Deep diving on the machine the killed the netbook, Toshiba announced the Toshiba Chromebook 2. The 13-inch Chrome OS laptop scores an all-new design that's sharper, thinner, lighter and more angular than the original Toshiba Chromebook.
Better yet, the new Chromebook 2 comes with an FHD option – that is, a 13.3-inch 1,920 x 1,080 IPS panel – for $329 (about £199, AU$354). (Yes, there is still a 1,366 x 768 model for $249, or around £151/AU$268.) And this time around, Toshiba roped in audio partner Skullcandy to specially tune this Chromebook's speakers for deeper bass and more precision vocals.
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On the inside, the Chromebook 2 packs a dual-core, 2.16GHz Intel Celeron N2840 chip, 2GB of RAM (4GB optional) and 16GB of storage. Of course, each Chromebook 2 model comes with 100GB of free Google Drive storage for 2 years.
Rounding out the spec sheet are 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, an HD webcam and dual-array microphones. On the port front, you get one USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, HDMI and an SD card reader.
All said, Toshiba promises 11.5 hours of battery life from the 1,366 x 768 model, and 9 hours of lasting power from the FHD variant. You can pick up the Chromebook 2, and one of its colorful rubberized cases, starting October 5 in the US, with sadly no word on global availability just yet.
Get on Windows for even less
What if we told you that you could get an entire device that runs full Windows 8.1 for just $20 more than a license for the OS costs on PC? Meet the Toshiba Encore Mini, one of those super affordable Windows 8.1 tablets that you've been hearing so much about.
This 7-inch slate might not be the most attractive or power-packed tablet on the market, but at a paltry $119 (about £72, AU$128), you shouldn't expect the world. (Though, that price does include a year of Office 365 and 1TB of Microsoft OneDrive storage.)
The Encore Mini, weighing just 12.5 ounces and measuring 0.43 inches thick, sports a 1,024 x 600 LED touchscreen powered by a quad-core, 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3735G processor. The brains of the operation is behind the 0.3MP webcam up front and 2MP snapper around back.
As for storage, you're looking at 16GB of space boosted by up to 128GB through a microSD card slot. Oh, and a microUSB port offers additional expansion options.
Throw in 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, and you have a rather complete (albeit underpowered) package for 120 bucks. The device comes wrapped in a white, pocked plastic shell that houses a battery with 7.3 hours of juice in it.
You can pick up one of these stocking-stuffing slates starting, well, right now. Brace yourselves: the deluge of budget Windows tablets has officially begun.
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