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Toshiba Chromebook review

Michael Sawh



Our Score


User Score


  • Spacious and comfortable keyboard
  • Quick boot-up times
  • Good battery life
  • Plenty of connectivity


  • Unresponsive trackpad
  • High profile apps missing from Chrome Store
  • No 3G or 4G connectivity option

Review Price £249.00

Key Features: 13.3-inch 1,366 x 768 display; Runs on Chrome OS; 16GB internal memory; 2GB RAM; HD webcam; Up to 9 hour battery life

Manufacturer: Toshiba

What is the Toshiba Chromebook?

The Toshiba Chromebook CB30-102 is a laptop that is all about firsts. It's Toshiba’s first attempt at making a Google Chrome-powered laptop and the first Chromebook to feature a 13.3-inch screen.

At £250 it’s a little more expensive than 11-inch efforts like the Acer C720. For the extra money you get a more spacious keyboard, a bigger display with the Intel Haswell-fuelled performance that makes second generation Chromebooks a viable alternative to a cheap tablet or a Windows 8 laptop.

Toshiba Chromebook - Design

Toshiba is not the first, and certainly won’t be the last, to take a little design inspiration from a certain Apple laptop. Okay, so it doesn't have the same aluminium exterior, but the Toshiba Chromebook's plastic silver chassis and matt black keyboard with rounded-edged keys are obvious nods to the MacBook. And while the materials used might not be as luxurious, it still has an attractive charm about it, and doesn’t feel as cheap as sub-£250 price tag suggests.

Unlike the Acer C720 and the Samsung Series 3 Chromebooks, Toshiba Chromebook opts for a dimpled, textured finish on the lid and the base, giving it a subtle layer of grip. Measuring in at 20.2mm thick and weighing 1.5kg, you are talking near-13.3-inch-MacBook Air realms of size and portability. It won’t add substantial bulk to a bag, or feel too heavy to carry around in your hand.

In terms of physical connectivity, there’s a single HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports and an audio jack alongside the charging port situated on other side of the body. Additionally, it supports Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0, so it ultimately matches most Chromebooks in the connectivity department. There’s an HD (0.9-megapixel) webcam in tow above the screen to take care of video chats and speakers situated on the laptop's base.

Chromebook Pixel aside, previous Google-powered laptops have not really been about looks and Toshiba’s offering doesn’t do anything too new. It’s not ugly, though, and its understated and portable design will satisfy most willing to stump up the £250 for it.

Toshiba Chromebook -Screen Quality

With the 13-inch MacBook Air and a whole host of 13-inch ultrabooks available, it’s surprising that it has taken this long to see a Chromebook equivalent. We're glad it's here. However, for the sake of keeping the price low, Chromebook displays feel the pinch and it's no different with the Toshiba Chromebook. It's not terrible, but it could be so much better.

The 1,366 x 768 screen resolution matches 11-inch Chromebooks although the larger display makes it more suitable for watching films on. While it can handle 720p HD video, the display lacks vibrancy and the exceptional sharpness you’d associate with more expensive 13-inch laptops like the Sony Vaio Pro 13 or Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus. Colour accuracy disappoints as well so it's not going to be a fantastic place to watch high definition video.

We really have some issues with the display brightness as well. The default setting is far too dim to be useful so you'll need to crank it up reasonably high to get the best viewing experience. The screen is very reflective as well so it's not very useful if you are planning to work outside.

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Brian O'Neill

January 6, 2014, 5:07 pm

Looks identical to the samsung chromebook.


January 6, 2014, 6:23 pm

I have a Samsung Chromebook and a Macbook Pro, to which the resemblance is far closer. The Samsung has that odd hinge popping up, and puts the ports on the rear, where they are inconvenient, to say the least. Toshiba is filling a small gap in the Chromebook line, slotting in between the first generation designs and the HP Chromebook 14. At the price, they should sell well. I'd still like to see something with a sharp IPS display, a backlit keyboard, and a 32gb SSD/4gb RAM option, but those features are going to push up the price point.


January 6, 2014, 10:59 pm

It would be nice to see something a little more solidly built, and with a somewhat improved screen. 1440x900 even. I guess they're feeling the market out, but I'd be ready to pay £300-350, especially as my Samsung is my most used computer and is showing the physical wear and tear of a year of hard use.


January 7, 2014, 12:58 am

i really like the black bezel in the third pic. What is that the kirabook ? it looks beautiful with the black bezel <3 too bad the price is almost 2k :(


January 7, 2014, 1:04 am

same here bro. I would be willing to pay 2-3 hundred more to get a premium macbook air looking chromebook with maybe a tad more ram. Anyway its a seen one with a 13.3" screen


January 7, 2014, 1:01 pm

Not very innovative at all! Chromebooks need to be connected to get the best out of them - no 4g or even 3g??? What's the point in having superb portability if you're tied to wifi spots? Quality wise, seems same as all the rest. Hope the other companies can come up with something better than this!


January 7, 2014, 5:31 pm

Who do I have to do to get a Chromebook designed with a back-lit keyboard.


January 24, 2014, 3:08 am

Chromebooks have an increasing amount of offline apps now. It's not a "brick" if you don't have WiFi. Alternatively, HP just released a 14" Chromebook with 2GB of T-Mobile 4G for free every month.


March 3, 2014, 4:47 pm

EOL laptops are now rebranded chromebooks. no thank you


March 7, 2014, 1:25 am

For internet surfing these machines are fine, but for productivity (particularly in terms of printers) they are very limited.


March 8, 2014, 10:34 am

I use one regularly and have never had any problems. Indeed, my Windows PC is the one that saps productivity with its constant updates, security worries and expensive battery-hogging applications.

Not invented here, right?


March 8, 2014, 10:35 am

The same is true for any computer. You tried surviving offline using Windows? Not much fun.


May 28, 2014, 6:59 am

The LG Chromebase all-in-one is coming for $349 -- IPS 21.5" monitor. Should be interesting. Hope that the tabs fonts are not too tiny on Chrome OS browser.

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