Toshiba Chromebook review

Toshiba enters the Chromebook race strong

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Great Value

In a few (very small) ways, the Toshiba Chromebook is the first of its kind. This is the first 13.3-inch variety of Google's laptop, not to mention the first Chrome OS notebook to come from Toshiba. It's also the first with two USB 3.0 ports – this early in the game, Toshiba should take any firsts it can get.

Sure, this wouldn't be the most attractive machine if it were a Windows laptop, but its build stands out among its bland brethren. And besides, that isn't what you come to a Chromebook for. It's the dirt cheap price, frankly. For me, it's also the no-nonsense experience of it all.

Google understands that the majority of the time spent on computers is with internet-based apps and services. The company has done a great job of instilling that philosophy in its partners, and Toshiba is no exception. Actually, this may be the best budget laptop I've ever tested from the Japanese firm.

We liked

Surprisingly, the build quality on display here is impressive, managing a sturdy build in a plastic frame with even a bit of style. So the lid is a tad wobbly with its two plastic hinges, but what do you want for under $300? Besides, the keyboard and clickpad didn't disappoint – something that's common in the budget space.

While this Chromebook's battery life misses Toshiba's mark, I'm still quite impressed. Even for such a low-power system, 6 to 7 hours of endurance is longer than most Windows laptops can claim. Another plus is how quickly this Chromebook charges, meaning less time tethered to an outlet overall.

As far as software goes, Chrome OS has an answer for almost all of your everyday apps and services. The Chrome Store is slowly growing to meet needs beyond that of the general user.

We disliked

So, what's missing? On the software side, an FTP client would be nice, especially in my line of work. How do you think these pictures and screenshots got here?

Moving to hardware, I wouldn't expect much more from the screen that sits on a sub-$300 laptop, but a little color correction could go a long way. Couple that with a somewhat dim maximum brightness and narrow viewing angles, and there are few issues for Toshiba to touch up here next time.

This Chromebook wasn't too hard to stress out, either. My everyday workload seemed to be too much for this machine, given its dependence on the Chrome browser in lieu of dedicated apps. That said, my experience might be different from most. If you only browse with, say, no more than 10 tabs open at a time, then you're in good shape.

Final verdict

The 13-inch MacBook Air Toshiba's Chromebook is most certainly not. This laptop isn't super stylish, nor is it the portable powerhouse you're looking for. But what Toshiba managed to accomplish in style and build for under $300 is undoubtedly impressive.

If you're a media nut or one who often beats up their browser, this Chromebook (or probably any, for that matter) is not for you. In either case, I'd suggest going for a budget machine packing an Intel Core i5 chip (Haswell).

The Toshiba Chromebook is what I like to call the perfect Baby Boomer laptop, not to mention the mileage students would get out of this machine. Looking for an incredibly affordable mobile computer that does, well, what you do most on the computer? This Chromebook is a wise choice.

Tech Specs

Product TypeChromebook
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD Graphics
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time9 Hour
Solid State Drive Capacity16 GB
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilySatellite
Operating System Architecture32-bit
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
Product ModelCB35-A3120
Product NameSatellite CB35-A3120 Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineSatellite
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberPLM01U-002005
Manufacturer Website Address
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