Toshiba Chromebook hands-on: A solid effort with more roominess

Toshiba Chromebook side angle

Amidst a sea of gadgets at the Consumer Electronics show, I tracked down the Toshiba folks and spent about 10 minutes with their first Chromebook effort. My initial verdict: It’s certainly a worthy Chrome OS contender, but apart from the relatively unique 13-inch screen size, there’s little to differentiate the device from its peers.

For some that may be enough. And if you’re one of those people, I think you’ll find the $279 price to be a solid value. Having a larger display makes for a spacious keyboard and bigger trackpad. Typing on the Chromebook for a few minutes was a pretty good experience. The trackpad doesn’t feel as smooth as others to me, but perhaps I’m spoiled by the Chromebook Pixel and its etched glass trackpad.

Toshiba Chromebook keyboard

I didn’t run any benchmark tests, however I didn’t see any scrolling lag nor any other performance hiccups. Wi-Fi is always hit or miss at these types of events so there were some slow page loads. I attribute that to the venue and I couldn’t really test how the Chromebook works with a few dozens of tabs open. In my brief time, the device preformed as you’d expect with this now-common configuration of Haswell-based Intel Celeron and 2 GB of memory. The internals are the same as recent Chromebooks from Acer and HP, for example.

Toshiba Chromebook angle screen

Viewing angles on the display aren’t as good as I’ve seen from IPS panels. But they’re not terrible. And overall, I think the screen is a step up from the panel that Acer has used of late on its C720 Chromebook line. Based on that — and the added space on the keyboard, trackpad and screen — I’d be inclined to pick this up over an Acer. Build quality seemed quite good and the design is similar to Apple’s MacBook Air.

Is this a Chromebook model that will make Chrome OS fans take notice? Probably not because the insides are the same as what everyone else is offering. If you’re looking for a little more room to work, however, the Toshiba Chromebook is a worthy option. The laptop launches on February 16, and I’m working on getting a review unit before then for a deeper dive.

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