Toshiba Chromebook 2 (Full HD version) Review
Chromebooks have gained a lot of traction in the last couple of years. At first, the Chromebook looked like it would be something that would only exist in a few models, and wouldn’t catch on due to the seemingly low functionality. However, in the last year every major computer manufacturer has provided their version of a Chromebook. Toshiba is one of these, and is already on their second iteration despite releasing their first model just over a year ago. I have recently obtained the Toshiba Chromebook 2 (CB35-B3340) Full HD, and have been loving it. Let’s take a closer look.
The first thing you notice about the Toshiba Chromebook 2 is its design. I did not have the first one, but if you look up side-by-side comparisons, the second model is in an overall smaller package than the first. Just comparing it to my past laptop experiences, it is certainly easy to carry. This is accompanied by the fact that the outside is completely covered in small bumps, allowing you to get a better grip. It certainly makes for an interesting look, and helps differentiate itself from the Macbooks (since both have a similar silver coloring).
The body is made from a cheap-feeling plastic, but you don’t really notice it after the first few days. The bottom curves up towards the front, and the lid’s edges come down to meet at a point with the bottom. While this design looks a little odd, it helps you open the lid while the laptop is placed on a flat surface, since the lid barely protrudes from bottom at the front. The top of the lid has the Chrome logo and the word “chrome” next to it, along with Toshiba. The bottom of the computer has four rubber feet to keep the laptop planted. Other than that, you only see some screws and necessary warning labels and such, as it is a fan-less computer, and the speakers are under the keyboard.
Once you open the lid, you’re greeted by a chiclet-styled keyboard, a trackpad, a camera, and arguably the highlight of this laptop: the Full HD screen (more on this later). Below the screen to the left you have Toshiba printed, and to the bottom and on the right of the keyboard you see Skullcandy and its logo printed, referencing the speakers tuned by them.
The laptop feels really light, and is comfortable to use on your lap or on a table. The only complaint I have is the edge where your wrists lay is where the bottom comes to a point, which sometimes goes into your wrists a little. However, this is only in certain positions, and you only really notice if you are paying attention to it. Another great thing about the laptop is because it is fan-less, it is silent, and only ever gets slightly warm, and when it does it’s only on the bottom in the middle.
Performance and Stamina
This laptop is my first jump into Chrome OS, and I must say I don’t know why I was so hesitant to make the jump from Windows to Chrome OS. I won’t go too deep as to why that is, as we have an article about that here. However, I am loving my experience with Chrome OS. This is due in part to the internals on the Toshiba Chromebook 2. On the inside we have an Intel Celeron N2840 processor clocked at 2.16 GHz and 4 GB of RAM. This combination gives you fan-less computer with long battery life, but won’t choke when you have a few things going on at once. The only time I start to notice any lag is when I have more than 15 tabs open, and even then the lag doesn’t cause the laptop to be unusable (unlike Windows). When I do have a lot going on, the laptop only gets marginally warm, and I can keep it on my lap comfortably. 95% of the time, though, I am cruising along with no issues or noticeable lag.
One of the benefits I mentioned regarding the chip this laptop uses is its battery life. Toshiba claims about 9 hours of battery life, and I find this to be mostly true. What I know is, I can go to work for two hours (using the laptop) browsing the web, watching videos and testing a website, then be in classes for six hours taking notes, browsing the web, and writing, and still have enough juice when I get home for some light web-browsing and social media surfing. Mind you, I place the brightness of the laptop on low while in class. However, even on the days when I’m at work for seven hours straight with the brightness up, I still don’t have to plug-in my laptop until I get home.
Display and Speakers
Probably the thing that make me love this laptop is the display. It is down-right absolutely gorgeous. The default wallpaper has a bunch of stars in the background, and on this display you can see every individual star with clarity. It is captivating. Text looks sharp, images look clear with true colors. I never have issues with brightness, where even in the sunlight I can see the screen clearly. Like I mentioned, this is my first Chromebook, but from what I understand most other Chromebooks do not have great screens. This laptop is certainly an exception. Comparing this to other, non Chrome OS screens it even holds its head high.
Another great thing about this laptop are its speakers. These are located beneath the keyboard, so you can hear them even when it is sitting in your lap. They are tuned by Skullcandy (a constant reminder with the irremovable logo beneath the keyboard), and while I’m not sure how much good that has actually done, what I can tell you is that these speakers are pretty great considering its a laptop. Several times I’ve used my laptop to play music and it can be comfortably heard from across the room, and they weren’t even turned up all the way. It may not be the greatest for you audiophiles out there, but in terms of regular use, they are great.
All-in-all, this laptop is a joy to use, and a breath of fresh air from my past laptop experiences. I have spent $700 on a laptop, and that didn’t hold a candle compared to this $330 beauty. What’s more, it is currently on sale on Amazon for $299! Between its lightweight body, beautiful screen, great speakers, and Chrome OS, I’m not sure I’ll be able to find something in the same price area to compete with this.