on 3 January 2014
I felt compelled to write something after seeing that very MISLEADING previous review that suggests it doesn't come with full Microsoft office 2013....I can tell you from experience it does: you have to download it first and activate it with the licence code in the box. Excel,one note, powerpoint,word etc. all there.
Aside from that, considering the price point great tablet very affordable and once you try windows 8 on a touchscreen you realise how well the tiled side of the interface works its bit short on apps compared with android or iOS but thats bound to improve with time and it more then makes up for it when you consider that you can run any pc software on it, with the new bay trail based quad core atom chip been more then twice as powerful as the previous atom it can now perform pretty well as a pc, obviously the screen is a bit small for desktop apps and you really need mouse to work that side of the os well, it is possible to download an onscreen virtual mouse which helps a lot as you can't always pack a mouse, i picked this over the dell venue 8 and lenovo miix 2 mainly for the hdmi out. plug into a tv or montier add a bluetooth mouse and keyboard and it becomes very viable as a laptop replacement
great battery life, I recommend stretching to 64gb as the 32 only has 11gb free space which is not a lot to play with considering it can be used as a full pc, downloading office, iTunes, Picasso.....etc. quickly uses space and it not always easier to move the actual programs to an external sd if you do go for the 32gb its possible to move the recovery partition to an usb stick which will free up around an extra 7gbs
on 15 December 2013
Okay I've owned apple and android tablets none have been able to fully take on the demands of my job (doctor)
I think windows tablets are the way to go for business users, full windows 8.1. No matter what people say, most businesses (and the NHS) rely on it.
Yes android and apple have more apps, but why???...... because you need two or three apps to do anything on those platforms that you only need one program for on windows (Don't both with straight RT tho' as this is just an app based system, with less apps). Credit where credit is due, apple and android have more game apps - but I nought this for work!
Now the Encore:
GET THE 64GB one, 32GB will disappear v.quickly, - I got 64GB one, best buy I've made for a long time.
Bought it over other 8 inches to get the HDMI out, which works well but needs a driver update to allow display cloning - annoying, but I'm sure will come soon, its a very new processor.
The processor is AMAZING, more than capable of running full office (included minus outlook), very snappy, long battery life - 8+ hers so far, quick charge.
Windows 8.1 is GREAT, I had low expectations from OS reviews, but it works brilliantly with the FULL WINDOWS included on this device. The encore works as a FULL PC, can download drivers for any device, I'd recommend getting a OTG cable as this is not included and is needed to attach most devices.
Buyer be aware tho' this is not a toy - as it runs full windows you can break the software (think laptop), you can get viruses - use antivirus. However you can also run all the RT apps, some of which are very useful and run in a safer ecosystem.
I've not used my apple or android devices since receiving this item, or my pc, or my laptop - don't need to!
Display is very clear and kindle app us very nice to read.
Good Points: Pretty much everything, brilliant value for money
- The heaviest of the 8 inch PC tablets, but a nice weight, easy to hold for a full battery cycle, nothing n the pockets
- Needs a display driver update to allow HDMI screen cloning
- Camera app occasionally crashes, not often but has also been reported elsewhere
- Not many uk accessories yet
Edit 2 Weeks of Use Later:
Still love this little device. Still very fast. Installed Windows Movie Maker For Free - Runs like a dream. Office is fully functional (including OneNote). Steam (for gaming) works well but you must Install main program on C drive, games can go on SD card - work well but lay attention to system requirements - this is no super computer but 5 year old games mostly run well.
Hooked up to my 24 inch HDMI monitor with MS wedge Bluetooth keyboard and MS wedge Bluetooth mouse, still able to charge using provided USB charger. This acts like a full computer, I should say, this IS a full functional computer - whips my 4 year old near top speck laptop for day-to-day use.
Few crashes - all my own fault, trying to run games made for more powerful machines.
Battery life: At least 8 hours of general (non-gaming) use. About 6 hours for RT (App Store) high demand games (eg Adrenaline)
Screen resolution: You will not notice it's not "retina"
Overall verdict after 2 weeks: still not touched my iPad, laptop, pc, android tablet - surprised to say...... this windows device beats them all... for me
Down sides after 2 weeks: None really, still waiting for MS to re-activate true dual screen mirroring but this is not a fault of this device.
Just ordered official case, will update when arrives. Remember - buy the 64GB version and a 64GB micro SD and a micro USB to USB OTG cable to maximise productivity.
UPDATE 3 MONTHS IN:
Still not used my iPad, older 21inch laptop, desktop
It's now a fully functional computer with my HDMI connected 24inch screen, MS Bluetooth keyboard and mouse
Used for projectors at work (with HDMI to dvi adaptor) 100% functional
Mirroring not working still (MS problem not Toshiba - update due soon apparently), but love using extended desktop
Battery easily manages 72h of light doctor work (internet, word, excel etc.) and 7h+ of Website editing (Serif) using Bluetooth accessories.
Every peripheral I've attached has worked instantly: CD/DVD RW drives, printers, projectors, card readers etc
Still not regretting for a moment this purchase
MS Store improving.... slowly but every legacy program I've tried works perfectly.
I still stand by that windows 8.1 is an excellent tablet OS, and having the full MS OS means its a great desktop OS too.
Still recommend this as excellent value for money, and an ideal in the pocket (big pockets) pc
on 22 December 2013
Got mine from PC World with £10 off Priority moments so even better.
Does everything you wish.If you are missing a few games, just play them through a full flash web browser, e.g Songpop via Facebook on chrome. Its a proper PC so the choice is endless.
Build quality is not ipad mini standard,( the screen flexes a little under pressure) but otherwise the only material problem is an issue with the camera driver which requires a reboot every so often. Incidentally the camera has a very good macro mode, I was very impressed with the autofocus and detail close up.
Other niggles include the size of the buttons in desktop mode and no charging in Usb otg mode.
Get yourself a cheap stylus and you're sorted. You can even show off the joined-up handwriting recognition to your Apple friends.
Sold my ipad mini as no longer needed. With full itunes i can airplay to three rooms so better than a mini and much cheaper than a sonos setup. music storage not an issue as it streams from my itunes library on main pc upstairs.
Update: installed Airfoil and it seems to work - allows me to stream system audio (ie music) to airplay devices, worked fine streaming music from iplayer and deezer
install icloud control panel and you can carry on sharing photostreams etc and it automatically installs shortcuts to your icloud calender via browser.
Windows 8 gets a lot of flack but it is easily the best touch OS once you get used to it, i find going back to the one button ios world like going back to the dark ages.
Update: finally tried it out with a netgear p2tv miracast box with mixed results. By default it extends the desktop and a mouse is essential but it worked very well, streaming Dr Who on iplayer to the TV while I browsed around on the tablet. The only mode where you could get away without a mouse is "duplicate" but there is an issue with the Intel drivers so this does not work. As suggested elsewhere I tried the latest dell venue 8 pro drivers and got it working ok except for an issue with 4OD. Knowing it is just a driver issue I rolled back to the original drivers and ill wait for an official update...
Update 2: was a little disappointed with volume of microphones until I found a variable boost setting hidden away. It is described in the manual but should be right straight out of the box.
Update 3: three months in and it's still going strong. Only issue I have is space on my 32gb model but its a steal at current price £199. Hoping 8.1 Update 1 will bring some space. Got a Microsoft sculpt comfort mouse and it is a great combination
Update 4: Bios update 1.6 has arrived with updated Intel drivers and Dolby sound. Miracast now duplicates and camera seems fixed (now gives you panorama).
on 15 December 2013
It's taken a while, but tablets are now powerful enough to be taken seriously. As counter-intuitive as it seems, this 8-inch tablet (along with the Dell Venue 8 Pro and Lenovo Miix2) doesn't miss a beat despite running full Windows 8.
Compared to the competition, the Toshiba is the heaviest (by about a packet of crisps in weight), but is feature-rich with stereo speakers and microphones, sharper cameras and micro-HDMI. Build quality is far better than the pictures would lead you to believe. Being under 450g with an 8-inch form factor means you can hold this comfortably in one hand without getting cramps.
The screen is superb with great viewing angles, vivid colours and clean whites. Minor criticisms can be poked at the slightly lacking black levels and the resolution being quite mediocre. However, this is extreme nitpicking. 720p video looks gorgeous on this machine and as long as you don't ram the screen onto your eyeballs, the pixel density is good enough that it doesn't detract from the experience.
In terms of power, the flash memory and quad-core processors combine nicely together to keep things rolling, enough for some light gaming. I'm yet to see this thing stutter despite some pretty intense computing.
Battery life is excellent. With WiFi on, a paired Bluetooth keyboard and brightness around 60%, this thing managed 2 hours of gaming (Hearthstone to be precise), an hour of 720p video, a 30 GB transfer from a USB hard drive, some Office use and some other faffing. In total, it lasted 6 hours, despite the hardcore usage. Another run with more normal (but still heavy) usage gave me 8 hours.
Storage-wise, I got the 64 GB model. Out the box, there's around 50 GBs free. After installing the included Office (yes, it's free and yes, it's very good) and a few other apps, I was left with 36 GBs.
My load-out for this tablet include a MediaDevil Magicwand, a Microsoft Wedge Keyboard (which includes a tablet stand), a StarTech.com Micro USB to USB for plugging in USB devices such as hard drives and phones, a 32 GB microSD plucked from an old Android phone of mine and 7 GBs free SkyDrive storage. In total, it's a £357 spend for a ~100 GB tablet with accessories. Way less than even a 32 GB iPad mini without accessories and no Microsoft Office.
Being Windows 8, this tablet can run the gazillion apps already made for Windows and Windows Store apps which is a mind-boggling amount of choice. You might have heard a lot of complaining about Windows 8, but people don't like change. If you embrace the changes instead of fighting it, not only will you enjoy using it, but you can be more productive than with Windows 7. It's also fresh and exciting, compared to the grey-dullfest of Mac OS, which has been seriously lacking in innovation for a while now. Good news for me as this is taking over from my MacBook Pro.
If I have to complain (and I have to really scrape the bottom of the barrel here), I would say that if a Windows tablet doesn't have a full-size USB slot, they should include a USB adapter in the box. Also, in landscape the speakers are on the same side, which doesn't really make sense for videos. Then again, would you rather listen through tablet speakers or headphones/ proper speakers?
Overall, I'm very happy. Any problems I have with it are minor and far from deal-breakers. I'm very much looking forward to next couple of years in terms of tablets. Stay tuned folks, because things are getting interesting.
on 27 December 2013
Firstly Amazon. Thanks for delivering before Christmas. This only came out just before Christmas and I was a bit worried it might not get here on time, but it did, excellent!
The tablet itself far exceeds my expectations. I spent weeks trawling through the plethora of tablets on the market before plumbing for this Toshiba model. Why? We have an iPad 4, very good, but unless everything else you have is Apple, you're a bit stuck. Quite difficult to upload videos, photos _ transfer them etc.
So I started looking at Windows machines and this one (which hadn't been released btw.) stuck out. Full Windows 8.1, sd card, decent ram, hdmi port, micro USB plus an affordable price.
Having tried it for a few days now it really impresses me. Took 10 minutes or so to set up, took the settings from my PC including apps, backgrounds, even the favorites from ie11. Very easy. Plays music well (although maybe having stereo at only one side seems a bit strange) videos look great, play very well indeed, resolution is just fine, battery is fine (as long as you use the supplied charger) and games run just great, I tried Bioshock Infinite (lowish settings, but native 1200 * 800 resolution) and it's completely playable, just plug in a keyboard and mouse, great when you're away from home - getting a Bluetooth keyboard soon. Reading eBooks is very easy, Office works fine, internet is Very fast as long as you're in WiFi range, I could go on...
In short, so far, it's a fantastic product, I couldn't recommend it highly enough.
Update - after 10 months, still going strong with my Encore. Added 64Gb micro sd card, bags of memory!. I use my tablet every day at work (as a teacher), have it connected to a pair of Bluetooth speakers to play mp3s for my students, never lets me down. Contains all my notes, books (on pdfs), I can instantly show examples, translate, show videos, pictures etc. It's just perfect to hold in one hand (in it's protective case).
I think I'm happier now than when I first got it, as I have a specific use for it, apart from playing the odd game, looking at the web, watching movies (which it's great for btw).
on 18 December 2013
I've paired this with a Bluetooth keyboard cover and I'm extremely impressed. Windows runs smoothly without any signs of slowdown and it can even handle games competently - the new Tomb Raider reached a barely-playable 13fps at low settings, but for a new game on a cheap tablet that's pretty extraordinary. 2D games have no trouble at all and I fully expect that less demanding 3D games will run perfectly well.
Whether this is a full laptop replacement is a matter of opinion - the 8" screen is certainly good enough to make out the smallest of icons and buttons on x86 programs, but there's a clear gulf in the design of Windows apps and full desktop programs. The Photoshop Express app might work fine, but if you want to use the full Photoshop program, even Elements, you'd really want to upgrade to something with a 10" screen, or at least a decent stylus. That said, my Wacom Bamboo not only runs perfectly, but has the same size drawing area as the Encore's screen, making it fantastically easy to draw with - it also activates the mouse cursor, making it a great alternative to a stylus.
Luckily, the available apps are entirely fit for purpose. A lot is made of how few apps Windows has compared to Android and iOS, but apart from the more specialist apps out there I've yet to find Windows 8 wanting. News and weather especially are both superbly presented and highly functional, with other apps like Food and Health having easily navigable and comprehensive content. Even Internet Explorer is besting Chrome for me in terms of its usability and features on such a small device, and I never thought I'd be saying that any time soon.
The only real downside to the Encore over similar tablets is the casing; it feels tough but has worryingly little grip, while the weight is fine but noticeable nonetheless. It becomes a non-issue once paired with a case, but on its own the constant feeling that it might slide out of my hands is enough to warrant dropping a star from the rating.
I wouldn't quite class this as a full laptop replacement, but really only due to the screen size - unless you're planning to run Photoshop or other full-featured desktop programs, I'd say you'll have no problems with this at all. And as an ultra-portable travel companion, it comes highly recommended; with a keyboard cover it's roughly the size of a small but chunky book. I can't see myself going back to an iPad or Android tablet, with or without desktop apps.
on 19 December 2013
a) You can *maintain* the Encore charge while a USB device (e.g. USB hub) is connected, by using a USB A to Micro USB B Y-cable and a USB Female-Female gender changer : connect the red connector to the Encore power block, the Micro USB connector to the Encore, and the black connector to the gender changer and then to the USB device (e.g. USB hub). You must connect up before turning on. It will report "plugged in, not charging", but will maintain the current charge. (Thanks to "padgett" on Toshiba Forums for this tip - where there is also a discussion about using powered hubs.) No cutting or soldering required! (Do at your own risk.)
b) Toshiba have issued updates for the Encore in the last few days - the BIOS is updated, and external displays can now be added in "Duplicate these displays" mode. You can work to the higher resolution of the 2nd display e.g. 1920x1200 if you select "Show desktop only on 2" (but then touch won't work - you'll need a keyboard an mouse). (Switch off "Allow autorotate" if using a 2nd display.)
With these two improvements the Encore can be used like a desktop computer (with separate screen and USB hub).
- It's a full Windows 8.1 computer, so runs most existing Windows programs - I installed VirtualBox and a Windows 2000 VM no problem; and VB6 (dating from 1998) by using a few tweaks.
- The micro HDMI port allows a TV screen to be plugged in, or a full size PC screen (via a HDMI>DVI or HDMI>SVGA adapter).
- The 16:10 aspect ratio (1280x800) screen is a good compromise shape in my opinion.
- It's fanless/silent, with good battery life.
- Microsoft Office Home & Student are included (not trial versions).
- It has lots of built-in extras like GPS, compass etc. - see the specs.
There are a few minor issues:-
- The micro USB and HDMI port are close together - if you want to use both at the same time you may need to get adapters with (short) wires to full-size sockets.
- It's a bit heavier than the Dell or Lenovo equivalents - though mine weighed slightly less than the specs. say (435g/15.3oz vs. 445g).
If you are a traditional Windows user you may want to:-
- Install Classic Shell or similar to get the traditional start menu back, and 8Gadgetpack to get Windows 7-style desktop calendar, clock, CPU meter etc.
- Free an extra 5G or so by moving the recovery image to a memory stick. You can also free the space used by C:\hiberfil.sys by disabling Hibernate.
- Add a "full" on-screen keyboard (with Ctrl, Alt etc. keys) via Settings > Change PC settings > PC and devices > Typing > Turn on "Add the standard keyboard layout as a touch keyboard option".
UPDATE 24-Jan-14:- The IVSO Cover Case is a very neat fit, and can be left on all the time to protect the screen. I removed the metal IVSO name tag by prising the tag open at one end, and after doing so the closing magnets still work, as others have reported (though if you do this - at your own risk and invalidating any guarentees I assume! - you may mark the case slightly, and the tag leaves a slight impression).
A bluetooth keyboard and/or mouse may also be very useful if you want to do serious work on the Encore.
on 26 February 2014
I have now had this device for a month and have had a chance to get the feel of it. As you're reading this you're probably where I was 6 weeks ago!
I decided I wanted a tablet for two main reasons, viewing and storing photographs while away from home and ad hoc, quick access to Google search. It meets these needs very well. I also wanted to stick to my Windows based environment.
So, to the Tablet. I purchased the 64Gb device so space hasn't been an issue. I added a Micro USB OTG Cable, a standard SD card reader, a micro HDMI to HDMI cable and a smart cover to the order. All worked out of the box without any issues. I recently read a computing press review of this device, don't let it put you off. For the use I have put the tablet to so far it is perfectly fast and responsive enough with the InstantGo function being a great feature. One function I soon disabled is the automatic screen brightness adjustment - very annoying. You do need to tweak the power management, on battery it will sleep even if there is an app like Spotify running.
Although you are purchasing a tablet, the user experience is the software. Much has been said about Windows 8 (in this instance 8,1) so I was pleasantly surprised with the experience. The new (Metro) interface is ideally suited to the tablet and I use this most, I wish more function would become available. Using the old style interface is not so easy on a tablet of this size, if that is what you want, get a laptop. Having said that, it is possible to connect a USB mouse and drive the old interface with this. Some reviewers have suggested adding gadgets, I did and quickly removed them; they are just not necessary and I suspect they were a drain on the battery. It readily integrates with all the other machines on my home network, no problems with sharing data or printing at all.
Ok , problems? The screen replication to a monitor doesn't work correctly (it only shows the old windows interface in 2 screen mode), there would seem to be a fix on the way but this seems also to be a problem on other Intel based windows tablets. The touch interface is a bit difficult with large fingers some times, may need some calibration (haven't tried yet). The shipped McAfee software is only a trial copy. Personally I don't want the XBOX integration and would like to get rid of all of that.
Still a way to go yet, it's certainly a learning curve, but well worth it so far.
on 18 April 2014
This little unit is something of a dream come true for me, since I was at college 10 + years ago I have wanted a device this size that can offer the full windows experience.
I also now understand the whole point of windows 8, it was made for a device like this... Its a perfect tablet, with the metro interface, then a Full windows PC when you need it.... Windows 8.1 really shines on this device.
I have ready many reviews on this tablet, highlighting performance issues etc... But I can honestly say I have experienced no issues whatsoever. Maybe this is because Toshiba have recently upgraded the firmware to 1.6, along with the new Intel Atom Baytrail drivers.
The encore acts exactly like the windows 8 desktop you are used to, although on a smaller screen. The screen is IPS and really nice considering the money your paying. Its not "Retina" but its great.
MS Office comes with the unit, the license is in the bag in the box, you need to enter this in when you set up office. It runs perfectly.
Gaming.... Well the small screen makes this a little difficult, but as this is an ivy bridge based CPU, it does play games at some decent frame rates. Older games run great, take Portal 2 for example... average 41 FPS... perfectly playable on the tablet with a keyboard and mouse over Bluetooth. It also runs just the same over HDMI.
The HDMI is a massive plus for this tablet, The Dell equivalent does not have this option.
Battery Life... Is great for a full windows machine... over 7 hours wifi and bluetooth use, if your gaming it is going to drain it much faster.
I am using a Microsoft Wedge Bluetooth keyboard, which is amazing. comes with a stand for your tabet. and a sandstorm Bluetooth mouse, again works great.
I picked mine up from currys for 199.99, after I have lost faith in Amazon prime delivery.... but that's another story.
All in all for 199.99 you are getting great value, when you consider the price of the bundled office its a bargain.
One little Tip, pick up an OTG usb adapter and an 8Gb memory stick, then copy the recovery partition onto the USB stick. This gives you an additional 5GB of usable space. There is a micro SD slot, choose your sd card carefully, its all about the speed. You can buy 32 & 64gb cards that have read and write speeds of 100mbps and 50mbps. Go for the fastest you can afford. it makes a difference!
Buy this tablet with confidence...
on 18 April 2014
If you love gadgets in general you'll love this one. It's got full Windows 8 along with full MS Office. It takes micro sdxc cards up to 64GB for added storage. Average sound for such small speakers, a lovely screen, plenty of connections for attaching it to things like TV's.
So overall it has everything you need in a very small computer.
But sadly I personally found it too small to use successfully.
I wear reading glasses (I'm a certain age you see) and constantly found myself concentrating too hard on trying to press tiny buttons on the screen, only to find I'd hit the wrong one - again. So it quickly became too frustrating for me and I'd stop using it.
After a couple of weeks I sent it back for a full refund and instead bought an HP Omni 10 with a 10" screen - much more usable for me.
(At the time of writing the Omni 10 is down to £249 on HP's site and in PC World - bargain!)