Hands on: Toshiba Chromebook

Building the world’s first 13.3-inch Chromebook may be enough to make this Toshiba important – for the moment, at least.

The marketing pitch for Toshiba’s Chromebook is simple: It has a 13.3-inch display, and it runs Chrome OS. Focusing on the dimensions of the screen may seem silly, but the company has a point. All of the options released so far have ignored this popular size, instead going for a much smaller 11.6- or -12.1-inch display or, in the case of HP, a larger 14-inch panel.

Toshiba is simply filling a gap the competition has left open. But does that mean it’s worth buying? Our first impression is a tentative yes.

There’s nothing about the Toshiba’s specifications that makes it stand out. The Intel Celeron 2955U processor, which is paired with 2GB of RAM and a 16GB solid state drive, should prove faster than ARM-powered competition like the HP Chromebook 11 and Samsung Chromebook, but will probably be just on par with HP Chromebook 14 and Acer C7 Chromebook, which also have Celeron inside.

The mediocrity continues to the exterior, which is plain, silver and thoroughly similar to a number of inexpensive notebooks. The 1,366 x 768 display is fine, but not beautiful. Both the keyboard and touchpad do their job, but aren’t exceptional. Even the $279 MSRP is right in the middle of existing options.

Toshiba Chromebook keyboard angle

But that’s the point. While we’ve favorably reviewed the smaller models from Acer and Samsung, a 11.6-inch or 12.1-inch laptop appeals to a limited audience; there are many people who aren’t comfortable with such a tiny notebook. HP’s larger 14-inch version banished that problem, but also inflated the price to $329 (now reduced to $299) and made for a rather bulky package.

The 13.3-inch Toshiba walks the line between these extremes. It is large enough for almost anyone to use comfortably, but also small enough and inexpensive enough be justifiable as a second PC for people who already own a larger, more capable system. That’s enough to put it on our radar despite ho-hum hardware.

There is one area where Toshiba does stand out, however: battery life. The company claims that it can manage nine hours, while many competitors claim only six. Acer and HP have new models that estimate their life at only a half- hour less, though, so Toshiba must deliver on its figure to truly impress. We won’t know how the battery fairs in real-world use until we have the system in for review.

Toshiba hasn’t filled us with desire for its first Chromebook, but it has addressed a popular display size that other manufacturers have mysteriously ignored. Whether that’s enough to crowd out Acer, Samsung and HP remains to be seen.

Highs

  • First 13.3-inch Chromebook
  • Reasonable price for the hardware
  • Strong battery life claims

Lows

  • Dull design
  • Unattractive display
Computing

Best Buy’s latest sale takes up to $300 off the best Chromebooks

Looking to purchase a new Chromebook? You're in for some luck. Best Buy's latest sale is taking up to $300 off some of the best premium Chromebooks, including the HP Chromebook x2.
Deals

Here are the best Chromebook deals available in February 2019

Whether you want a compact laptop to enjoy some entertainment on the go, or you need a no-nonsense machine for school or work, we've smoked out the best cheap Chromebook deals -- from full-sized laptops to 2-in-1 convertibles -- that won't…
Deals

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for February 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Computing

Keep your portable computer safe and shiny with the best laptop bags for 2019

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.
Computing

Dodge the biggest laptop-buying mistakes with these handy tips

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.
Computing

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Computing

The rumors were true. Nvidia’s 1660 Ti GPU, a $280 powerhouse, has arrived

Nvidia has officially launched the GTX 1660 Ti, its next-generation, Turing-based GPU. It promises to deliver all the performance and efficiency for all modern games, but without stepping into the high price range of the RTX series. 
Computing

Confused about RSS? Don't be. Here's what it is and how to use it

What is an RSS feed, anyway? This traditional method of following online news is still plenty useful. Let's take a look at what RSS means, and what advantages it has in today's busy world.
Computing

Everything you need to know about routers, modems, combos, and mesh networks

Modem vs. router: what's the difference? We explain their functions so you can better diagnose any issues prior to contacting technical support. We also talk about a few variants you'll see offered by ISPs and retailers.
Computing

Metro Exodus update brings DLSS improvements to Nvidia RTX 20-series PCs

Having issues in Metro Exodus? A February 21 update for the title recently delivered enhancements to Nvidia’s deep learning supersampling feature and other fixes for low-specced PCs. 
Computing

Limited-time sale knocks $500 off the price of the Razer Blade Pro 17

Looking for an ultra-powerful laptop for yourself or someone else? You're in for some luck. Razer is running a sale on some of its best gaming laptops, cutting down pricing on the Razer Blade 15 and the Razer Blade Pro 17. 
Emerging Tech

Engineer turns his old Apple lle into an wheeled robot, and even gives it a sword

How do you give new life to a 30-year-old computer? Software engineer Mike Kohn found a way by transforming his old Apple IIe into a wheeled robot. Check it out in all its 1980s glory.
Gaming

Want to play as Iron Man or Waluigi in GTA V? Our favorite mods make it possible

Grand Theft Auto V is best on the PC for many reasons, and modifications may be the most important. You can cause riots, spawn unique cars, and play as a cop with just a few extra files.
Computing

Does the GTX 1660 Ti's leaner design make it a better GPU than the RTX 2060?

Nvidia's GTX 1660 Ti is a new Turing GPU without ray tracing or DLSS, but how does it compare to its RTX brethren? We pit the 1660 Ti versus the RTX 2060 to find out in this comparison.