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Toshiba Chromebook review

Toshiba enters the Chromebook race strong

Our Verdict

The 13.3-inch Toshiba Chromebook offers one of the best Chrome OS experiences for the price of some 11-inch variants.

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Excellent value
  • Fantastic inputs
  • Long battery life

Against

  • Substandard screen
  • Poor multitasking performance

Chromebooks are a bundle of contradictions, budget laptops that are both weird and brilliant, underpowered yet potent. They pack basic computing functionality into the Chrome OS, a web browser masquerading as an operating system. The search giant's OS and mobile computer spec are just a few years old, but companies like HP, Samsung and Acer already have several models on the market.

The other firms may have a headstart but the Toshiba Chromebook has come out swinging, the first with a larger 13.3-inch screen, plus two USB 3.0 ports.

Size and speedy ports aside, the Toshiba Chromebook is nearly identical to its competitors on paper. Looks, however, are a different story.

Scores in depth
Toshiba Chromebook review
Toshiba Chromebook review
Toshiba Chromebook review
Toshiba Chromebook review
Toshiba Chromebook review

Design

Save for the Google branded HP Chromebook 11, these frugal Google machines are largely lacking in personality. The 11.6-inch Acer C720 Chromebook is a nondescript merging of gray and black plastic pieces. The 14-inch HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook rocks smudge-prone glossy plastic all over.

An all-plastic, silver-gray frame, the Toshiba Chromebook sports a pocked surface on its lid and underside. Toshiba hasn't pulled off anything extraordinary here, but rather employed its trademark budget design from its Windows 8 machines. While it generally looks bland next to slightly more stylish low-price laptops, it stands out among the largely drab Chromebook lineup.

A chrome Toshiba logo and a glossy Chrome logo make the final touches on the outside. Opening the lid reveals a rather plain-looking keyboard deck and bezel, but it's the matte plastic that I appreciate most throughout. Not only does it give a slightly soft shine, it's almost impervious to fingerprints and smudges. It's details like this that go a long way in design.

Toshiba Chromebook review

An answer for everything

If you're new to the Chrome OS, it might surprise you how much you can get done just working out of Google's browser, nearly everything you'd normally do on a Windows or Mac machine. Granted, it all happens at the mercy of your Wi-Fi connection (like the MacBook Air, there's no ethernet port on this Chromebook), but a sub-$300 laptop that can do almost everything a $1,000-plus notebook can remains impressive.

Full disclosure: I'm already a big time Googler. Gmail is my email of choice, and I left Microsoft Office for Google Drive years ago. Let's just say I didn't need much evangelizing on Google Services to understand the Chromebook's appeal.

Toshiba Chromebook review
A dash of chrome can go a long way

But what seals the deal for new Chrome OS users is how many of your daily apps have fully capable web versions, personal and work essentials like HipChat, TweetDeck and Spotify. However, some of the biggest names, like Photoshop CS5 have no web client, so you'll need to warm up to a web-based alternative to fill the gaps (Pixlr). To get all your basic functionality can take some resourcefulness, but it's certainly possible.

A native FTP client and VPN are the biggest gaps for professional productivity on Chrome OS, as well as . Beyond that, Chrome OS has an answer for every situation a Windows or Mac user could throw at it, as far as app support is concerned. Now, let's see how Toshiba's machine stacks up against the rest of the Chromebook pack.

Toshiba Chromebook review

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD Graphics
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time9 Hour
Solid State Drive Capacity16 GB
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilySatellite
Processor Model2955U
ColourSunray Silver
Operating SystemChrome OS
Brand NameToshiba
Processor Speed1.40 GHz
Processor TypeCeleron
Screen Size33.8 cm (13.3")
Number of Cells4-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory2 GB
Weight (Approximate)1.50 kg
Cache2 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyTruBrite
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11 a/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
vPro TechnologyNo
Total Number of USB Ports2
Memory StandardDDR3L-1600/PC3-12800
Height20.3 mm
Width327.7 mm
Depth226.1 mm
Screen ModeHD
Memory TechnologyDDR3L SDRAM
ManufacturerToshiba
Product ModelCB35-A3120
Product NameSatellite CB35-A3120 Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineSatellite
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberPLM01U-002005
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.toshiba.co.uk
Marketing Information

Designed for great everyday performance, Satellite range products are affordable but serve up the power, features and portability that even the most demanding home users require. You can buy Satellite products through an extensive network of high street and online retailers.

Battery ChemistryLithium Polymer (Li-Polymer)
Limited Warranty1 Year