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Toshiba Chromebook - Performance, Keypad and Trackpad

Michael Sawh

By Michael Sawh

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Toshiba Chromebook – Performance

The Toshiba Chromebook uses a 1.4 GHz Intel Celeron 2955U processor, putting it in line with the latest Google-running laptops. Intel’s Haswell-generation processors like this offer slicker, speedier overall performance than early Chromebooks. It has the same entry-level 2GB of RAM as the Acer C720 to take care of multitasking, and 16GB of on-board storage gives you smartphone-like capacity for files like photos, documents and video.

Boot up times to the sign-in page are around 7-8 seconds, which is impressively quick. It also handles the strain of multiple tabs with very little issue. Running separate tabs for Netflix, live streaming coverage of the Winter Olympics on the BBC, Facebook, Twitter and Cut the Rope there was no noticeable lag switching between the tabs.

Not much has changed in the Chrome OS since we last checked out a Chromebook. Google’s catalogue of apps is still headlined by Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides and Google Search. Popular apps like Evernote, Spotify and Battlefield Play Free are also pre-installed although there are some applications included like Blackball Pool that are actually not supported by Chrome OS (you need to perform a workaround to get it running). App support is growing in the Chrome Web Store but not at the rate of other app stores and there are some high profile absentees.

Chrome Store

There's no optional 3G or 4G support like you'll find on the HP Chromebook 14, so you are relying on Wi-Fi here. Offline access is improving as long as you remember to adjust the settings to get the same type of access - without an internet connection it's not much fun. As an operating system Chrome still has some growing to do, but it's very easy to get to grips with once you understand how everything works.

One consistent feature in Chromebooks - and most laptops for that matter - is a front-facing webcam. In this case there's a 0.9-megapixel 720p HD camera with a built-in microphone making it primed for Google Hangouts, as there’s still no dedicated Skype app. As you’d expect the webcam doesn’t offer much in the way of clarity or colour and it’s going to be a just-adequate camera for video calls. It doesn’t get much better for pictures, although you can apply a range of filters if that’s your cup of tea.

We were actually more impressed with the quality of speakers, a feature often neglected on laptops. The twin speakers situated in the base at the front of the laptop offer clear, well-defined sound that doesn’t destructively distort at loud volumes. And there is some subtle bass, making the Toshiba Chromebook a decent place to listen to music.

Toshiba Chromebook

Toshiba Chromebook – Keyboard

It looks like MacBook Air keyboard from afar but on much closer inspection there are some clear differences in the Chromebook's keyboard. Of the 75 keys, there’s the usual array of shortcuts up top to control volume, brightness and to minimise/maximise the browser window.

One inconsistency across Chromebooks is whether they include a Caps Lock instead of the Search key. Here you get a Chrome-style Search key, which could prove a mild irritation if you're after a very traditional setup.

The keyboards of 11-inch Chromebooks tend to be a little cramped so it’s refreshing to have a palm rest and keyboard that is more accommodating. The keys are slightly textured, but not as smoothly as the keys of a MacBook. This texturing feels good and there's a nice amount of travel bouncing from one key to the next. It's a comfortable place to type for long periods.

Toshiba Chromebook - Trackpad

The keyboard is joined by a nicely sized multi-touch, button-less trackpad generally known as a ClickPad. Again. it's not too dissimilar from the ones that have popped up on rival Chromebooks offering a nice, flat surface to support two-finger scrolling, multitouch gesture controls and the ability to zoom.

We didn't however have the most pleasant experience using it. A lot of additional gestures require holding one finger down on the trackpad and swiping with another. It sounds simple enough but in practice it doesn't work brilliantly. Trying to find the sweet spot to zoom into a location on Google Maps was very frustrating. For opening and closing tabs or hovering over the search bar, it’s perfectly adept at its job, it's just when you need to do something more advanced where it begins to struggle.

Brian O'Neill

January 6, 2014, 5:07 pm

Looks identical to the samsung chromebook.

S_Deemer

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.

IainGT

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.

TrOuBLeDbOy

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 :(

TrOuBLeDbOy

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

catburn

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!

getjeffrey

January 7, 2014, 5:31 pm

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

Danny

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.

torjs99

March 3, 2014, 4:47 pm

EOL laptops are now rebranded chromebooks. no thank you

Duncan

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.

dourscot

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?

dourscot

March 8, 2014, 10:35 am

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

view2share

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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