The Good The Toshiba Encore 8 runs Windows 8.1, boasts zippy performance, and has a microSD storage expansion slot.
The Bad The design is bulkier and heavier than most other small tablets. With no keyboard accessory, desktop mode is a headache to navigate.
The Bottom Line The Toshiba Encore 8 offers a lot for its price, but the more appealing Dell Venue 8 Pro is a cheaper and sleeker alternative.
A fast tablet hampered by a bulky design
If not for its annoyingly bulky design and slightly expensive price, the Toshiba Encore 8 would be your best option for a small Windows 8.1 tablet. As it stands, the Dell Venue 8 Pro is lower priced, thinner, and lighter.
The Encore 8 features microSD storage and something few tablets -- including the Venue 8 Pro -- have: Micro-HDMI. As a full Windows 8.1 system, the Encore 8 runs all Windows legacy programs. That is, as long as you can find space. The tablet comes in both 32GB (for $330) and 64GB ($400) configurations, but honestly, neither size is large enough to comfortably install more than a few large programs. Thank goodness for built-in storage expansion.
The lack of a keyboard/touch pad accessory means you'll want to stay away from the desktop interface -- the tablet however works great in Metro -- as attempting to use your fingers to navigate a UI that was designed with a mouse in mind is frustrating, to say the least. Fortunately, Toshiba's capacitive styli start at only $15.
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