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First Look: The Toshiba Encore 8 is fast, bulky, and packed with useful features

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First Look: The Toshiba Encore 8 is fast, bulky, and packed with useful features

2:09 /

If not for its bulky size and lack of a keyboard accessory, the Encore 8 would top our list of the best small Windows tablets. Still, its fast performance, useful connections, and good battery means it's at least a part of the conversation.

The Toshiba Encore 8 is an 8-inch tablet running a full version of Windows 8.1. It has a screen resolution of 1280 x 800, includes a microSD card slots supporting up to 64 gigabyte cards. It also has micro USB and micro HDMI. There's a 2 megapixel camera on the front and an 8-megapixel camera on the back. Neither takes the best pictures or delivers the clearest video, but as long as there's enough ambient and preferably natural light, pictures usually turn out decent enough. The Encore is built like a typical Toshiba tablet. It's bulky, heavier than other tablets at its size, has this plastic silver texture back that should make it more grippie, but doesn't really. The corners are smoothly rounded and don't dig into my palms, so I do like that. Now, I'm a fan of the touch or Metro interface for Windows 8.1. It's come a pretty long way since Window 8.0. The biggest issue with Windows 8 however, is that it relies too heavily on the desktop interface. Any control panels you wanna access, you gotta go through the desktop, and while that's fine if you have a mouse and keyboard. On an 8-inch tablet however, it gets a bit frustrating when you're trying to close Windows and you can't quite hit the X. Or you wanna search for something, but the virtual keyboard doesn't automatically pop up. That's a Microsoft issue of course, but Toshiba did choose to put this OS on an 8-inch tablet and then not release a keyboard for it. So, it has to take its fair share of the blame as well. Performance is thankfully high. Apps loaded quickly, reboots are fast, and games ran smoothly. The screen as well is immediately responsive to swipes. The Encore 8 starts at $330 for 32 gigabytes of storage or $400 with 64 gigabytes of storage. Check out my full review at CNET.com for more information and my final recommendation. I'm Eric Franklin and this has been the First Look at the Toshiba Encore 8.

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