The Chromebooks are just getting better and better. The time of windows powered laptops dominating the market is over. They are not just cheap machines running the Google OS anymore. And the new Toshiba Chromebook 2 is the perfect example of it. It features a stunning 13 inch full HD 1080p IPS display, a stylish light frame and decent speakers, and all of these only for only $329 ($249 without the HD screen). So, if you like the simplicity of the Chrome OS, but want some premium features as well, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 is the perfect choice for you.
Gorgeous 1080p IPS screen
Fanless ventilation system
Light and portable
Good battery life
Inadequate graphics performance
Odd color combination
Opening the lid is tricky
Relatively low battery life
Model: Chromebook 2
Processor: Intel Celeron N2840 2.58 GHz
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
Memory: 4GB DDR3
SSD: 16 GB SSD
Optical Drive: none
Display Type: IPS Screen
Screen Size: 13.3 inch
Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (16:9)
Audio: Skullcandy front-facing speakers
Keyboard: Chiclet-style keyboard without numeric keys
Navigation: 4 x 2.8 inch touchpad
Webcam: HD camera
Video Ports: HDMI port
Audio Ports: Combo Headphone/Mic Jack
USB: 1x USB 3.0 and 1x USB 2.0
Media Ports: SD card slot
Width: 12.6 inch / 32 cm
Depth: 8.4 inch / 21.3 cm
Height: 0.76 inch / 1.9 cm
Weight: 2.96 pounds / 1.34 kg
Battery: 3 cell, 44Wh lithium polymer battery
Battery Life: 8 Hours
Operating System: Chrome OS
Warranty: 1 year Limited
Base Price: $329 at Amazon
Build and Design
Though the outlook and size of the laptop is pretty decent, the build quality of this Chromebook 2 isn’t anything special. The whole body is made of plastic and is by no means a premium product, but it doesn’t look cheap or flimsy at all, as other low-cost laptops frequently do. Instead, the outlook is solid and also the build is somewhat strong while the look is still classy and sleek.
Now, if you open the lid, the keyboard deck of the laptop is made of smooth plastic, which is not only comfortable for wrists, but also made the interior sleeker. However, the bottom side of the laptop is made with a piece of white plastic while the rest of the device is painted in metallic silver which made the outlook really odd. Also the lid is not really flexible and it doesn’t seem like it’ll offer too much protection for the screen on the inside. Moreover, the top half part of the laptop lines up perfectly with its bottom half, and there’s no lip cut at the intersection to give you an easy way to open the laptop up and start working.
Anyway, the Chromebook 2 has a typical textured design on its silver lid that’s easy to hang on and makes the laptop look more expensive than it is. With the dimension of 12.6 x 8.4 x 0.76 inch, and just under 3 pounds, the laptop is reasonably sized and quite light for its class.
The keyboard has the standard Chrome OS chiclet style setup. The keys are well-spaced and easy to type on. They layout is comfortable as well and we had no issues whatsoever using the keyboard. They made the outlook of the keyboard very similar to the MacBook Air, though the quality of the keyboard is not really the same.
The touchpad of the Chromebook 2 works well, but the feedback is not that comfortable as it has a plastic feel. After all, the 4 x 2.8 inch touchpad doesn’t have any problem or drawback. It works just as a touchpad should and provides responsiveness to all single and multi-finger tapping. However, Chrome OS doesn’t have as many multi-touch gestures as Windows or OS X, so you can’t accomplish as much with the touchpad anyway.
For a Chromebook, the laptop sports a good selection of connectivity.
On the right side, there are a combination Microphone / headphone jack, USB 3.0, HDMI and a security lock port.
While on the other hand, left side has an SD Card slot, a USB 2.0 port and the charging port.
Beside these ports, the laptop also has a dual-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
To be honest, it’s the quality of Toshiba’s screen that truly makes the system stand out. This is the first Chromebook device to offer a 1080p display having an IPS panel instead of the usual cheap and grainy TN based technology we see in the vast majority of economy laptops. So, the screen is bright and clear, with vivid colors and excellent viewing angles.
To specify the details, the average brightness of the display is 339 nits, and average contrast is 275 CD / m2 as well the screen reproduces 98.5 percent of the sRGB color gamut.
Considering it as a light Chromebook, the audio quality of the laptop is quite strong. The Skullcandy speakers are simply spectacular and perform way better than any other laptops in this class. The front facing dual stereo speakers are hidden underneath the Chromebook’s keyboard. The sound is loud (92 decibels from the test) and clear and not in the least bit hollow or unpleasant. To enjoy music and movies, you won’t need any external speakers.
Inside of the Toshiba Chromebook 2, there is a 2.58 GHz Intel Celeron N2840 processor, 4 GB of DDR3 ram and a 16 GB of solid state drive. Though I was hoping for a Haswell Celeron CPU, this laptop came with Bay Trail powered Celeron processor. However, the performance is pretty much enough to run Chrome OS smoothly.
The 4 GB of memory surely has some benefits, as 2 GB is not really adequate when you have to multitask sometimes. As for the storage, 16 GB of SSD is not nearly enough for today’s world. However, you will get 100GB of Google Drive cloud storage for 2 years for free. Sadly, the graphics performance of this laptop is barely adequate. If you are planning to play all games from Playstore on this laptop, you will be very disappointed. Though they labeled the onboard graphics as Intel HD Graphics, the performance is not pleasing at all.
Heat and Noise
The Toshiba Chromebook 2 stays pretty cool all the time. Though the system does get a bit warm from time to time, it will never generate shocking or bothersome heat. When testing, I was able to get a maximum of 88 degrees Fahrenheit (31 Degrees Celsius) on its underside. Moreover, because of the Fanless design, regardless of the situation, the laptop won’t make any noise.
Toshiba Chromebook 2 has a 3 cell / 44Wh lithium polymer battery. When testing, I was able to get roughly 8 hours (7hours 52 minutes to be exact) from it, though Toshiba claims the laptop can run up to 9 hours.
Like any other Chromebook, there is nothing much to customize. However, if you are planning to get a cheaper laptop than $329, you can ditch the IPS screen along with 2 GB of RAM and save $80.
This laptop is especially for the users who like the Chrome OS, but also want a premium display, as very few laptops offer the same. Besides awesome display and powerful speakers, the laptop is also quite portable. We could easily call it Ultrabook, if the performance was better.
After all, Because of the compatibility issues and limited offline features, Chromebooks require a certain amount of compromise. And Toshiba Chromebook 2 is no exception. But if you are willing to accept the lacking, there is no better option than Toshiba Chromebook 2.