Review: Toshiba Chromebook 2 Leaps Forward with Affordable Performance

The Chromebook 2 is a viable, do-it-all notebook.

The original Toshiba Chromebook, introduced in 2014, was a well-designed notebook. But the Chromebook 2 — with its slimmer and lighter chassis, beautiful 13-inch 1080p display, Skullcandy-powered speakers and 9-hour battery life — beats the original in just about every way.

In testing, the Chromebook 2 booted up in seven seconds and woke from sleep in less than three. HD videos played clearly, and web pages loaded quickly, thanks to Intel HD Graphics and a 2.58-gigahertz Intel Celeron processor.

The built-in Skullcandy speakers are fantastic. While streaming music for my class, I skipped using the classroom’s sound system altogether — I even had to turn the Chromebook 2 down!

Toshiba says that the Chromebook 2’s three-cell, 44Wh battery can last up to nine hours, but in my testing I got closer to eight — not bad, considering the amount of HD video content I played. Students using the Chromebook 2 to edit documents, conduct research or visit their learning management system will probably get closer to nine hours.

The Chromebook 2 comes configured with 4 gigabytes of DDR3L 1,600- megahertz memory, which, although not user-replaceable, should be adequate for most classroom tasks. I could edit a picture, stream music and update a Google presentation with 10 tabs open, all without a hitch.

As storage goes, 16GB of solid-state flash memory may seem small. But considering Chrome’s emphasis on cloud file storage — and Google’s accompanying offer of 100GB Google Drive storage, free for two years — it should be plenty.

Overall, for the money — and especially for an educational setting — the Chromebook 2 is one impressive machine.

Toshiba Chromebook 2

Dimensions: 8.4x0.8x12.6 inches
Weight: 2.93 pounds
Processor: Intel Celeron N2840 2.16GHz
Memory: 4GB DDR, 1600MHz
Storage: 16GB solid-state flash (eMMC)
Ports: HDMI, USB 2.0 and 3.0
Card Reader: SD, SDHC, SDXC

Oct 05 2015

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