You might have thought that the note taking and handwriting experience on a tablet couldn’t get better than on Microsoft’s own Surface Pro 3 and other devices running Windows. You’d be wrong, the new Toshiba Encore 2 Write delivers a best in class note-taking experience thanks to what it calls Feel technology.
Toshiba unveiled the Encore 2 Write at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. More specifically, the company revealed two new Encore 2 Write tablets. One is an 8-inch tablet that’s closer to a classic media consumption device than it is a productivity device. The other is a 10.1-inch device with a spacious screen. Pricing for both starts at $349.99. They’ll both launch on January 11th. What makes these Encore 2 Write tablets compelling is that aforementioned Feel technology.
Feel was developed by Wacom, the same company that makes drawing tablets. Each Encore 2 Write includes a TruPen that’s capable of measuring 2,048 different levels of pressure. The harder you write, the darker the lines become in the app you’re using. The pens that come with the Encore 2 Write feel high-end. They’re not too fat like the pen for Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3. They don’t feel like cheap throwaway styluses either. That was problem that plagued Microsoft’s original Surface Pro Pen. Then pen, which clips onto the top of each Encore 2 Write isn’t alone responsible for the great writing experience, though. The Encore 2 Write’s surface has a coating that adds texture to the screen while not making it anything on it less viewable.
Each Encore 2 Write comes with three productivity apps tailored made for the Windows 8.1 experience. TrueCapture lets users take pictures of notes and flyers and then digitize text. True Capture TrueRecorder is all about taking voice notes and storing them away later for easy playback. It has nothing to do with writing notes, but it’s great for those situations that require you get an entire conversation as painlessly as possible.
My favorite was TrueNote. Like Microsoft’s OneNote app, it allows users to take handwritten notes. The trick here is that TrueNote has way more options. Multiple pen settings are there, along with an easy to navigate section for switching between multiple notes.
Inside each Encore 2 Write is the right ingredients for a well performing Windows tablet. Both Encore 2 Write tablets are powered by an Intel Atom processor with four separate processing cores and 2GB of RAM. There are slots for adding an microSD card slot, dual speakers and an HDMI out port. GPS, compass, an accelerometer and gyroscope are all included.
My experience with the Encore 2 Write on the CES show floor left me enamored. Then TruPen softly glides over the lightly textured surface just like a ballpoint pen would on paper. The rounded metal edges lent the Encore 2 Write a premium feel, which is something we aren’t seeing enough of in the Windows tablet space. The lower price, decent hardware and superior writing experience make it the midrange tablet to purchase if you’re in the market for one. TrueNote’s interface is a little difficult to master at first, but grows on you. I honestly liked taking notes on it better than the Surface Pro 3 I had with me. The only big negative is the placement of the Windows button on the tablets rim, but those who use the Start Charm won’t find that to be too big of a problem.
The Toshiba Encore 2 Write with 8-inch display and 64GB of storage will cost $349.99. The Toshiba Encore 2 Write with 10-inch display and 64GB of storage will cost $399. That might seem a bit pricey, but Toshiba is making up for it with some extras. Both devices come with a year of Microsoft’s Office 365 service and unlimited OneDrive storage.