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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.

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.

The Encore 2 Write features an active stylus for accurate scribbling, but the magic is in a unique set of bundled apps: TruNote mimics Microsoft's OneNote but performs very accurate handwriting recognition on the entire documents, TruCapture OCRs images captured using the unit's 5MP camera, and TruRecorder splits audio recordings into timelines for each orator to facilitate.

Price and design

The $349 10-inch, 1280x800 Encore 2 Write WT10PE-A that I looked at is a light (about 1.25 pounds), Atom Z3735F-based tablet with 2GB of memory and a 64GB eMMC SSD. The rear camera is 5MP and the Webcam 1.2MP. The Wi-Fi is 802.11 a/b/g/n and there's Bluetooth 4.0 on board. It's easy to hold, easy on the eye, and of course, comes with the aforementioned active stylus monikered "TruPen." The TruPen is one of the nicer styluses I've seen, with a cap that protects the nib when it's not in use.

The TruPen makes use of Wacom's ActiveES, which unlike that company's traditional pressure sensitive tablets, uses the pen to relay location, pressure and other information. Just in case you were wondering "Why not use your finger?" You can, but a stylus allows you to fit far more in the same amount of space and with considerably less hand movement. And the pressure sensitivity is great for mimicking real drawing tools with apps that support it.

As Windows tablets are ostensibly business oriented, you might want to opt for the Surface-like $109 Bluetooth keyboard/case. I wish there was a kickstand so I could use the Encore 2 Write with one of my existing Bluetooth keyboards. Small sigh.

Apps and note-taking

The Encore 2 Write/Tru-app experience as envisioned by Toshiba is that you take notes and scribble using the TruPen within TruNote; capture whiteboards and the like with the camera within TruCapture; and record any verbal discussions or orations with TruRecorder. You then process the notes and images into text and the audio into individual conversational threads after the fact. Meetings, lectures, classes... Never miss a thing. Sweet.

However, having lived through the handwriting recognition wars and disappointments back in the day, I was duly skeptical about TruNote. Well, strap two wire hangers to my head and call me an antenna — the bad old days are no more. I opened a text file created from one of my notes in the bundled TruNote application and  every last thing I scribbled was accurately translated. No mistakes. Color me impressed. Scribbling then having your entire document recognized post facto is a far smoother experience that entering info piecemeal with Windows 8.1 pen entry grid.


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