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Toshiba Encore 2 review: This Windows 8 tablet goes easy on your wallet

Michelle Mastin | Aug. 14, 2014
Microsoft sparked a race to the bottom with the introduction of Windows 8.1 with Bing. And Toshiba cut the bottom out of the bottom line with its Encore 2 series, bringing Windows tablets down to the price of mainstream Android tablets. The 10-inch version reviewed here will set you back just $270, and the smaller 8-inch version costs just $200.

In fact, the performance hit as a whole isn't as significant as I had expected. The Encore 2 turned in lower benchmark scores than other Windows tablets we've tested, but they weren't drastically lower. While its PCMark 8: Office score was 22 percent lower than that of the $430 Dell Venue Pro 11, it was just 14 percent lower than the $569 Lenovo ThinkPad 10's.

In fact, I used the Encore 2 and a Bluetooth keyboard to write this entire review in OneNote without encountering any significant slowdowns. I also used it as I would every other tablet I've reviewed: I read and wrote email, surfed the web using multiple tabs, streamed Netflix movies, and noodled around small-footprint modern UI apps. The only difference I noticed is that apps clear out of memory more quickly. That just means apps must refresh if they fall more than four or five places down the queue in the sidebar app switcher.

Buy it or skip it?

Full-featured Windows tablets, such as the aforementioned Dell and Lenovo models, can replace a notebook (provided you add peripherals such as a Bluetooth keyboard). I can't envision Toshiba's Encore 2 that way — it's more of a companion device for very light productivity and entertainment.

But for the price, that might be enough.

 

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