TOSHIBA ENCORE 2 8
|Operating System||Windows 8.1|
|Dimension (in)||5.2 x .37 x 8.3|
|Resolution (px)||1280 x 800|
|Touchscreen||IPS LED Capacitive|
Bluetooth v4.0; Wi-Fi connectivity; Front- and rear-camera; Micro USB; MicroSD; accelerometer, gyroscope
|Battery Life||11 hrs|
Toshiba's $179.99-direct Encore 2 8$119.99 at Amazon—the slightly smaller iteration of the Toshiba Encore 2 10$179.99 at Amazon we reviewed a few weeks back—is practically the same tablet on the outside, just sized differently. Not much is different on the inside, either. The tablet's 8-versus-10-inch screen size is the key reason why it's priced $70 lower than its bigger peer.
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.
The 8in screen delivers a standard HD resolution of 1280x800 pixels (189ppi) -- not full HD, like last year's Google Nexus 7 for instance, but at least it's a little sharper than the 10in version, which stretches the same pixel count over a larger screen. It's nicely sensitive too and we had no problems getting it to respond to our presses and swipes.
A 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor and 1GB of memory gave Toshiba's device a decent amount of oomph on our benchmark tests—or, at least, on the benchmarks we could run. Toshiba's decision to employ a 32-bit iteration of Windows 8.1, even though the tablet's CPU is a 64-bit processor, meant that some of our standard tests simply didn't work, or couldn't be run in their 64-bit versions.
Toshiba claims battery life of up to 10 hours, but during my regular day to day use (web browsing, checking email, playing games, and watching YouTube videos), I was getting closer to eight hours. If you do want to get more from the battery, turn down the screen brightness as it's set to the brightest setting out of the box.
If for whatever reason you'd like a tablet with access to the full range of Windows applications, the Encore 2 is impressive value, but we prefer the Lenovo Miix 2 8 Windows 8.1 tablet, which is around £20 more expensive, has twice the RAM and storage and better battery life.