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Toshiba Encore 2 Write tablet review: Information capture taken to a new level

Jon L. Jacobi | March 10, 2015
If you want to capture all the information from a meeting, class or lecture, there's no better tool than Toshiba's Encore 2 Write.

On the other hand, the OCR of photos in the TruCapture app was just okay. It recognized text fairly well, but it doesn't recreate documents with images, specific fonts, etc. as Adobe Acrobat and Nuance's OmniPage attempt to do, often succeeding. TruCapture is useful, it's just simply limited in scope. Also, while the camera is great for taking photos of whiteboards, blackboard, billboards and the like, it was difficult getting a document page in focus and to get an 8.5 by 11 page entirely in frame. You need to hold the tablet steady, a good foot away. It's not impossible, but not easy.

Toshiba bundles another very useful business app — TruRecorder. It's an audio recorder that divvies up audio captures according to who was speaking. Theoretically, the time you could save when looking for a specific quote is substantial. However, the processing wasn't as accurate as I would've wished in my tests. This was perhaps due to ambient noise and the two female participants sounding much the same, but they were still mistaken for myself. And no, I don't sound like a girl.

While I found the note-taking, image/audio capturing and processing very handy, where I really had a blast with the Encore 2 Write was with what styli are traditionally very good at — drawing. You can't really appreciate a program such as Microsoft's Fresh Paint until you employ an active stylus. I'm no artist, but I managed some pretty decent drawings by my woeful standards.

Performance

The Encore 2 Write is only a mediocre performer, which is the normal for anything Atom-based with a slow SSD. It functions fine as a tablet, but there is a slight lag opening programs so don't expect wonders when it comes to large databases, spreadsheets, video rendering, etc.

PC Mark 8 rated the Encore 2 Write at 1489 in the Work test and 881 in the Creative test. With 3DMark it was fine with Ice Storm Extreme and its Web-grade graphics, but nothing more taxing. The eMMC SSD scored 97MBps reading and 47MBps writing large files in CrystalDiskMark. That's quite slow, but this is a tablet and PC Mark also measured the run time at approximately 7 hours, 22 minutes. Not bad at all. 1080p movie playback was quite good as well, but the sound emanating from the speakers was a tad distorted at anything above minimum levels.

Conclusion

With accurate stylus input, and the apps Toshiba bundles, the Encore 2 Write turned out to be a far more useful tool than I'd expected. Until Microsoft adds whole-document handwriting recognition to OneNote instead of just OCR, it should remain the avatar for live information capture.

I heartily recommend it over the regular Encore 2, which is just another Windows tablet, albeit a very affordable one.

 

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