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.
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.