Toshiba’s $330 Encore tablet: 8 inches of Bay Trail processing power

Toshiba is the second company to introduce an 8 inch Windows tablet, and the first to announce a model that will be powered by Intel’s upcoming Bay Trail processor. The Toshiba Encore tablet is expected to go on sale for $330 starting in November.

It follows the Acer Iconia W3 tablet into the 8 inch tablet waters, but it does so with a faster processor, a better display, and an updated version of Windows: it will ship with Windows 8.1

Not bad, considering it has roughly the same price tag as Acer’s tablet.

Toshiba Encore

The Toshiba Encore features an 8 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel IPS display with wider viewing angles than you get with the Acer Iconia W3, and the Toshiba tablet takes advantage of the improved scaling in Windows 8.1 to let you run multiple apps side-by-side or view apps and menus in portrait mode.

For the most part, those features apply to Metro-style apps, but since this is a full Windows 8.1 tablet, it can also run desktop apps. It comes with Microsoft Office 2013 Home & Student pre-loaded.

The tablet measures 0.42 inches thick and weighs about 17 ounces, or just over a pound.

It features stereo speakers, an 8MP rear camera, a 2MP front-facing camera, and dual microphones for use with Skype or other voice and video chat or recording apps.

Other features include 32GB of storage, a micro USB 2.0 port, a micro HDMI port, a microSD card slot, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, and GPS.

It’s not yet clear just how much difference the Intel Atom Bay Trail chip will make in terms of day-to-day performance. Engadget and The Verge both noted some lag when they tinkered with a demo unit. But Toshiba has a few months to work out the kinks before the tablet hits the streets.

  • Zackery Ward

    Such a big improvement from the acer iconia w3. This is just the beginning of the next generation of pocketable computers with 3D capabilities. Baytrail graphics are supposed to be much better than clovertrail’s. Next step: pack a core i3 into this form factor!

  • Molan

    Which Bay Trail chip? Is it 64-bit with VT-x? I need it to get VMware to work. Is it chargeable via micro-USB? If so, at what rate and if it automatically adjusts based on the source (ie. PC USB or a wall charger)? Is the WiFi dual band with a 2×2 antenna configuration?

    • CyberGusa

      Only the tablet optimized Bay Trail T variant will go into devices this small… It’ll have the same 64bit architecture as the other Bay Trail versions but Intel isn’t pushing 64bit support for mobile devices yet.

      So these devices will only be sold with 32bit Windows 8.1, or Android for cheaper models, and no more than 4GB of RAM…

      Meaning, look for devices based on the Celeron/Pentium branded version of Bay Trail that you should see in hybrids and low cost laptops but likely not in anything smaller than 10.1″…

      No word on charging possibilities yet and it’s up to the OEM how they configure the WiFi but there is pressure on OEMs to start providing 2×2 antenna configurations as standard… So, if not this device, then another should provide the specs you want…

    • Zackery Ward

      It’s unlikely chargeable via micro usb.

  • HildyJJ

    I would be very careful if you expect to run desktop apps. I have a 10″ ThinkPad Tablet 2 with Win8 and Office 2010. Everything runs fine, although some operations will benefit from a better processor.

    However, my TPT2 has a dual digitizer which means I can use touch or a stylus (with a tip the size of a rollerball pen). I suspect the combination of an 8″ screen and Office’s menus will require a stylus or an external mouse if you are going to use it extensively. On the other hand, the price is great, especially if you are going to focus on the Metro software.