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Toshiba's 7-inch Windows 8.1 tablet costs $119.99, includes a year of Office 365

Android has come to dominate the low-cost tablet market, with increasingly capable devices – such as the brilliant Google Nexus 7 – available to buyers for surprisingly little money. But Microsoft's decision to drop its OS licensing fees for small Windows devices earlier this year – along with the launch of a new Windows 8.1 with Bing version – marked the start of its push back against Android's dominance. 

Toshiba's new Encore Mini is one of the first ultra-affordable Windows tablets to emerge from Microsoft's efforts with its hardware partners. "We worked hand-in-hand with Microsoft to deliver a high-quality small-screen Windows 8.1 tablet at an entry-class price point," said Toshiba's Philip Osako, director of product marketing, in a news release. 

At just $119.99, the Encore Mini is one of the most affordable Windows devices ever, and features a 7-inch 1024x600px display. It also comes with full-fat Windows 8.1, rather than the more limited Windows RT, and the deal is made even sweeter with the inclusion of a one-year Office 365 Personal subscription – including 1TB of OneDrive storage – which would usually cost $6.99 a month, or $69.99 a year.

Let's take a look at some of the Encore Mini's other specs: 

  • Quad-core Intel Atom processor
  • 16GB onboard storage (plus microSD support up to 128GB)
  • Front-facing camera
  • 2MP rear camera
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Weighs around 350g
  • 11mm-thick

The device looks pretty decent for the price on paper, but of course we'll have to wait until we can get our hands on it before we can assess whether or not the user experience amounts to much. 

We expect to see many more low-cost Windows devices in the days, weeks and months ahead – and that's a great thing for buyers shopping around for bargains. As more manufacturers launch similarly affordable devices, the growing competition will no doubt lead to ever-more capable tablets at even lower prices. 

Source: Toshiba | Images via Toshiba

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