Toshiba's New Windows 8.1 Tablets Are Dirt-Cheap And Surprisingly Good

You don’t need to drop a lot of cash to buy a tablet that can run the full PC version of Windows 8.1. Toshiba is releasing two new dirt-cheap Windows tablets this summer that feel surprisingly premium for devices in their price range.

The Toshiba Encore 2 is the company’s follow up to the company’s previous Windows 8 tablet. This time around, Toshiba has lowered the price point while polishing the tablet’s design. The second-generation device comes in both 8-inch and 10-inch sizes, with the smaller version selling for $US199 and the larger edition costing $US269.

With its new Encore tablets, Toshiba did a decent job at providing a quality tablet for a low price. Some budget tablets compromise the overall experience so much that it’s still not worth it, even though you’re paying next to nothing. For example, some low-grade tablets don’t even come with access to the Google Play store, and others have extremely low-resolution screens that make it difficult to enjoy reading or watching videos.

Based on what we’ve seen, Toshiba made compromises in all the right places. Both tablets run on a modest quad-core Intel Atom Z3735F and feature a screen resolution of 1280 x 800. There’s a 1.2-megapixel webcam, a 5-megapixel front camera, and a microSD card slot for expanded storage up to 128GB. Basically, you’re getting hardware that’s perfectly capable of handling basic tasks even though it may not be as fast or as beautiful as a high-end tablet like the iPad.

The specs aren’t exactly top-of-the-line, but it’s a great value for what you’re paying. The 8-inch and 10-inch tablets also come with a free one-year subscription to Office 365, which is a great bonus for those looking for a productivity tablet.

We’re also impressed with how Toshiba slimmed down the tablets’ design. Both slates feel lightweight and sleek, and feature a polished brushed aluminium exterior. In other words, they don’t feel as cheap as they are.

Toshiba’s new Encore 2 tablets aren’t the best tablets you can buy, but if you’re looking for a reliable Windows 8.1 device and don’t want to cough up the cash for a Surface Pro, the Encore 2 seems like a solid choice. Both tablets will be available in early July.

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