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.


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


  • Dull design
  • Unattractive display
Product Review

Why spend more? The Yoga Chromebook outdoes most laptops for $600

The Yoga Chromebook features great build quality, a 1080p display, and all-day battery life. All that for $540? That’s right, but there’s one catch.

Our favorite fitness trackers make it fun to keep moving

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.

Here are the best laptop deals for December 2018

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

Montblanc Summit 2 offers smart functionality but still looks good with a suit

Montblanc’s Summit 2 is the first smartwatch to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor. It’s feature packed, with GPS, NFC for Google Pay, and a heart rate sensor, but it also has the classic timepiece look.

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.

Apple MacBook Air vs. Microsoft Surface Pro 6

The MacBook Air was updated with more contemporary components and a more modern design, but is that enough to compete with standouts like Microsoft's Surface Pro 6 detachable tablet?

Microsoft’s Windows 10 updates have been a disaster despite safeguards

After a string of Windows 10 update issues, including severe data loss for a number of users, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of Windows, Michael Fortin, has spoken out about quality control surrounding Windows development at…

Installing fonts in Windows 10 is quick and easy -- just follow these steps

Want to know how to install fonts in Windows 10? Here's our guide on two easy ways to get the job done, no matter how many you want to add to your existing catalog, plus instructions for deleting fonts.

Email take-backsies! Gmail's unsend feature is one of its best

Everyone has sent a message they wish they could take back. How great would it be if you could undo that impulsive email? If you're a Gmail user, you can. Here's how to recall an email in Gmail.

These laptop makers produce the most reliable, quality hardware today

If you want to buy your next laptop based around a specific brand, it helps to know which the best brands of laptops are. This list will give you a good grounding in the most reliable, quality laptop manufacturers today.

Here's why 64-bit (not 32-bit) dominates modern computing

Today's computing world isn't the same as it once was. With 64-bit processors and operating systems replacing the older 32-bit designs, we look at what 32-bit vs. 64-bit really means for you.

No more wild goose chase: ‘Duck.com’ now leads to DuckDuckGo instead of Google

DuckDuckGo recently acquired a shorter domain name from fellow search engine competitor Google. As a result, longtime and new DuckDuckGo users can now access the privacy-focused search engine by going to duck.com.

Samsung Notebook 9 Pen is back with new design, internals and S Pen

Samsung's new Notebook 9 Pen looks to be an ideal Windows 2-in-1 for creators. New features include a modern design, an updated S Pen in the box, and the latest eighth-generation Intel Core i7 processor.

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.