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Toshiba Chromebook 2 – 2015 Review

Toshiba Chromebook 2 2015 is my 4th Chromebook if you do not count the Dell netbook I installed Chromium OS on. Why did I choose this model to be my next Chromebook? How do I feel about this decision after a few weeks?

I bought the Toshiba Chromebook 2 – 2015 Edition CB35-C3350. Powering this Chromebook is an Intel Core i3-5015U 2.1 GHz Processor with 4GB RAM to help the process.  My model has a 13.3-inch Full HD IPS Display and a back-lit keyboard.

There are plenty of Chromebooks to choose from. However, most of the Chromebooks follow the usual pattern; an average display, 2GB RAM on the base model, and 16GB SSD.  For me, the screen and a great back-lit keyboard made the decision easy.

Pros

  • Great display (as compared to most of the Chromebooks in the market)
  • Nice keyboard, optional back-lit.
  • Decent build quality.

Cons

Battery life could be better.

Summary

The Toshiba Chromebook 2 is an excellent Chromebook with an almost perfect recipe. It has the usual Chromebook ingredients along with a few items that make it standout in the crowd. If you are ready to spend a little extra, you can pick up a powerful Chromebook with a back-lit keyboard, HD screen and 4 GB RAM.

If the inexpensive Chromebooks are for Chromebook newbies, Pixel for Chromebook fans, the Toshiba Chromebook is for Chromebook lovers.

Hardware

Toshiba Chromebook 2 is a nicely designed laptop. The matte finish on the front may not be for everyone, but it does have an appeal. The Chromebook is thinner towards the front end, (you know where that look comes from) which makes it look thinner.

This Chromebook does not have a metal body to boast about but the metallic colored plastic is solid enough. It does not have flex or a cheap plastic feel anywhere.

The next time around, if Toshiba can learn something from the Dell XPS 15 with the infinity screen that has almost zero bezel, I will be really happy. Coming from an 11.6 inch Chromebook, this 13 incher feels little big. However, I appreciate the extra screen real estate. Reducing the bezel and the overall footprint of the device will be much appreciated.

I do not have any complaint about the weight. At 2.9 pounds (about 1.3 Kg), this Chromebook won’t break your back.

The keyboard was something I had to get perfect while choosing a new Chromebook. I do all my blogging from my Chromebooks. After a brief stint with a Macbook Pro keyboard, I had started appreciating back-lit keyboards as well. The keyboard on the Toshiba Chromebook 2 2015 has not disappointed me so far. It is spacious and has a fair amount of key travel.

The touch pad is large enough. None of the reviews I read had any complaints about the touch pad. However, I had a little trouble getting used to the surface of the track pad. Most likely this is my fingers, and not the touch pad, but I felt that the touch pad surface could be a little softer. I use a wireless mouse most of the time, so this should not be an issue. It will be perfect though, if my fingers eventually get used to this.

This is my first experience with an HD screen on a Chromebook. Hence my comments here might be biased. The display is nothing magnificent compared to what you see on the Pixel or a Macbook Pro. However, for the amount of money I paid, I am really happy with the screen. It does feel a teeny-tiny bit washed out though. Chrome OS handles the 1,920 x 1,080 HD screen gracefully.

The Toshiba Chromebook 2 2015 comes with Skullcandy audio. This does not make this laptop a powerful music system, but it is loud enough for a movie or occasional music.

On the right side you get an HDMI port, audio jack and a USB 3.0. On the left, you have the power jack, a USB 2.0 and the memory card slot. I use a wireless mouse quite often with my laptops. The placement of the audio jack has become an issue for me. If I plugin the earphone and try to use the mouse, the cable is right next to mouse and is a bit of an inconvenience. Nothing that I cannot work around though.

This Chromebook also has a webcam for those video calls and hangouts that you might want to do, but do not expect anything fancy. It gets the job done.

Performance and Battery Life

I have 12 tabs open as I write this very sentence. One of them is a YouTube video. I have a fair amount of extensions running in the background too. The Intel Core i3-5015U 2.1 GHz processor and the 4GB RAM is keeping it cool and I am getting my work done without any issues.

If you are a numbers and benchmarks guy, SunSpider 1.0 gave me 277.0m and Mozilla Karken scored 1555.3ms, without closing any of those other tabs I was running. Google Octane 2.0 also showed an impressive 14279.

Storage on-board is the usual 16GB. An extra 16 would have made me a bit more happy. This is 2016 and I think we need something more than 16GB as standard storage on Chromebooks. I know Chrome OS wants me to store everything in the cloud, but looking at my Files app and reading 7.5 GB remaining does not make me feel comfortable.

Battery life is the biggest concern I have about this Chromebook. That HD screen is really thirsty. I use my Chromebooks with brightness cranked all the way up. With the Toshiba Chromebook 2, I had to keep it at the default level (can you hear my eyes saying thank you?). With that small adjustment I am able to get through my usual evening blogging ritual without connecting the charger. On weekends when I spend a lot of time online writing, editing and improving my blog (along with other time-wasting internet stuff) I end up charging this after 5 or 6 hours.

Every time I see that battery icon go red I tell myself, look at that screen. Look at that screen.

Living in a land where Chromebooks are not easy to come by, (Thank you James for helping me get my hands on this one!) I have to be cautious while making choices. I cannot sending a device back within 30 days and get a refund if I did not like anything.

After two weeks with the Toshiba Chromebook 2 2015, using it as my full time computer at home, I do not have any complaints, except for the slight disappointment on the battery life.

To do for the next Chromebook, Toshiba:

  • Better battery life with the same or improve the display.
  • Smaller Chromebook without reducing the screen size (Refer to Dell XPS 13 laptops with Infinity display)
  • Send me a review unit.

That’s it, folks. Wrote my very first Chromebook review. Let me know your thoughts.

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3 responses to “Toshiba Chromebook 2 – 2015 Review”

  1. If you ever feel like you need more local storage space, they are apparently easy enough to upgrade, according to this guy’s tutorial.
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PatrickPlante/posts/i5oZwYmHURg

    1. Coo!, thank you for sharing that!

  2. 2 Chromebooks & 1 Chromebox – desperately wanting to go ‘Windows Free’ – but the inability to use either scanner makes that impossible. Plus, can make my printer appear in Google Cloud Print under Windows but not Chrome OS / Chromium OS. Very frustrating. Also, with nothing going on but 8ish tabs open – 4 GB RAM just doesn’t cut it. The lack of more powerful units at this point doesn’t make sense.


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