Looking to replace your notepad with something a little more high-tech? Toshiba's newest Windows 8 slates, the 10- and 8-inch Encore 2 Write tablets, feature an aluminum stylus and several productivity apps designed to make note-taking much easier. Starting at $349 for the 8-inch version and $399 for the 10-inch, both Encore 2 Write tablets will be available Jan. 11.
Both the 10.1-inch and 8-inch Encore 2 Write tablets come with a Toshiba TruPen with Wacom Feel technology, which has 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. The aluminum stylus felt comfortable in my hands, but owing to its thickness, is too big to dock within either the 8- or 10-inch tablet. However, you can slide the stylus' clip into a small slot on the slate.
Complementing the pen technology, both tablets will come with three productivity apps. TruNote is Toshiba's note-taking app, which can not only convert handwriting to text, but lets you mark up photos and graphics. Among its other features, it will let you highlight a particular word or phrase, and then search for it on the Web.
TruRecorder lets you record audio, and can isolate and tag individual speakers in a recording. It's a handy feature when you just want to hear a single voice in a group conversation, although I wish you could export each voice as a separate file. TruCapture uses the Encore 2's rear 8-MP camera and can automatically straighten photos of blackboards and whiteboards, so you can more easily read what your professor or boss scribbled. The photos can then be imported into TruNote.
Additionally, the tablets will come with a one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal.
Both tablets with have an Intel Atom BayTrail processor, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, which can be expanded via the microSD card slot. Toshiba claims that each should last up to 11 hours on a charge, and 8 hours when playing back video.
As Windows 8 tablets become more commoditized, Toshiba's innovations with regards to note-taking could make its devices more popular for certain segments, such as students and professionals who need to jot down notes while on the go.