.

Toshiba Encore 2

Speaking of full HD video playback, if you want to play content back on a larger screen, there's Miracast wireless display but no HDMI port (most Windows 8" tablets lack HDMI). The tablet has a micro USB port used for charging (5v 2 amp like Android tablets and the iPad). That port does double duty as a USB port, but you'll need to get a micro USB host cable, also called an OTG cable, to use hard drives, 4G dongles, printers and any other USB device supported by Windows. Since this runs full Windows, the same devices and drivers that work on your Windows laptop and desktop will work with the Toshiba. The Encore 2 has a 3.5mm combo audio jack and a microSD card slot where you can store music, movies and your files. Windows 8.1 doesn't support installing programs to SD cards. Single band WiFi 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 provide wireless connectivity, and there's no 3G/4G option (though you can use a USB dongle, MiFi or your smartphone's mobile hotspot feature with the tablet).


Deals and Shopping:


Toshiba Encore 2 Video Review



PCMark 7 Benchmark Comparison Table

Toshiba Encore 2 2215
Dell Venue 8 Pro 2306
Asus Transformer Book T100 2323
Acer Iconia W3 (Atom, Clover Trail) 1436
HP Split x2 (Core i3) 3054
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S (Core i5) 3837
Asus Transformer Book TX300 4495
HP Envy x2 Intel Atom dual core 1424
Asus VivoTab TF810C 1256
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 (Core i5) 4427
Microsoft Surface Pro 2 4905

wPrime: 38 seconds

Geekbench 3 (32 bit test): 681, 2060 multi-core


Toshiba Encore 2

Toshiba claims up to 11 hours of use time on a charge, and as usual with manufacturer claims, that's optimistic. We averaged 8 to 8.5 hours with screen brightness set to 50% and WiFi turned on and active. As with most tablets, the battery is sealed inside.

There's competition from the Acer Iconia W4, the Dell Venue 8 Pro 3000 and the Venue Pro 5000 (the older and higher spec version of the Venue Pro) and the HP Stream 8 for lower priced 8" models. For the higher end, there's the Lenovo ThinkPad 8 and the sometimes quirky but pen-equipped Asus VivoTab Note 8. There's something to be said for the more expensive models that have 2 gigs of RAM, but if you're in the market for the least expensive Windows 8" tablet you can buy from a company you've heard of, the Toshiba Encore 2 8 isn't a bad choice. As a road companion that can handle any video and music format you throw at it (it's Windows, the codecs abound) plus a real desktop web browser with Adobe Flash it's a steal at $149, as long as you don't expect contemporary laptop performance. And for those who want a bit more scren real estate, there's the Toshiba Encore 2 10 inch model that starts at $199.

Price: $199 list, $149 street for 32 gig


Related Reviews:

Toshiba Encore 8" Tablet Review (last gen)

Dell Venue 8 Pro 5000 Review

Lenovo ThinkPad 8 Review

Asus Transformer Book T100 Review

Nexus 9 Review

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 Review

iPad mini with Retina Display Review


Toshiba Encore 2


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Display: 8", 1280 x 800 IPS display. Intel HD integrated graphics. Micracast wireless display.

Battery: 2 cell Lithium Ion rechargeable.

Performance: 1.3 GHz Intel Atom Z3735G quad core CPU with burst to 1.83 GHz. 1 gig RAM, 32 or 64 gigs internal storage.

Size: 8.30 x 5.20 x 0.37 inches. Weight: 0.81 pounds.

Camera: 1.2MP front camera and 5MP rear camera.

Audio: Built-in stereo speakers, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Integrated single band WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0.

Software: Windows 8.1 32 bit with Bing. 1 year Office 365 subscription included.

Expansion and Ports: 1 microSD card slot, 3.5mm combo audio and micro USB 2.0 port for charging and USB host with peripherals.



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