Toshiba Chromebook 2

Full HD on a Chromebook just got better

Toshiba Chromebook 2 review

Although the Toshiba Chromebook sports a 13.3-inch screen, it's an extremely light machine, weighing only 2.97 pounds (1.35kg). By comparison, Google's all-metal, 12.5-inch Chromebook Pixel weighs 3.3 pounds (1.5kg). By comparison, the enterprise-level Dell Chromebook 13 tips the scales 3.23 pounds (1.47kg).

In terms of the dimensions, the 12.6 x 8.4 x 0.76-inch or 32 x 21.3 x 1.93cm (W x D x H) Toshiba Chromebook 2 isn't as thin as the Chromebook Pixel, which measures 11.7 x 8.8 x 0.6 inches (29.7 x 22.4 x 1.5mm). The Dell Chromebook 13, however, is the biggest laptop in the bunch, with dimensions of 12.93 x 9.03 x 0.84 inches (32.8 x 22.9 x 2.13cm).

Toshiba Chromebook 2

Here is the Toshiba Chromebook 2 configuration sent to techradar:

Spec Sheet

  • CPU: 2.1GHz Intel Core i3-5015U (dual-core, 3MB cache)
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5500
  • RAM: 4 GB DDR3L (1,600MHz)
  • Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,090 FHD TruBrite TFT LED backlit display
  • Storage: 16GB eMMC
  • Ports: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, HDMI, SD card slot, headphone/mic jack
  • Connectivity: Intel Dual-Band Wireless-AC 7260; Bluetooth 4.0
  • Camera: HD webcam with dual array microphones
  • Weight: 2.97 pounds
  • Size: 12.6 x 8.4 x 0.76 inches (W x D x H)

The Toshiba Chromebook 2 comes at a higher $429 (about £299, AU$612) premium compared to most Chromebooks, and it's largely thanks to the beefier CPU. This latest model is also equipped with 4GB of RAM right of the bat and a high-resolution, 1080p screen.

If that's a little too rich for your blood or the Core processor power seems like overkill, Toshiba also offers a Celeron-powered system for $329 (about £230, AU$469). Going that route nets you a teensy bit lighter and fanless unit, complete with a full HD screen and backlit keyboard.

Toshiba Chromebook 2

At this price point, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 broaches a whole new trend of premium Chrome OS machines that has sparked up recently. Starting at $999 or £799 (about AU$1,277), the Chromebook Pixel comes at a huge price tag comparatively, but you're also getting a top-of-the-line machine. On top of a fully-aluminum shell, Google's developer-bent machine packs a 2,560 x 1,700 resolution touchscreen and Intel Core i5 Broadwell processor on top of double the amount of storage and memory.

Likewise, the Dell Chromebook 13 is a partially metal-bound, cloud-connected laptop meant for the business world. Priced at $529 (£556, AU$969), it boasts an impressive spec sheet on par with Toshiba's components, save for a lower-end Intel Core i3-5005U processor.

Toshiba Chromebook 2

Performance

I had little to no performance issues with the Toshiba Chromebook 2. The laptop ran swimmingly, with dozens of tabs open after I hopped onto a train. All the while, Google Music and a YouTube video I forgot to close played in the background.

Here's how the Toshiba Chromebook 2 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

Benchmarks

  • Octane: 21,554
  • Mozilla Kraken: 1,535.6

With an intel Core i3 processor humming under its plastic hood, this notebook performs better than any Celeron-powered Chromebook. Here's how the old Toshiba Chromebook 2 performed with a Intel Celeron 3215U processor.

  • Octane: 16,921
  • Mozilla Kraken: 1,976.4

In both these cases, the Core i3 model wins out with far better scores in both the Javascript engine-stressing Octane and Mozilla Kraken tests. Other outlets claim the more expensive and powerful Pixel is able to push an Octane score of 24,564 and 1,428 in Mozilla Kraken (for Kraken, lower scores are better).

The Dell Chromebook 13 sits at the bottom rung, with other users reporting an Octane score of roughly 20,000. In the grand scheme of things, though, each and every one of these machines will be more than ready to tackle any web-oriented task you need.

Toshiba Chromebook 2

All the colors of the rainbow

Two years ago, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 was the first Chrome OS laptop to come with a vibrant Full HD screen. Sure, 1080p screens have become more commonplace in the Chromebook world since then, but Toshiba still makes some of the best looking displays on any notebook.

The 1080p screen is a moderate bump up from the 1,366 x 768 resolution typically seen on Chromebooks, but it makes a world of difference even for laptops that serve little more as dedicated web browsing devices. Thanks to this higher resolution, text on websites looks sharper, and there's more screen real estate to multitask with.

The Toshiba Chromebook 2 not only has more pixels but also a higher quality screen in general. Rather than use a TN panel as most Chromebooks have, Toshiba has opted for a TFT screen, which renders vibrant colors and produces deep blacks.

This is the first Chromebook that I actually wanted to watch videos with, and the display's remarkable quality still holds up today. I even found the 13-inch laptop handy for editing images through Photoshop Cloud, as the brilliant display makes it an excellent platform for photographers.

Toshiba also went with a less reflective finish on the screen with this refreshed unit. The screen still catches a few rays of light, but it has seen a great deal of improvement.

Toshiba Chromebook 2

Pinched battery life

Of course, the downside of pushing so many more pixels and the more powerful processor is shorter battery life. The Toshiba Chromebook 2 only lasted 6 hours and 2 minutes between switching through a dozen Chrome tabs, streaming Google Music, slipping into an hour of YouTube and writing this review.

This test was also done with the display just a tick under 50% screen brightness and the speakers set at roughly 20%. Compared to the original Toshiba Chromebook, the extra power draw of the Core i3 processor shortened battery life by 24 minutes.

In techradar's standard movie playback battery test the Chromebook 2 again called it quits after 6 hours and 2 minutes. The Celeron-powered model, meanwhile, had a battery life of 6 hours and 26 minutes. By comparison, the longest I was able to stretch the Pixel was 8 hours and 22 minutes, and the Dell Chromebook 13 is rated for up to 12 hours of use.

The Toshiba Chromebook 2 will still outlast most laptops outside of Ultrabooks. But, if you have a particularly long day ahead of you, be sure to bring the power cord along.