Toshiba launches Encore 2 tablets, the first Windows 8.1 with Bing devices
Today Toshiba launched a second generation of its Encore Windows tablets. The new devices are available in both 8-inch and 10.1-inch screen sizes and should offer a decent all round improvement on the original Encore tablets launched last year. However the big news about Toshiba’s latest tablets are that they are the first devices we have heard of to come with the new Windows 8.1 with Bing OS installed.
Toshiba says that both tablets offer “perfectly balanced value and performance to give consumers the optimal experience for work and play,” straight out of the box. For fun and media the tablets are said to offer stunning visuals and superior sound. For work and productivity you get a one year subscription to Office 365.
Other than their sizes the two tablets have quite a lot in common. Most of the core specs remain the same between the models. Below are the specs for the 8-inch Toshiba Encore 2 with the difference in the 10.1 inch version shown in brackets where applicable.
- Screen size: 8-inches (10.1 inches)
- Screen properties: 1280×800 pixels, multi-touch
- Processor: Quad-core Intel Atom
- RAM: 1GB (2GB)
- Storage 32GB/64GB versions, plus up to 128GB microSDXC card
- Cameras: 5MP main with autofocus, plus HD webcam
- Sound: Stereo speakers plus Dolby Digital Plus audio
- Connectivity: 802.11n Wi-Fi, micro USB 2.0 port, built-in Micro HDMI port and wireless display support
- Battery: 10-hour battery life for general usage and up to 8 hours of video playback
- Weight: 450g (545g)
- OS: Windows 8.1 with Bing
“The mobility provided by the Toshiba Encore 2 family, 8- and 10-inch, deliver a flexible solution for customers in a mobile-first world,” said Peter Han, vice president of worldwide OEM marketing, Microsoft Corp. “Toshiba’s continued innovation combined with touch and the capabilities in Windows 8.1 delivers an experience that will delight customers.”
The Toshiba press release says that price for the 8-inch Encore 2 range starts at US$199, which is pretty cheap for a Windows tablet. The 10-inch Encore 2 will start at US$269. It will be interesting to see if there is any performance penalty in this first Windows 8.X tablet to come with just 1GB of RAM installed. We don’t know as yet how much extra the devices with 64GB built-in storage will cost. Both 8 and 10.1 inch devices will become available at retailers from early July.
These Windows with Bing tablets look pretty good, but compared to my current Samsung Galaxy Note 8 with Wacom stylus, they aren’t really tempting me. Let’s see what other Windows 8 tablets appear at Computex next week.