Toshiba Chromebook hands-on review

Toshiba Chromebook

Toshiba has joined the Chrome OS party with its inventively named Toshiba Chromebook at CES 2014. The device will be available on 16 February for $279 so we expect a price in sterling of £200-250.

If you're not convinced by Chromebook laptops then here's what Toshiba has to say on the matter. "We see great potential in Chrome OS as it offers both consumers and educators a simple and easy-to-use computing experience," said Carl Pinto, vice president of marketing at Toshiba. "We believe that bringing a more versatile 13-inch model to market will help drive the entire category forward by giving customers an option that opens new doors for productivity, not only for consumers, but also students and educators."

Chromebooks are supposed to be cheap, simple and effective and to this end Toshiba's effort has a standard resolution of 1366 x 768 for its 13.3in size. It's definitely nice to have a Chromebook which offers a larger screen with most which have come before it, from the likes of Acer, HP and Samsung, having small displays. Toshiba has gone larger than the Chromebook Pixel which has a 12.85in screen.

The Toshiba Chromebook is reasonably thin and light at 20mm and 1.49kg but it has an extremely plasticky shell which feels both cheap and flimsy. This is somewhat to be expected given the price but we're just telling you like it is.

Toshiba Chromebook build quality

A Haswell-based Intel Celeron processor, 2GB of RAM and a 16GB solid state drive (SSD) deliver performance for the Toshiba Chromebook – 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage is included. In our brief hands-on time with the device it seemed nippy enough but we'll test it further in the lab.

Much more of a problem was the cheap and extremely unresponsive trackpad which Toshiba has opted for. It struggled to even move the mouse pointer around the screen with our input. We checked this on multiple devices to check we didn't have a dud. Now wonder Toshiba had a USB mouse plugged into each one.

Toshiba Chromebook keyboard and trackpad

The Toshiba Chromebook is fairly well equipped with two USB 3.0 ports, a full-size HDMI port, security lock slot, a memory card reader, Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-band Wi-Fi. Toshiba touts an all-day battery life of 9 hours.

OUR VERDICT

It's nice to finally see a 13in option for a Chromebook but basic build quality and screen resolution means the Toshiba doesn't have any stand out features. It's a good job it's cheap then.