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back to article Toshiba Encore: The Windows 8.1 tablet that might catch on

Windows tablets have hardly set the world on fire. Limp processors, confusion in the mind of Joe Public over the difference between Windows proper and Windows RT, plus a lack of apps for the user-interface-once-known-as-Metro have all combined to dampen enthusiasm. Toshiba Encore Windows 8.1 tablet Mighty Atom: Toshiba's Encore …

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Hmm.

I think, on the whole the Asus Vivotab Note is a more useful affair. Same processor, same plus points, same OS but also Wacom touch panel and a stylus built into the slab.

A tablet you can actually take useful notes on? Yeah, that could sell.

Of course, call me mental but I'd actually be more tempted by a Windows RT version due to battery life. With that cut-down OS and a Qualcomm SoC I'd basically have a Kindle I could sketch on and that's tempting.

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Noted

What about Galaxy Note?

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Re: Noted

No Wacom digitizer. Have you tried drawing with a capacitative pen? Awful.

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Re: Noted

Interesting, the Galaxy Note I use uses the same Wacom stylus as my ATVI Windows tablet...

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Re: Noted

Does it? That is interesting, thanks.

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Re: Noted

The Note 8 has a full on pressure sensitive Wacom stylus/hardware. Works incredibly well with Autodesk's Sketchbook. It's not the crappy battery required capacitive stuff.

Same goes for my Note 2.

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Re: Noted

Settle down, Dogged. The downvotes were perhaps a little uncalled-for, but you had made some incorrect assumptions about the Note; perhaps they were someone's way of registering your mistake.

Ignoring the haters (best plan really) you've learned that the Note family use Wacom digitisers for their S-Pen technology, and pretty much everyone who tries them is duly impressed. That's got to be worth a little troll-flak to find out, surely? ;)

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Better spec than many laptops

"It may only have a resolution of 1280 x 800"

- That's still 32 vertical pixels more than the usual rubbish x 768 laptops we see. And a solid state drive, all for only £299. Impressive.

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Coat

Just hang on a moment...

Rounded corners and a touch screen?? Where have I heard that before?

IP lawyers please form an orderly queue...

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Re: Just hang on a moment...

Bringing up rounded corners and lawsuits is so... 2009...

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Re: Just hang on a moment...

...but still relevant (if apple can be distracted from Samsung for a minute...)

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Anonymous Coward

Bay Trail Goodness

I bought an Asus Transformer Book T100, last week, as a cheap way for this Mac head to fart about with Windows 8.1. Like the Tosh reviewed here, it's cheap and nasty on the outside, but actually performs very well. Surprisingly, I find I enjoy being able to sit at my desk and type, mouse and touch at the same time.

Oh, and Windows 8.1? I quite like it. It could do with a few refinements, but the touch interface is mostly very nice. The ability to drop to the desktop, and run (bundled) Office, is a big bonus!

So, why the hell are Microsoft sell peddling RT???

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Re: Bay Trail Goodness

> So, why the hell are Microsoft sell peddling RT???

Because %shitload hours "normal" use, basically. Plus that also has a desktop and Office bundled and usually for less money.

*shrug*

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bay Trail Goodness

Erm, you get a shit load of hours "normal" use, with a Bay Trail equipped laptop/tablet (10+ hours, without even having to piss about with the screen brightness). Oh, and you get full Office that really is full office (not to mention the options of a shit load of stuff that RT will never run).

*shrug*

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Re: Bay Trail Goodness

All true.

I suppose it's handy for your kids/students/computer illiterate relatives though, since good luck infecting a Windows RT box with malware.

Also.. less money.

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Re: Bay Trail Goodness

Picked up a T100 to replace the wife's aging Dell Inspiron and very impressed with it. The Bay Trail CPU and Flash storage makes the full Office 2013 very snappy and the touchscreen is also winning me over to 8.1! I got hold of the US model with 64GB so apart from the KB layout my only gripe is the UK market is stuck with the 32GB version

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bay Trail Goodness

With RT, the application installation is tightly locked. So unless you have enterprise version or side load keys, apps will have to go through market place.

Forcing users to Windows APP Store can help triple dipping on the platform as:

- License fee to OEMs

- Development license fee to developers,

- App sales commission to end users / developers.

In additional they might have tried sweetened the deal to OEMs by locking software / hardware upgrades making user upgrades impossible to force device replacement with certain OS release cycles.

How many tablets from 2-3 years ago are still performing well as opposed to PC's laptops from 5-7 years ago.

And if people don't have alternative software distribution options, then the main channel will be popular by lack of choice.

This issue is widely discussed and here is one from The Register:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/09/05/smbs_to_be_windows_wallflowers/

Another discussion:

http://www.lhotka.net/weblog/Windows8LOBDeploymentLsquostoryrsquo.aspx

As RT editions are almost obsolete hopefully MS will be interested in addressing such concerns.

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Re: Bay Trail Goodness

> With RT, the application installation is tightly locked. So unless you have enterprise version or side load keys, apps will have to go through market place.

Which means I don't have to uninstall spyware and four billion browser toolbars from somebody's tablet.

That's a good thing.

If you don't want it, fair enough. You'll just have to uninstall your own toolbars.

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Re: Bay Trail Goodness

It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

If natural selection is bad, an alternative would be OS restricting such installations by default.

Those who prefer can deactivate the settings and use the device they have paid for to full extent.

To that extent, win 8 pro machines somewhat provide this option and major OEMs have dropped support for RT versions.

At least such CPU's make it possible to provide best of both worlds to users.

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Re: C:\> autoshill.bat

Ah - that explains the downvotes on my previous comments!

You are more than welcome to peruse my previous posts and decide if I am a shill (though my comments regarding Win8 in Enterprise space might leave you with an unreconcilable mental schism).

Do note that you are able to do this by virtue of me having an account here for a number of years and not being a cowardly anon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bay Trail Goodness

"I suppose it's handy for your kids/students/computer illiterate relatives though."

Surely this comment was aimed at the iPad?

That's the advice I always give to people. If the end user is computer illiterate, get them a "fisher price" OS, "i"something is perfect for them.

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Re: Bay Trail Goodness

I get between 10 and 11 hours normal use (around 8 - 9 YouTube hours) out of my Atom based Samsung ATIV SmartPC 500 tablet...

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Terminator

Re: Bay Trail Goodness

Picked up a T100 to replace the wife's aging Dell Inspiron and very impressed with it.

Good choice. I went with the T800. Would not recommend.

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Devil

Re: Bay Trail Goodness

"So, why the hell are Microsoft sell peddling RT???"

Because they are not yet ready to admit what a huge ass mistake RT was.

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Re: Bay Trail Goodness

Suitable for the uninitiated is true for an iPad but also suitable for a surface, or possibly this device, more so in fact.

The difference with a Surface RT is as previous posters have noted, the knowledge that they won't be installing anything dangerous. iPads are probably less so mainly because of these in-app purchase type things rather than actual malware.

But, WinRT and Win8 proper have real users with control given to administrators such that where they surf etc. is controlled and limited as required. Time using apps, the computer, everything. And, while this may exist on an iPad (I have never looked), it isn't there by default upon account creation using one, single checkbox as it was when I added accounts for my kids on a Surface.

But, unlike a full Win8 machine or tablet, the RT could be left for them to do pretty much anything they want and it will hardly ever need a look-see (three months so far for my kids one).

As far as I know, an iPad can surf p0rn straight out of the box and therefore needs attention immediately from someone knowledgeable to ensure it is used correctly - I dread to think what many kids see on their open smartphones because their parents/guardians just hand it over unprotected.

And, a shill is someone taking a cut or getting paid, since I am neither, I must be someone with a simply different opinion, sorry about that.

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Trollface

Re: C:\> autoshill.bat

Who in their right mind would call their child Youngdog? I mean, that is your real name, right?

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Re: C:\> autoshill.bat

For the hard of thinking, you don't need to use your "real" name to have an account here. Accounts allow other users to see all your post. If you want to read all Youngdog's posts you can. Posting anon means you can only judge each individual post, even if you find a sequence that appears to be from one anon.

It's really not that difficult to understand.

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A word of advice to tablet makers

Screen size and price.

When Joe Public goes tabby shopping, those are the only two factors he/she/it cares about.

Screen size and price. That's all.

Android? Windows? It matters not.

Microsoft? Google? matters even less.

Technical stuff? it's just noise.

It's a given that any tablet will play vids, music, stream TV, have a camera or two, play any of the top games, access FB Twitter and all that malarky - oh: and browse stuff. Users won't even check those and if the tablet can't do it - back to the shop it goes.

Screen size and price.

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Re: A word of advice to tablet makers

Yeah, that's why Apple are selling untold millions of tablets with the same screen size as their competitors, but anything from 30% to 300% more expensive.

Storage and 3G are major factors even for Joe Public.

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Re: A word of advice to tablet makers

I think that's down to iTunes and specifically people who already have large media libraries.

If I had a large iTunes library, I'd look at getting an iThing. Sadly, that would require WINE under debian and mean running the Windows version which is effectively malware by any sane standards anyway. Not gonna happen.

But an awful lot of people are less picky about their software than I am.

Of course, some people have Macs. But statistically, not enough people (4.8% of total install base?) to warrant the popularity of iPads.

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Re: A word of advice to tablet makers

I have a large iTunes library, which syncs perfectly with my Android device using iSyncr.

Of course, they may have ported iSyncr to Windows Phone; if so, fair play to them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A word of advice to tablet makers

"Storage and 3G are major factors even for Joe Public."

Local storage, how very noughties. You'll be talking about SD cards next.

How quaint. Puts me in mind of a VCR.

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Re: A word of advice to tablet makers

"Local storage, how very noughties. You'll be talking about SD cards next.

How quaint. Puts me in mind of a VCR."

Joe Public hasn't caught up with cloud storage yet, and most tablets don't have 3G. Good luck listening to music and watching video on the bus without local storage.

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Re: A word of advice to tablet makers

Perhaps not but they will be for a lot of el reg readers.

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Re: A word of advice to tablet makers

>Local storage, how very noughties

You maybe right in a few years, but right now 4G data plans just don't cut it for synching video.

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Re: A word of advice to tablet makers

as an insanely small percentage of tablet users worldwide...

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These are very tempting but until they have the 64-bit version with at least 4gb of ram I'll keep a hold of my money.

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AFAIK the processor is 64 bit

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Almost certainly but the copy of windows is 32-bit. I read in a review for another tablet they're waiting for 64-bit drivers before releasing the 64-bit windows tablets (although that doesn't mean we'll necessary get the extra ram).

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64 bit, why would you?

I think the spec sheet for the processor says that it's 64 bit capable and can address 4 GB RAM, but this tablet only has 2 GB. As far as I know, there was and is no point in installing 64-bit Windows unless you have at least 4 GB RAM: it won't do anything that the 32-bit version won't do. At least, not anything that you want to do on a personal computer or a tablet. So, if they can fit more RAM into this thing, then maybe 64-bit Windows is a reasonable option.

I mean: is there a more secure version of Flash Player for 64-bit?

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....I think last year's Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro 700T is a tablet with 64-bit Windows, on an Intel i5 CPU, with 4 GB RAM.

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JDX
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"to use the Encore as PC you really need a good Bluetooth keyboard "

Why? What's wrong with USB... you can plug in a regular £5 keyboard and mouse, right?

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Re: "to use the Encore as PC you really need a good Bluetooth keyboard "

I forgot to add a full sized usb3 port to my list of things I'd like to see. This has a single micro usb port so you'd need some kind of adapter going to a hub.

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Windows

@James 51 "..... full sized usb3 port to my list of things......."

I entirely agree. In fact I am a little surprised that Toshiba did not take advantage of this tablets thickness to do just that. I understand the use of mini ports (usb and hdmi) where one of the crucial design themes is slimness but I do not understand it here.

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Re: "to use the Encore as PC you really need a good Bluetooth keyboard "

If you want to use a proper keyboard, the extra bulk of a mini-hub doesn't seem a big deal. You could presumably even get a keyboard with microUSB, which has its own USB hub built in?

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Re: "to use the Encore as PC you really need a good Bluetooth keyboard "

Yes, cabled keyboards and mice work just fine but you need a USB/micro USB adapter or a hub if you want to connect anything else at the same time. Given the absence of a full sized USB port I'd suggest Bluetooth is the best option.

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Anonymous Coward

"the overall thickness of the thing. At nearly 11mm, it's much more chunky than the competing iPad or Nexus kit and weighing in at 450g too, it’s hardly what you’d call light either."

Why do you journos always insist on comparing a windows tablet to an iPad? They are not the same thing! You know it. I know it. The plebs out their don't and actually give credence to what you say!

That windows tablet is a fully fledged PC in your hand.

That iPad is a shiny toy giving sad people a life (or so the ad men tell them, after all they have to justify the fact that they're being mugged).

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Because people are choosing between touch-based form factor devices. W8 tablets do far more than an iPad, but iPad is much smaller. These are valid comparisons because people are buying them for similar purposes.

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