Microsoft won’t be able to blame high prices if it doesn’t pick up some share of tablet sales over the coming months. Thanks to its no-cost Windows 8.1 with Bing licensing scheme, we’re starting to see aggressively priced slates arriving on the market. The latest is the $119 Toshiba Encore Mini.
Toshiba announced the device on Wednesday at Berlin’s IFA event. While the 7-inch slate has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of just under $120, it could be a $99 device on retail shelves, Toshiba told PC World.
At this price, you have to keep your expectations in check, of course: No matter how much Microsoft discounts Windows, there’s still the matter of hardware to be had. So some corners are cut compared to higher-priced, more capable tablets.
For example, the 7-inch display is only 1024 x 600 resolution and it’s not an IPS screen, meaning viewing angles will be compromised. While there’s a quad-core Intel Atom chip inside, you’ll have to make do with Windows running on just 1 GB of memory with a 16 GB flash drive for storage (you can expand the storage with a microSD card). And although the Encore Mini has a pair of cameras, that rear sensor is a scant 2 megapixel model.
Still, it’s impressive that a Microsoft hardware partner can bring the power of Windows 8.1 to the masses in a tablet priced around $100. Buyers could see this as a solid competitor to similarly priced or even slightly more expensive Google Android tablets, particularly because of additional incentives such as 1 terabyte of free OneDrive storage and an included one-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365.