At CES 2014 Toshiba took the wraps off a new Toshiba Chromebook that mostly resembles the specs of the other entries in this third wave of Chromebooks. However, it comes with a 13-inch display, making it the first Chromebook of that size.
Toshiba’s entered this market with mostly the same specs as the models we saw from HP, Acer and Dell. They all run Celeron Haswell processors, 1366×768 resolution 11-inch displays and offer 2GB or 4GB of memory. They also ship with either 8GB or 16GB SSDs. We haven’t seem Samsung’s version of the third-wave of Haswell based Chromebooks, but expect it to follow suit. Until now, only HP offered a 14-inch display, making it unique among all the 11-inch systems.
The first wave of Chromebooks came when Google gave away a prototype to developers a couple of years ago with the CR48 model. Then Acer, Samsung and HP took it to the next level of better hardware, but they were still mediocre machines. Google tried to make a splash with a high-end Chromebook Pixel, but not many wanted a $1,299 web-only computer.
The third wave of Chromebooks finally get interesting thanks to long battery life and improvements to ChromeOS. We really like the HP Chromebook 14 because the 14-inch display makes it unique among the 11-inch models that dominate Chromebooks. Toshiba’s 13-inch model will compete with HP’s Chromebook, but at only 2GB of memory it will feel sluggish to people who open a lot of Chrome tabs.
Specs leaked online before Toshiba announced the computer. Thanks to 9to5 Google we know that the Toshiba Chromebook ships with a 1366×768 resolution 13.3-inch display. There’s no touch, like the Acer C720P, but ChromeOS doesn’t support touch very well yet. At only $279 we don’t expect a high-end display like the Chromebook Pixel’s 2560×1700 resolution or a 13-inch touchscreen, which would likely push the price over the magical $300 mark.
The Toshiba Chromebook offers a chiclet style keyboard with the usual ChromeOS function keys across the top. It runs the same Intel Celeron 2955U Haswell processor we see with other 3rd-wave Chromebooks. That gives us plenty of power for ChromeOS and an estimated 9 hours of battery life. It’s rounded out with a pair of USB 3.0 ports, SD card reader, HDMI out, 802.11n Wi-Fi and a Kensington lock.
Given the larger size and specs, we’d love to see how this Chromebook stacks up next to our current favorite, the HP Chromebook 14. The Toshiba doesn’t come with mobile wireless Internet available on the HP, but it looks like a nice machine that should heat up competition. We’re hoping the ChromeOS market eventually produces some nice hardware.
Keep an eye out for more Chromebook news from the likes of Samsung, Dell and maybe an updated Chromebook Pixel.