Toshiba Chromebook 2 review

Full HD on a Chromebook just got better

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The Toshiba Chromebook 2 is a largely an improvement from the 2014 model in every way, with more power under the hood and now a backlit keyboard. You'll be paying a bit more for this high-end Chromebook, but it's the most affordable option compared to the Pixel, aimed at developers, and the business-minded Dell Chromebook 13.

We liked

This 13-inch Chrome OS notebook still has everything we loved about the 2014 model and then some. With a more substantial processor behind it, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 has no problems handling dozens of tasks at the same time. Using the laptop in the dark is also a bit easier, thanks to the newly added backlight beneath the keys.

The 13-inch Chromebook's screen is still one of the very best, with a sharp resolution and excellent colors. Plus, the excellent display is paired with a decent set of laptop speakers made by Skullcandy. It all adds up to make this notebook an excellent portable streaming system for everything from YouTube and Google Play to Hulu Plus and Netflix.

We disliked

The screen glare has been reduced but it's still a real problem with this device. You'll avoid taking this notebook outdoors and run for shade. The Toshiba Chromebook 2 also has a fairly short battery life when compared against its costly competitors, and there are more modest Chrome OS machines that can run for longer, too.

The Core i3 version also might not be desirable for everyone considering the higher price point against whether the extra performance is useful for them. In this case, the Celeron offers more than enough power to get you through the day and a sliver more battery life.

Final verdict

Over 400 bucks is a bit much to ask for what is essentially a web browsing machine. However, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 helps push the envelope on what a Chromebook can be. The laptop comes with what is still the best display you can get on a semi-budget laptop and better specs to boot.

It's as fast as some of the most powerful Chrome OS machines around, but this 13-inch machine comes with a lower price point that's more approachable than its competitors. On the other hand, the price and configuration of the Toshiba Chromebook 2 pushes it closer to the realm of affordable Windows 10 laptops. This is especially true as more affordable options, like the HP Pavilion x2, rise up.

Budget Windows laptops, such as the HP Stream, won't be as thin or provide as long of battery life. But those machines built on a much more fully-featured operating system with support for image editing, gaming and much more running without a web browser.

So, you might want to consider what Windows-flavored options you can pick up for the cost of a Toshiba Chromebook 2. But, if you're one of the millions already engrossed in Google's ecosystem, Toshiba just put forth a compelling and gorgeous solution to access all that good stuff.