toshiba-chromebook-016[CES 2014] Toshiba joins the club of OEMs which are featuring Chromebooks in their computer line-up. So far, and to the surprise of some, Google’s Chrome OS has had more traction than expected, especially in the education field. That’s because Chrome OS computers are simple, easily manageable and difficult for students to hack – thus making them a platform of choice for many schools, hotels and other places where users are given a short-term computer. Toshiba is coming to this market with a cautious approach and has taken a good look at the competitive landscape before launching its own product.

The company differentiates itself by building a Chromebook that is designed to be comfortable to use, thanks to the 13.3” display (1366×768) and the full-size keyboard. I’ve played with it shortly and I have to say that the display was surprisingly good for a $279.99 computer. The colors start changing if you look at it from a shallow angle, but when using it straight-on, the colors were nice and the image was bright.

From the outside, the Toshiba Chromebook looks like a regular affordable laptop. It is 0.8” slim and weighs about 3.3lbs which is pretty good for a 13” laptop. Of course, its pricing prevents it from competing with $699-$999 laptops in terms of build quality and overall specs, but for the very basic usage and the price point that it was created for, it would be unfair to ask for much more.

Inside, there is an Intel Celeron processor paired with 2GB of RAM. As all Chromebooks, the Toshiba 13” one has 16GB of storage inside. This is mainly used for caching and for some limited local offline work. Keep in mind that ChromeOS is intended to be a connected system, so if you expect to be offline for a long time, this may not be for you. If you do decide that you live a connected live, Google does provide 100GB on Google Drive – you should check the fine prints to see if this is a permanent or temporary offer. Finally, the Toshiba 13” Chromebook comes with two USB 3.0 ports, a full-size HDMI port, a memory card reader and a security lock port. It connects to the network via WiFi A/B/G/N and also use Bluetooth 4.0.

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