Toshiba Encore 2 Write review: a Wacom-powered sketchbook

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Toshiba Encore 2 Write Review: affordable Wacom tech

by Tablets for Artists

 

toshiba-encore-2-write-review

Toshiba Encore 2 Write. See it on Amazon.

Type of Tablet

Windows 8.1 tablet with digitizer pen

About the Encore 2 Write

If Toshiba’s new Encore 2 Write is the shape of things to come, then this is an encouraging time to be a digital artist. The Encore 2 Write was featured at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES),  an annual international convention held in Las Vegas that showcases the latest in gadgety innovations.

This tablet’s price point and features are comparable to the Asus Vivotab (read our review), which is no longer being manufactured. The Write is newer and has received more favorable reviews than the Vivotab. Like the Vivotab, it’s a portable tablet that runs full Windows 8.1 and has a Wacom digitizer. While the Vivotab gave you 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, the Encore 2 gives you the maximum, 2,048. The VivoTab only had a thin pen, but the Write has a full-size pen; the tablet does not have a slot to old it. Unlike Wacom pens for the Cintiq and Intuos tablets, the Encore 2 Write’s stylus takes a battery, size AAAA. The battery should last a few months with regular usage. It has two hi-res cameras and dual mics.

Specs

Intel Atom Z3735F processor
Windows 8.1
micro-USB port
16:10 aspect ratio
2GB RAM
64 GB storage
dual mics
two hi-res cameras
active Wacom digitizer with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity
comes in 8″ or 10″ screen
Dimensions: 6.9 x 10.2 x .35″
screen resolution 1280 x 800
Micro SD slot takes up to 128GB Micro SD storage, tablet
supports MSDXC standard
Bluetooth-enabled
GPS
HDMI video out
Pen does not have removeable nibs.

What’s Included

The tablet, pen (called Trupen) with lanyard

One-year subscription to Office 365™ Personal plus unlimited OneDrive storage (subject to change)

Charger

Reset pin

 

Features

The digitizer is not EMR (electromagnetic radiation) like a Cintiq. Instead, it is called “Active ES” (electrostatic) digitizer, which makes for a lighter tablet, as an EMR tablet requires a separate layer. The ES is a capacitive digitizer that is in front of the LCD screen. It’s somewhat like the N-Trig, and the metal pen that resembles a ballpoint pen also has the feel and look of the N-Trig pen. The screen is touch-screen and you could use it without the pen.

Though the Encore 2  does not currently support Wacom’s Wintab Feel It driver, which allows you to get pressure sensitivity in all the art apps that support it as well as map the pen,Wacom has unofficially said it will be getting this valuable feature. The Surface Pro 3 with its N-trig “dual sense” does not have this feature. The ES digitizers could in the future be the norm for lower cost (under $1,000), more portable, lighter-weight tablets.

Drawing on the Encore 2

With some programs  you will get an initial blob, as with the Surface Pro 3, as the tablet decides whether you are touching it with a finger or pen. The pressure curve is very good. The hover is a bit higher than on the Surface Pro 3, so it might seem like the palm recognition isn’t quite as good, but it works. The “hover tracking” is better, so there is less parallax with this than the Surface Pro 3. According to the video below, shot at CES, the initial activation force (geekspeak for how hard you have to press on it) is a light 3 grams. The line does not get jittery around the edges as it would in a Cintiq or the Vivotab. Both the N-trig and ES are fine even right near the edges. The pen provides some “bite” which gives a paperlike feel.

Screen

The screen resolution is not that high, but for this price you would not expect it to be.

 

Pen

toshiba-encore-2-write-review-pen

The metal TruPen is fine-tipped, “pro grade,” and takes a AAAA battery. The eraser is a button on the side. The palm rejection kicks in when the pen is hovering at about 3/8″ above the screen.

 

 

Software

Windows 10 will allow desktop apps on tablets 8″ or over. You can run desktop apps on this, since it’s a full Windows tablet, but it’s a little hard to use Photoshop since the tablet is small. As well, since it is an Atom processor, doing serious digital painting in Photoshop could be laggy, though basic image editing is OK. What will work best are apps such as Fresh Paint and the Sketchbook Express app, which are optimized for a tablet. One user who wrote an Encore 2 Write review praised using Manga Studio (desktop) with this, so by all means, try it.

The tablet is centered around note-taking. It comes with the preinstalled apps TruNote, TruCapture, and TruRecord. TruNote lets you take and organize handwritten notes, TruCapture is to take hi-res photos of text in books or from a blackboard, chalkboard, or whiteboard and do OCR, and TruRecord lets you record sound. There is an organizing and tagging system, kind of like Evernote. So you can not only draw on it, but use it as a multimedia creative diary.

Microsoft Office and OneNote work fine with this tablet.

 

Portability

It’s super slim at .04″ thick, and easy to carry at 13.4 oz. for the 8″ model and 1.2 lbs. for the 10″ model.

 

User reviews

Many people enthusiastically recommend this tablet as a digital sketchbook. One Encore 2 Write review praised its ability to work with Manga Studio. The high-res cameras, dual mics, and other features add appeal.

 

Pros

relatively affordable art tablet with screen
portable, lightweight
cameras do OK in low light
Pen and tablet are both fast and responsive

 

Cons

The screen resolution is not that high.
Atom processor works pretty well, but is not as fast as a full computer when you run graphics-heavy full Windows programs.
Cannot access battery.

Customer Service

I found them pleasant and professional when I did a chat to ask questions. If you happen to get a faulty one, Toshiba or Amazon will send you a new tablet.

 

The Verdict

This is an exciting development in tablets. It would be great if there were one that was a little larger. But this is a great portable sketchbook with pressure sensitivity that allows you to run both desktop and Metro apps. You can also use OneNote, play games, watch videos, and use a Bluetooth keyboard. I don’t see it as quite a Cintiq replacement, because of the size and there is not as much memory as with a full computer, so large programs such as Photoshop would not be ideal, though you could run Photoshop to an extent. For artists, this is overall better than an Android tablet or iPad because of the digitizer and ability to run desktop programs. It doesn’t have the great screen resolution of an iPad, but is more of a productivity tool.

 

Optional Accessories

 

iLLumiShield – Toshiba Encore 2 Write 8 Screen Protector

Cooper Cases Encore 2 Write Folio Case with Bluetooth Keyboard 

More Encore 2 Write opinions, price, and info on Amazon

 

End of Toshiba Encore 2 Write Review

 

Consumer Electronics Show, Wikipedia

official CES site

12 thoughts on “Toshiba Encore 2 Write review: a Wacom-powered sketchbook

  1. VickyBrian

    How far is the cursor from the tip of the pen? What I mean is on some tablets/computers especially older ones, the digitizer layer is far from the display layer. So the cursor is farther down in the screen physically. Because the display layer is farther down. Which makes it seem like you can never properly calibrate the cursor to the pen tip. Even though it is. Because you are almost always looking at it from an angle instead of straight on. Whereas on ones where the display layer is closer to the glass surface it puts the cursor closer to the pen tip and is easier to use.

    Reply
  2. VickyBob Roach

    “It’s super slim at .04″ thick”

    Wow. I’ll say. The world’s first one-millimeter thick tablet.

    Or… (more likely) not the world’s last typo.

    Reply
  3. VickyPshk

    Hello! Thank you for detailed reviews.
    But I can not decide which one of two should I choose: this one or Microsoft surface pro 2…could you please tell if intorus3 pen will be working fine with this tablet? Can I sue Maya and brush on tablet in minimum complectation (64gb 4 ram).
    Which one should I choose?
    I understand that these two tablets are different and are from different categories, but I wonder if I should overpay for Microsoft device, is it worth it?

    Reply
    1. Vickytablet@tabletsforartists.com Post author

      Hi,
      No, you can’t use any Intuos pens on the Surface Pro 2. You can use this Wacom Bamboo Feel on it, though, and also this Wacom Penabled Pen. Yes, you can run Maya on that configuration, but Autodesk recommends 8GB instead of 4GB for better results. Here are the system requirements for Maya.

      The Toshiba Encore Write 2 and the Surface Pro 2 are pretty different, as you said, so the choice of course depends what you want to use your tablet for. The Encore Write 2 has an 8″ screen, which to me makes it more like a sketchbook. Also, Toshiba is still not selling replacement pens, so losing the pen would be a major problem. I would get the Surface Pro 2, especially if you want to run things like Maya. If price is important, original Surface Pro (Surface Pro 1) might interest you, it’s a bit less powerful but not a huge difference from the 2. I found this Youtube video of someone running Maya on it (wish I could understand the language, but the visuals are clear).

      Reply
  4. VickyEd

    Thank you for your reviews. But i have some questions.

    I’m still deciding between this one (8″) or Asus VivoTab Note 8 . What do you think? Both have similar processors, right? But, the toshiba encore 2 seems to have a better wacom digitzer?

    Reply
    1. Vickytablet@tabletsforartists.com Post author

      Hi,
      The Toshiba has twice as many levels of pressure sensitivity, but that is not going to make much difference for most people. The Toshiba is newer, whereas the Asus is no longer being made. The problem with the Toshiba is that they still have not made the pen available for sale separately, so if there is any possibility that you might lose the pen, that could be a problem. If not for that, I’d say get the Toshiba, but for now I’d recommend the Asus, even though there are some out there that have issues, as I mentioned in my review. You might want to consider the Dell Venue 8 Pro as well.

      Reply
      1. VickyJaycephus

        Since it is based on Wacom technology, it is also likely that an inexpensive used pen made for other wacom devices will work on it. For example, I bought a Cintiq full-sized, rubber grip pen with 3 buttons that worked on both my Motion Computing tablet, and my MS Surface Pro 2.

        Reply
    2. Vickytablet@tabletsforartists.com Post author

      Hi, sorry I missed seeing your question before. Yes, they both have Atom processors. The Toshiba feels snappier. It has twice as many levels of pressure sensitivity, better edge accuracy, and less parallax. That being said, I’m not sure if I would call it a better digitizer; it’s different. It’s slightly less fluid in feeling than the Asus, which uses the regular, older Wacom tech we’re used to–the Toshiba is slightly more like N-trig, but closer to what we’re used to than N-trig is; most people feel it’s as good as the regular tech. The Toshiba has a good build quality and a lot of good features. I would go with the Toshiba, personally, but if you can try both before buying, then that’s ideal. The Toshiba was more made to compete with N-trig; the new tech is not a replacement for the old, but an addition.

      Reply

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