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Chromebook Review #2: The Toshiba Chromebook 2




The Toshiba Chromebook 2 is an interesting computer.  It runs Google’s ChromeOS which gives the CB2 quick updates to the newest software, and it has some really great features too.  However, there are a few issues with the CB2 as well, but for a price right around $300, it is difficult to be too hard on the CB2.  Luckily thanks to Technology Resources Advisors,  a technology hardware distributor out of Milwaukee,  I was able to test the Chromebook 2 out for a few weeks.  Technology Resources Advisors is a great company to work with and they have an amazing Chromebook leasing program if your district is looking to go 1:1.  Be sure to check them out and let’s dig into the review.   



Toshiba-Chromebook-2-specs-538x600.pngIt should also be noted that this review comes directly after  I  reviewed and purchased the Chromebook Pixel which is one of the best computers you can buy today and certainly the best Chromebook available. So what does the Chromebook 2 have to offer in terms of specs?

Specs

The Toshiba boasts some really solid specs starting with its excellent 13.3in 1080p screen (it is also available in a 720p model). The CB2 combes with an Intel processor, 4GB RAM, 16GB SSD, and an assortment of ports which are pretty standard on the current crop of Chromebooks on the market.  



Some other standout out features include the Skullcandy ™ speakers.  They are pretty loud and sound pretty good for a small computer.  The battery life has also been good on this model as  I  have gotten about 8-10 hours generally during standard use.  

The Good

The best thing about this Chromebook is the 1080p screen.  It’s crisp, bright, and a pleasure to view things one.  In fact, the resolution is so high on CB2’s screen it’s best if  you increase the text size a bit.  Colors are solid and blacks are decently deep.  The only issue with the screen is that is can be a bit glossy sometimes.  

The CB2 also offers solid connectivity with an HDMI port, two USB ports, and an SD card Slot.   I  would like to see USB Type-C, but I’m sure that will be included on the next generation of this Chromebook.  

The Average

That may seem like a short list of good things about the CB2, but the screen is really excellent.  It’s the best on any Chromebook with the exception of the Pixel.  There are several features of the CB2 that are average for the price.  Generally, it’s webcam performed alright and the keyboard is pretty good.   I  am having some issues with it not registering the spacebar when I type which leads to extra mistakes. It is pretty quiet when typing and there is a decent amount of space between the keys.  The CB2’s keys feel plasticy, but not bad.  

Beyond the keys, the CB2 also has an average build quality.   I  had a few people try it out and one person commented that she felt it might break over time and that some of the plastic has too much bend in it near the trackpad.

The microphones on the CB2 are pretty decent, but not amazing.  They will certainly do the trick for most of what you would use microphones for, video chats, calls, and basic audio recording.  Lastly, the speed of the the Chromebook 2 by Toshiba is just average as well.   I  was disappointed in this regard as  I  expected it to be a little faster and more responsive when doing even general things like checking email or web surfing.  The good part about this computer is that it doesn’t slow down when you do other tasks like watching video or creating content.  The CB2 is not slow and those the filled out the survey about it felt is was faster than what they were currently using, but it’s ‘s not blazing fast like the Pixel either.  

The Bad

There are a few things on the Toshiba Chromebook 2 that are just plain bad as well.  The trackpad has a little bit of a textured feel to it and doesn’t respond very well.   I have found that other Chromebook trackpads work much better overall. Really this is the only bad thing about the Toshiba Chromebook 2.   If something else were going to creep into this category, it would also be the web browsing speed as it can be fairly slow overall.


Toshiba Chromebook 2 Scores


Toshiba CB Scores.jpg

Buy or Don’t Buy

I do have to say that overall this is a very solid choice for a Chromebook especially for one in this screen size and price point.  I give it a buy mainly just on screen alone, but couple that with a decent keyboard and excellent battery life and  you really can’t beat the Toshiba Chromebook 2 for the price.  It’s closest competitor is the Acer CB-5 and while they are similar in many ways, the Toshiba’s screen is superior.  However, the Acer is a little less expensive.  

Teacher’s
If you are looking for a Chromebook, this would be an excellent choice.  You can find the CB2 for around $300 which isn’t really too expensive and it should last you for few years.  

Schools
For schools, this would be a great choice for teachers, but it would likely be best to save the extra money and get a smaller Chromebook like the Acer C740 or the Dells.  If you were going with a 13in Chromebook, there are several other models with 720p screens or the Acer CB5 mentioned above that will save your district money.

Thanks for reading my review and feel free to leave comments on this blog, Google+ (+BenHommerding), Twitter (@bhommerding) or Facebook.  

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