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Customer Review

155 of 169 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressively sleek in appearance, fast, with long lasting battery, January 25, 2014
This review is from: Toshiba CB35-A3120 13.3-Inch Chromebook (Personal Computers)
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I purchased a MacBook Pro a few months ago and love the laptop computer. I've been an Apple customer since the inception of Macintosh, owning only one PC in my lifetime. I have never purchased an iPad. The Toshiba Chromebook CB35-A3120 PLM01U-002005 13.3-Inch Cloud Computer is Toshiba's first entry into the Chromebook market, my first Chromebook and it did not disappoint this consumer.

It is about the same dimensions as my MacBook Pro, but thinner and substantially lighter in weight. With a solid state, no hard drive or DVD in this one, it is the one I'll take when traveling. Out of the box, I plugged in the Chromebook, then opened the lid. Immediately, the registration process began and since I'm already a Google customer, it was quick and simple. Setup was faster than fast and within a couple of minutes I was on the web, with access to all my Google contents, even those from my Android. Another few minutes and I was set up to print from my Epson printer which is in another room. Whereas I need to use an Epson app to print from the Android, this prints from the Google Cloud. The Google store offers a lot of apps, many of which are free, and a few which I found desirable and downloaded. With two USB ports, I'm able to carry a USB with me instead of relying on the cloud for everything. With the HDMI, I can hook up to a larger screen if I want. Chromebooks are designed for streaming and internet based operations, and there is no software to install. It's all out there for you to use without taking up space or requiring moving parts in your computer. Microsoft Office doesn't work, but documents can be put into Google Docs, then be converted to an Office document.

The appearance of this Chromebook is very sleek, with an attractive texture to the cover that feels good in the hand. For me, it's an easier, less slippery grip than others I've held onto. Start up is nearly instantaneous with the Chromebook as soon as the lid is lifted up -- I turn it off each time I'm done with it. The battery time is longer than I'd expected, fortunately because although the charge time is fast, the power supply I have gets uncomfortably hot. Because of this, I do not keep it plugged in while charging. My second criticism of this unit is that it makes a disturbing noise on the left side closest to me periodically while operating. At first, I thought the sound was coming from the power supply, but determined it is from the Chromebook after disconnecting the power supply. It's not constant, just annoying when it occurs because it takes over my focus. The keypad is very comfortable for me and I've not stumbled moving between my MacBook Pro and Toshiba Chromebook. The trackpad is a little jumpy, but not as bad as it could be, even after making adjustments through the Settings. The screen presents a terrific image and the speakers also are better than I'd expected at this price. All in all, I can't believe they are selling this Chromebook for 279. I can see why Chromebooks are all that in schools now. It's nice to have an option to lock your Chromebook if you're taking it to a place where it might "walk away" and requiring a sign-in to access the operating system is another plus. I like it and could love the Toshiba Chromebook in time.

UPDATE a few days later: Amazonian Consumer, another customer, provided comments on my review which I think are important. He/she noted things that are posted on the Toshiba website, so I'll address the components. I have used the Bluetooth with no problem at all. The RAM is limited to what's installed and the battery is not user-replaceable. There is a Skype limitation because Chrome OS uses Hangouts instead, and the camera does work fine. The SD card reader works, too, without a problem. I also didn't mention that I like the Velcro cable wrap attached to the power cord, so I don't have to add one. Mine power supply still gets hot, but when the charge is complete, it cools down. Ironically, my Chromebook has stopped making the noises it was initially making. Another observation I've made is that the trackpad seems to occasionally have a mind of its own and it sends things before I'm ready. It's more than being overly sensitive and I'm going to need to work on correcting this.

UPDATE 2/6/14: The audio now continuously goes in and out and the machine sound which I mentioned in my initial review is occurring again, usually when the audio goes out. I have a call in to Toshiba but they aren't trained yet to deal with the Chromebook, so someone will be calling me back "in a day or two." I'm also still experiencing the cursor arbitrarily moving up on the page when I have stopped typing, so I have to be especially careful to assure that what I'm typing is being entered where intended.

UPDATE 2/18/14: The audio problem is even worse and Toshiba never called me or net an email other than a survey on their customer service. It took several of my initiated attempts in phone calls and I'm finally awaiting a box and label which will take another two days to arrive for this Chromebook to be returned to Toshiba for repair. They offered me no option of simply sending a label and letting me return it in the original boxes. Dealing with them has been terrible and one rep had the gall to ask if I'd rate him a 10 on a scale of 1-10 for assistance in a survey.

I'm tempted to reduce my rating of four stars but will hold off until I receive my repaired lemon of a Chromebook which I still love despite its clicking sound, faulty speakers, sticky trackpad and terrible Toshiba telephone customer service.

UPDATE 3/11/14: Received my repaired Chromebook last night (FedEx signature required delivery was only option) and the speakers had been replaced. What a difference! No clicking sound, humming, anything other than the sound of lovely audio through the speakers. The trackpad still isn't the smoothest, but more importantly, it still selects things that I have no intention of selecting. For example, when selecting an email, one above or below opens instead of the one I select. I've also had pages close or disappear for no apparent reason.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 26, 2014 10:02:08 AM PST

Posted on Jan 27, 2014 6:58:57 PM PST
Thanks for your detailed review.

Here are some other details about the Toshiba Chromebook that I got from the Toshiba website.

1. It has built-in Bluetooth 4.0 capability.

2. The 2Gb RAM built-in is the maximum memory allowed. There is no memory expansion slot.

3. The battery is not user-replaceable.

4. The Toshiba Chromebook has TWO USB 3.0 ports.

5. The Toshiba website makes reference (see note below) to Skype as a possible application for the built-in webcam, but this is currently false, as Microsoft has so far not made Skype available on the Chrome OS platform.

Note: "Webcam The built-in webcam on this PC makes it easy to Skype® and chat live with friends and family or videoconference with co-workers. You'll also be able to take and store still pictures."

6. The Toshiba Chromebook has a built-in SD card reader and a HDMI-out port for connection to TV or monitor (that has a HDMI-in port).

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2014 10:19:07 AM PST
zhabazon says:
Happy to provide information that helped.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2014 10:28:38 AM PST
zhabazon says:
Amazonian Consumer, thanks for the additional information. I'm going to update my review to reflect what you've provided and note my additional experiences. Curious as to whether or not you get a Toshiba Chromebook or another.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2014 1:08:52 PM PST
To J.Offenbach,

I am a Chromebook fan, as I like the idea of cloud computing, and I love the 7-second boot to login screen of Chrome OS. Unlike Windows, Chrome OS has not degraded in terms of performance even after more than 2 years of use. I have bought Chromebooks made by Acer, HP, and Samsung. They all function similarly, with differences in screen size, and memory capacity. I will be buying the Toshiba, as it is the only 13.3 inch Chromebook on the market. I have always liked the Macbook Air, but it is just too expensive and unnecessary for my needs.

Posted on Feb 2, 2014 2:47:23 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 2, 2014 2:49:03 PM PST
Yoda says:
How did you determine that the computer is "long lasting," given that you've only had it a few weeks? I'm not criticizing the review, but I'm just puzzled by the statement. Thanks for your time.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2014 2:56:01 PM PST
zhabazon says:
Reference was regarding battery life. It's been lasting for 2 days easily for me.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 4, 2014 3:50:24 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 4, 2014 11:08:54 PM PST
Yoda says:
Thanks. And could you comment a little bit more on the quality of the screen? One major criticism of previous Chromebooks is that they have poor screens (low resolution, dim, inaccurate colors, limited viewing angles). The only Chromebook to have a decent screen is the 11 inch HP. Given that you have a MacBook Pro, a computer I'm using to type this (mid 2012 version), would you please compare the screens? I know both computers are considered to have lower resolution screens, but the Macbook Pro has good colors and brightness. Thanks again.

Posted on Feb 4, 2014 6:54:42 PM PST
DK says:
I'm also interested in the screen. How bright is it, and more importantly, is it matte or glossy?

Posted on Feb 5, 2014 5:22:57 PM PST
GC says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]
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