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on February 13, 2014
I bought my first Chromebook (the current Samsung model) last spring, and have since purchased three more (HP 11, Acer C720 4GB (upgraded to 128GB SSD), and a C720 2GB). All of the Chromebooks have performed flawlessly so far, and the regular updates to the Chrome OS has only made them better. This Toshiba is my fifth Chromebook and probably not my last. I've not had any experience with the HP 14, other than looking at it in the store, and I have never seen a Pixel. With the thousands of reviews for all the different Chromebook models here on Amazon I'm not going to get into the details of what Chromebooks can and cannot do. Rather, I would like to focus on how this model stacks up against the other current Chromebook offerings and how it performs with my various peripherals. If you have any question on this Toshiba, Chrome OS, any of the other Chromebook models, or the peripherals I refer to, please feel free to ask. There is a surprising lack of detailed reviews for this machine on the web, so while my review may be long, I wanted to give people as much information as possible.

PACKAGING AND UNBOXING: This may seem like a silly category, but while the Samsung and the HP 11 had excellent packaging, the packaging for the Acers was a bit weak (poorly placed in a thin cloth-like bag and suspended by two lousy paper egg crates on the ends). The Toshiba was nicely packaged. There was a cloth-like bag over the lid which separated the screen from the keyboard, and the whole thing was in a nicely sealed plastic bag. The machine was suspended in the box by 2 plastic spongy foam chunks that fit snugly over the ends. As soon as I flipped the lid up to remove the protective cover the Chromebook started right up. It took less than a minute to enter my Wifi password and language preferences and then it downloaded the latest version of Chrome OS. After restarting I entered my Google account info and the Toshiba downloaded my Chrome environment and began loading my apps and extensions (I have 7 pages worth of apps). While doing the startup, I had also connected the power. The brick isn't all that large, the AC plug is non-polarized, and it has no ground. The overall length from plug to tip is twelve feet (no competition there)! The DC end is straight, and quite large when compared to the downright tiny pin of the Samsung and the small pin of the Acers. I also noticed that the DC plug did not have a real positive snap on the catch (a bit vague) when you pushed it into the port on the computer. As other reviewers have noted, the lid opened nicely and stayed where I set it. I would say the lid has roughly between 130 and 150 degrees of motion. The included literature consisted of a Chrome OS quick-start guide, a Toshiba quick-start guide, and a regulatory information packet. If you are looking for more help simply click on the status area (lower right corner) and then click the question mark. There is also a Get Started guide in the apps.

OVERALL FIT AND FINISH: For a $280 computer I am more than satisfied with the fit and finish of this Chromebook. The exterior and interior are by far the most fingerprint free, really showing no signs of normal day to day handling. Contrast that to the HP 11 which seems to get fingerprinted up the worst. There is very little flex in the body when you lift the Toshiba by the front corner. I would rate the HP 11 first in rigidity followed by the Acer C720, this Toshiba, and lastly the Samsung. Just remember to never lift ANY laptop by the screen/lid. All of the seam edges feel really good on this Chromebook as well. The Acers are probably the worst in this area while the HP 11 is the best, and the Toshiba and Samsung fall comfortably in the middle. Time will tell how durable the finish is, but this usually isn't an issue for me because I really baby my tech. Overall, this is a nicely put together computer. The bottom/back has vent and exhaust slots for the fan to circulate air, but it's not as open as the Acers. The Samsung and HP 11 have no visible vent slots. The HP 11 also has no visible screws holding the case together, though they are there under the colored plastic pieces on the bottom. The Toshiba also uses nice speaker grilles instead of just slots in the bottom. The HP 11 and Samsung can get pretty warm when you're pushing them, while the Acer and Toshiba run much cooler thanks to the fan(as long as you don't obstruct the vents). And before I wrap up this section I would also like to recommend the Amazonbasics 13.3" laptop sleeve. It's well made and fits the Toshiba perfectly. It won't save it from a high fall, but it will protect the computer from scratches and the elements when you transport it.

SCREEN: I have tolerated the screen on my Acer C720, but I have never been completely happy with it. When I fired up the Toshiba I was immediately impressed with the screen. The tone was warm and reminded me of the screen on the Samsung, but with richer colors. The default background image showed really nice reds, yellows, and oranges; colors which don't always look so good on the Acers. The brightness is good, and right on par with all of our Chromebooks. The screen doesn't have the quality or the viewing angles of the HP 11, but again, it isn't nearly as cool in tone as the Acers. When you actually look at them side by side with a field of white on the screen, the Acer looks really blue. Having the same resolution in this larger panel (when compared to the 11.6" models) doesn't really seem to be an issue at all. I don't feel like I'm looking through a screen door or anything as some people would have you believe is the case. I'm generally not a fan of glossy panels, but it really works in this case. I would rate the screen a respectable second to the HP 11 and I am quite pleased with it (both in image and size) so far. Using the single color backgrounds I did a sort of quasi pixel test and found no problems. The only bad pixel we have on any of the Chromebooks is on my C720 and it isn't really a black spot or a stuck color as much as just the look of a tiny smudge on the screen (and I never really notice it in normal use). All of the LCD panels I have ever owned look better after being "burned in" so I would imagine the Toshiba panel should get a little better as I use it. The lid/housing itself is solid enough (not as flimsy as the HP 11 feels) but I would recommend, as with any laptop, that you manipulate it from the center or simultaneously from both corners.

KEYBOARD AND TOUCHPAD: The keyboard definitely has a different feel to it when compared to the other Chromebooks. The HP 11 has the best keyboard of the bunch by a wide margin. The Samsung takes second, followed by the Acers and this Toshiba, however, it wouldn't surprise me if the Toshiba knocked the Acer down a peg as I get used to it. As other reviewers have mentioned, the keyboard is a (tiny) bit stiff. I would imagine that I'll adjust to it (which I am even as I type this review), but it just doesn't seem to have the snap of the other machines. The Toshiba keyboard is nice and quiet, however, if that is a consideration for you (especially compared to the Acers, which can be quite noisy). I like the texture of the Toshiba's touchpad and it has been responding well for me. It has a visible pattern on it that offers just the right amount of resistance under your fingers. It has a similar feel to the HP 11, but isn't as sensitive. The HP 11 is the most sensitive touchpad of all the Chromebooks and it works better for me when it's set to one click below the maximum speed. I would rate the touchpad of the Toshiba as my favorite. I definitely like it better than the pad on the Acer that I use daily due to the surface texture and the larger size. Don't be too quick to judge any Chromebook's touchpad performance. Especially if you are coming from a different Chromebook or if you have a lot of Chrome apps. When my Toshiba was synchronizing to my Google account it was having an affect on the movement of the cursor (remember my 7 pages of apps). This was in no way the fault of the pad, but rather a result of all the apps being downloaded and installed. Once the sync was complete everything smoothed up.

PERFORMANCE: I've done everything with this Chromebook that I've done with all of our Chromebooks and it is seems just as quick as my 4GB C720. To be honest, I never really noticed a difference in performance between the 2GB and 4GB Acers in day to day use, so I wasn't surprised with how well this machine runs. From being shut down to displaying the logon screen takes the Haswells maybe 5 seconds max, and from sleep to logon is about as fast as you can open the lid. Web pages load quickly and scroll very smoothly. Using the example of Facebook, on the Haswells the page loads quickly and the scrolling smooths out quickly as well, the HP 11 and Samsung take longer to load and the page doesn't scroll as smoothly. The Haswell machines are excellent performers when compared to the ARM machines like the Samsung and HP 11 which get the job done, but are definitely in need of a performance upgrade (which I believe is right around the corner). You should notice improvement as pages you visit are cached, and performance may also improve as the system gets broken in. I added a 128GB SSD to my C720 4GB which works great, and I'm hoping to do the same with this Toshiba. I just want to wait until I can find more information about the internals. If it uses the same type SSD drive as the Acers it would be a worthy and likely simple upgrade (though it would void my warranty).

PORTS: Both USB 3 ports seem to be functioning just fine, although they fit a bit tighter than the ports on the other Chromebooks. I tested them with my Logitech mouse, a 32GB flash drive, and several portable HDDs (as well as a few other devices I'll mention later). Connecting my Android phone charged it, but I couldn't browse it or transfer any files. The biggest surprise came when I went to plug in an SD card; it went in ALL THE WAY! For the Chromebooks with an SD card slot it is nice to be able to add a large amount of local storage for a small amount of money. The biggest problem was that the slot on the Samsung and the Acer (no slot on HP 11) do not allow the card to seat fully into the machine. And having to dismount and remove your card every time you wanted to case your computer can be a real annoyance. The SD card slot is also spring loaded. Thank you Toshiba for this simple pleasure. I will never understand why I can get an SD card all the way into my tiny digital camera, but not into my 17" HP laptop or any of my other Chromebooks. I also connected the Toshiba to my TV via HDMI and it worked as well as my C720.

SPEAKERS, HEADPHONE/MIC JACK AND WEBCAM: As other reviewers have mentioned issues with the sound I have been running a constant stream of music off of Google Play Music or playing sound from videos for the entire time I have been using this computer. I am happy to report that I have not had any issues as of yet. I have never had sound issues with any of our Chromebooks that I can report either. The speakers are located on the bottom in the front and they can play pretty loud. The HP 11 speakers may edge out the other Chromebooks simply because they fire up through the keyboard, but I am always using my computer on a table or lap desk (and with headphones or earbuds more often than not) so muffled sound isn't an issue for me. The sound through the headphone jack is really good as well. I have never used a headset/mic with any of the Chromebooks so I really couldn't comment on how well that works. I used the webcam to make a Hangouts call to my brother and it worked. If you do a lot of video calls on Hangouts or you like to play with a webcam I would suggest getting a better one. According to the help files, Chrome OS can support USB webcams (just not the software they come with). I would suggest some research before purchasing a webcam to see if it's compatible.

PRINTING: Because I have had my other Chromebooks connected to my Canon cloud printer I was able to print without doing any additional setup. If you don't have a cloud ready printer it is still really easy to connect a Chromebook to a printer using a the Chrome web browser and a PC or Mac as as a host. It took me all of 5 minutes to set mine up that way with my old printer. With the cost of ink, I tend to print a lot less now days. I actually prefer to "print" things as a PDF file. I have 115 gigs of storage on my cloud drive so I may as well use it.

CHARGING AND BATTERY LIFE: I mentioned the Toshiba charger in an earlier section, but I also wanted to elaborate on the differences in how the Chromebooks charge and how they drain. Like I said earlier, the cords and brick for this Toshiba add up to a total length of 12 feet! That's nice if you don't travel a lot with your Chromebook, but it's a problem if you have to carry that mess around with you. On the positive side, the charger includes a velcro strap that has more than enough length to wrap the cords into a manageable bundle. The cords on the Acer add up to 9 feet. The micro USB charger that comes with the HP 11 is the shortest (6 feet) and most compact of the bunch (the transformer is only 1.5 x 1.5 x 1), but it is a lot easier to carry around. Still, the convenience that everyone talks about in being able to charge your Chromebook with the ever so common micro USB chargers we all have is grossly overrated. The HP 11 takes far longer to fully charge than any of our other Chromebooks (around 3 to 4 hours give or take), and it seems to drain the fastest as well. If you try to charge it with a typical phone charger it will take around 8 hours to complete a full charge. The real icing on the cake though, is that unless you are charging it with the Google charger it will not charge while you are using it. It won't drain as slow, but it will not charge. All of the other Chromebooks we have with their big old bricks fully charge in around 2 hours (I just charged the Toshiba from 3% to full in 1:40). I generally run the Chromebooks at about 70 percent brightness; sometimes lower if the room is darker. With that in mind, I have found the HP 11 to have the shortest battery life (probably due to the display looking so good when you turn it up). The second shortest time on battery would be the Samsung. As far as I can tell, the Acers and the Toshiba seem to have pretty much the same battery life, with a possible edge going to the Toshiba. If you want a machine that will run all day I would recommend the Acers or the Toshiba. I am not going to state time in hours because there are just too many variables which influence battery life. My ratings are based on using the Chromebooks the way I use them, and observing the typical battery life. If you really want to hypermile the battery on a Chromebook you need to turn down the brightness and ditch the streaming. I have gotten over 10 hours off of Toshiba when I dimmed the display and didn't stream video.

WIFI, BLUETOOTH, AND CHROMECAST: The wifi on all our Chromebooks works really well. We dumped cable a few years ago, so we rely on over-the-air television, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, and other websites/streaming services for our entertainment and they all work well on all the Chromebooks (though they work better and faster on the Toshiba and the Acers). I have a 50 meg internet profile with Time Warner because 30 just wasn't enough. The only machine I have issue with on rare occasions is my C720 (it will drop and start searching for connection). I have used the Chromebooks on public wifi as well, and have never failed to connect. The Toshiba bluetooth works good with my Bose Soundlink Mini, and my son uses his Samsung Bluetooth with a Jawbone Mini Jambox. The only other bluetooth device I used was an old mouse. It worked good, but I picked up a Logitech mouse to replace it. Because we don't have cable, I sometimes cast (to a Google Chromecast) CBS shows that I've missed. Casting a browser window works okay, but you need a strong wifi connection. Tab casting is still in beta and can be hit or miss. I have had better luck casting apps that the Chromecast supports because most of those apps will go online and fetch the content you select. This is the case with Netflix, Hulu Plus, and YouTube as far as I can tell. Mostly though, I cast music from Google Play Music to my home theater system. Even that works better with my Android phone than it does with the Chromebook. The Chromecast device and casting to it have gotten better since it was put on the market, but it still has a ways to go in my opinion. The best option to get content from the Toshiba, Acers, or Samsung to your television is via HDMI. You can connect the HP 11 with an HDMI cable but you will also need a SlimPort adapter, and those adapters plug into the Micro USB charge slot, so you can't charge while you're connected.

PERIPHERALS: All of the peripheral devices I discuss in this section have been used on all of our Chromebooks and I have tested them all on the new Toshiba (they all work quite well on it). If you have the need or the desire to run your Chromebook with a wired ethernet connection you need only purchase a USB ethernet adapter. I have a $15 Plugable brand USB 2 ethernet adapter that I've used on occasion(wifi issues with ATT 2Wire modem). It plugs right in and has worked well for me (and it's a lot bigger than the pictures on Amazon would lead you to believe). I have a couple older WD Passport HDDs and a 2TB WD Elements HDD that I connect from time to time and they all work fine (though I would like to see improvements to the Chrome OS file browser). I've used all sorts of SD cards, USB drives, and even a USB card reader too. If you have a newer digital camera (I have a Canon 330 Elph and a Nikon P7100) you can connect it to the Chromebook to download your photos using the Google Plus photos app. It can be set to start automatically when it detects the camera and you can have it put your photos in the cloud. I should also note that when I take pictures with my Android phone the photos are automatically put in the cloud and will show up on the Chromebook like a minute after you take them. I think if you have an iPhone you can achieve the same results by installing the Google photo app or the google drive app(I am totally off Apple so I can't say for sure). If your camera is not recognized you can always use the SD card slot or a USB card reader for other types of cards. The peripherals I use the most, thought, with the Chromebooks are my DACs (Digital to Analog Converters). Chromebooks, along with Google Play Music or any of the music services (Spotify, Pandora, iHeart, etc.) work great for streaming music. However, if you want to power some quality headphones or even some good earbuds and improve the sound of your music, you need a better DAC than what's onboard. I have two NuForce DACs that I use with the Chromebooks. Both units connect to a USB port, take the digital audio stream, convert it to analog, and amplify the sound. The first one is a Nuforce Icon uDAC 3. It's a more portable unit that uses the USB power operate. It works good with quality earbuds and efficient headphones. All you have to do is plug it into a USB port on the Chromebook and it is automatically selected as the default audio device. The second DAC is a Nuforce Icon DAC. This one is a larger unit that needs to be plugged in, but is has even better sound than the little uDAC and a lot more power. You can also use the DACs as a pre-amplifier when connecting to a receiver or a set of powered desktop speakers. I use mine with my Logitech Z2300 2.1 speaker system and the sound is phenomenal.

So that's my review. If you made it this far, I thank you. And, I hope I've helped you in your research. If you're really anti-Chromebook, just remember that the more these devices are purchased and used by consumers, the better your Windows or Apple OS machines should get. I will be sure to update this review if something happens to come up with the Toshiba; good or bad. And again, if you have any questions or comments please post them as I would be happy to chat.

UPDATE 2-20-2014: The Toshiba has won me over big-time, and my son is loving his hand-me-down Acer C720. I was a bit disappointed this week when I learned that the SSD was soldered onto the motherboard, rendering it pretty much non-replaceable. I can also confirm that while the motherboard does have 2 available "slots" for adding memory, it would also have to be soldered in. Still, I did receive my Transcend 64GB SDXC memory card and it really works great. No problems playing back 1080p video files from the card and I can leave it in the slot since it doesn't stick out like it would have done in my Acer. Since I started using the Toshiba I have never said to myself, "boy, I wish this or that was as good as my Acer", so any worries about any aspect of the performance are gone. I really appreciate the extra real estate the screen provides, and the picture seems to be settling in nicely now that it has a lot more hours on it. I have now adjusted to the keyboard, and I would rank it a solid second to the HP 11. When I went back and tried the keyboard on the Acer it felt rather cramped to me, which is funny because when I first got the Toshiba it felt really big. So hey, don't judge the keyboard until you give it a bit of time. The battery life is awesome, and it charges in under 2 hours. Luckily, I haven't had any sound issues like a couple reviewers have reported, and I'm glad because I like the Toshiba's sound quality. The high frequencies are much more present than in the Acer, and even though the speakers point to the bottom, the sound feels like its radiating up through the keyboard like the HP 11. I have also been happy with how well the Bluetooth works with my Soundlink Mini. The webcam is pretty bad in all but the best light, so I've ordered a Logitech C525 webcam to see how it works. I will update when I test the webcam in case anyone is interested.

WEBCAM UPDATE 2-21-2014: So, I got the Logitech C525 webcam today and I ran it on the Toshiba. The quality of the picture is GREATLY IMPROVED over the built-in unit. With the Webcam Toy app I had to choose the new camera in the Flash Player app that asks you to authorize the camera when you first launch it. With hangouts, I had to go into the settings and choose the Logitech as the default device. It was easy to find. If you do a lot of video calling or recording I would highly recommend a small investment in a better webcam. It's also nice because you can point it around the room without having to move the computer. If anyone can recommend a good recording app in the Chrome Web Store I would appreciate that as well.

CHROME OS UPDATE: With the latest version of Chrome OS being installed on my Chromebooks (version 33), I notice that when I connect my Android phone the Google+ Photo app will launch and ask me if I would like to upload my pictures. For me, this is redundant as every picture I take with my phone is backed up into my Cloud already, but for some this would be a nice added feature of Chrome OS. However, I am still not able to browse the files and do transfers between my phone and the Chromebook.
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on November 17, 2015
I lied. This is all I need 95% of the time. See if the 5% I can't do applies to you.

This review is divided in 2 parts: this Chromebook and Chrome OS which is the operating system this machine runs on. I wrote mostly about Chrome OS because Chromebooks are simple machines, because they don't need to be more. So they are usually fast realiable and cheap.

who needs windows or mac? everything is on the cloud and mostly for free.

Need Word? Google Docs is all I need. Keep single copies of documents and colaborate, add and edit in your smartphone or any computer. Accidentally deleted a piece of important data months ago? go back in history and get it back. Yes, you can do this in Word too but you'll have to set it up (Windows or OSx) and you'll probably go through the trouble of doing it once it has been already too late.

Need Excel? Google spreadsheet works great for me. Many great add ons are available as well as sample spreadsheets by a other users, plus this can sync with many other web apps (more than you can think of). Check out Zappier for example.

Need Powerpoint or keynote? google presentation webapp is not as nice as powerpoint or keynote but there are great webapps like Prezi and Slidebean which will awe your audience.

Docs and spreadsheets work offline. Any file can be kept offline. If you want to.

Need Skype? Use Google hangouts. More and more people are using it + many times calls to landlines are free or cheaper than on Skype. Really need to keep using skype? have it on your smartphone or install Linux on your Chromebook. Then you can download skype for linux. I did it just for the fun of it, to see if it could be done. I didn't know what I was doing just following one of the many guides available on internet and it all came fine (google crouton)

Need Outlook? Trust me. You don't. Anything outlook does, Google does better + you can sync across webapps and taskmanagers if you want to. Try Asana or Trello (I use Trello). You are just OCD. I bought a chromebook for one of my sales rep. I allowed him to keep his windows machine because "he really needed outlook". After a few months he stopped using outlook. You can set offline access to gmail. You can use Zapier to trigger actions on almost any other webapp when something particular happens with your mail.

Need to save files? Use google drive. Google docs/apps documents don't count towards storage, neither do pictures and videos backed up from your phone into google photos (unless you choose to have huge resolution).

Need to search files? Was that an attachment or did I save it to my drive? its the same. when you search gmail or drive will look for both.

Need databases? Try making database safe and accessible and easy to use through internet, for multiple users, colleagues and costumers and you'll find yourself stuck with MS Access or hiring somebody for the real deal Oracle or similar thing. An average user can make a database on Knack and accomplish all this.

Need accounting software? There are incredible web apps + professional assistance out there. Try Freshbooks but there are many others.

Need 3D CAD? I'm using OnShape webapp now. It is also fully usable on a tablet plus you can really work together with other designers. Previously used 3DS' Cubify and had quite enough experience with Autodesk Inventor. I miss none of them.

Need to slice models for 3d printing? try Astroprint

Need to do picture editing? I wont even go into this. Plenty of web apps

Need to surf the internet safely? this is the safest device out there. Way better than a Mac or anything. Google it.

Hate PC maintenance, paying for it or having to renew your equipment? this needs nothing. If anything, with its automated updates, it is faster every time. Even if something happens, you can just user the powerwash function and everything is back to normal in 2 minutes. Try that with a windows or mac. In the event you brake it, everything is on the cloud. In the meantime switch to another computer and keep doing the same on chrome web browser. When you get your new Chromebook, log in and everything is placed and setup just as you left it. It gives me peace
of mind knowing I wont have to deal ever again with computer technicians because this chromebooks are so cheap if something ever happens to this one I will just get a new, probably for less than it would cost me to repair a Windows or Mac. I wouldn't just get a new one it it cost $800 to have a decent new computer.

I really can't wrap my head around why more people are not using chromebooks

What keeps me from using my chromebook 100% of the time?
5% of the time is CAM work which I do in a windows computer. The same I run my CNC mill with.

Who else wont be able to work on this 100% of time? if you work with computer animated graphics this wont work for you.

Previously I bought the Acer C720 for my mum. Speedwise and on reliability they are the same. I later bought this Toshiba for me and another one for on of my sales rep. I wanted a bigger screen and I am happy with the size and quality for every day use. It is not very rigid, however, I am careless and still is holding up great. It has lost a couple of screws though but nothing that affects aesthetics or functionality. The webcam often crashes though, which didn't happen with my mum's but I never use it so I don't care. Battery life is great. I charge it by night, use it wireless the whole day at the office and later a couple of hours doing my stuff at night. After almost two years of daily use it still holds charge for 8-10 hours.
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on March 31, 2014
I've had this Tosh Chromebook for nearly a month now, and I'm rather impressed, since is this is my first entry into the chrome experience. The learning curve was easier than expected. To get the full benefits, your best served being connected to the internet. There are several apps available to keep you amused and/or productive off the net, but a net connection is the norm, not the exception. Battery life greatly exceeded my exceptions as well. Using it for work while on site I get through the whole day with power to spare back at the hotel, and the recharge time is fast enough for me, typically a few hours from a near zero state. The keyboard is just the right size for my hands, the touch pad is very responsive and very user friendly. Surf the web page, double finger it from right to left and you've backed up a page. I studied the keystroke short cuts, and they're rather easy to use, let alone remember. I've really been enjoying the 13" screen size, so watching Netflix and Amazon Prime is a pleasure, and yes I'm watching Prime which I couldn't do on my Android tablet. The speakers are good for a laptop device, but be warned they're on the bottom so your legs will muffle the sound a bit. When watching videos or listening to music, I usually connect my Bluetooth speaker or plug in my senn's ear-buds. I'm also impressed by the weight for a laptop this size, the build quality feels very solid with minimal flex.

My last thought for anyone thinking about a chromebook, if you're wanting to replace a laptop or desktop using this as your sole device, I wouldn't, but you can get apps that let you remote to a desktop at home or work. Sharing files between them is as easy as sharing them out to Google Drive, Dropbox and even your Amazon Cloud.
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on May 18, 2014
I sat on the fence for a few months considering whether or not I should buy a Chromebook. Then once I made the decision to buy a Chromebook I had to figure out which Chromebook I would buy. For the longest time, I was 99% sure I was going to buy the HP11. But, at the last minute, I was spooked by all the charging issues (some as recently posted as the last several weeks). I wasn't satisfied that the charging issues had been resolved so I went with the Toshiba Chromebook.

I ordered my Toshiba Chromebook last Sunday. Amazon had it to my door (regular shipping) by EOB this past Friday. After I cashed in some Amex points I ended up spending about $250 even on this machine. I just finally got around to opening the box now and powering it up. Here are my thoughts as I type this review on it now:

1) The packaging was satisfactory all around.

2) This machine does NOT feel cheap. I'm amazed at how various people on here have complained about it being cheap plastic. Now that I have the machine in my hands I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with that. It looks and feels slick. The operative word you're looking for with describing how this feels is LIGHT. It's very light. I have an Asus netbook (10.1") in the house and it weighs in at 2.8 pounds. This Toshiba (with the 3" larger screen) is only a 1/2 pound heavier and that difference is not noticeable. You can one hand this thing very easily.

3) Speaking of the screen. Very nice. No complaints.

4) FAST. Upon initial set-up Chrome had to do an update that took 2-3 minutes. I changed the clock to my time zone and signed into my Google account and Wi-Fi. We're talking 5 minutes tops to get rolling. Now, when I power the machine completely off and turn it back on it literally loads to the Google page in mere seconds. That is NOT an exaggeration.

5) The sound is a nice surprise. Blows my Asus netbook away on that.

6) The USB and SD ports are nice. I don't believe all Chromebooks have those and so that was one factor (among many) as to why I chose this Toshiba.

7) Web surfing is what you'd expect from Chrome. FAST. I've been a Chrome user for years. And, if you're already sold out to the Google world (with your stuff like bookmarks, extensions, etc synced up) you'll notice that everything shows up once you sign into your Google account on this Chromebook. Sure beats having to import stuff manually. Playing You Tube videos... no stuttering. Perfect. Can't say the same for my Asus netbook.

8) Google Docs work as advertised. Not really sure I'll ever be creating a document/spreadsheet on this machine but it's nice to know I can if I want to. I bought this machine with the sole reason of it just being a net surfing machine. It's one of many computers that we have in our house - our workhorse computers are our 2 desktop PCs. This Chromebook is basically just a $250 toy to surf the net with and catch up on the latest news and email.

9) Minimalist and low-maintenance. I'm a low maintenance type of guy. It seems like several times/year Microsoft seems to have some kind of issue with their software. And, don't even get me started on Windows updates. I hate hate hate them. They take forever to install and then they demand you restart your computer afterward (generally at the most inopportune time for the user). It nags the user to death until they restart the computer. Anti-virus protection? Don't need with the Chromebook. Another less thing to worry about. You just want to surf the net without being hassled?.... this machine is for you.

10) Be not afraid to learn a few new things and think outside of the box. For example, I wanted to change my desktop background on my Chromebook. One Google search and I had my desktop background changed just like that. I put in my SD card and wasn't sure what to do next as nothing immediately popped up after that. Again, a quick Google search showed me that I just had to press Alt + Shift + M. So, there's no delete key. Do you have a delete key on your smartphone? I don't. It's called use your cursor keys and then hit the backspace key.

The thing is... every computer and every piece of software has its quirks. A year and a half ago my Mom got a laptop with Windows 8 on it. I had never seen Windows 8 before and she's not extremely tech-savvy and so I wanted to help her learn a few things about Windows 8. I had to learn it myself first! There were some things to experiment around with and learn. It's no different with this Chromebook. Or your smart phone. You'll learn as you go. If you don't like learning new things... I recommend you keep your Sony walkman and stay far away from modern technology. The world changes every day my friends! Live and learn and don't be intimidated by new things!

And for the final time I'm going to put the last nail in the coffin of this argument (that Microsoft probably started). Yes, you need Wi-Fi to do most things on a Chromebook. How is that some freak of nature? You know, last Fall I went camping with my Asus netbook (has Windows 7 on it). I was looking for some Wi-Fi and thankfully found it. Now, what if I had not been able to find Wi-Fi? What advantages would I have had using that machine over this Chromebook? Well, I guess I could've done up a random Excel spreadsheet. I could've played around with the calculator. Let's just get to the point... I wanted to be on the net with that machine! I don't care what it could do without the net. Isn't what most people use a laptop / netbook for these days - surfing the net? So, the argument is silly. 99% of the time I'll be using this Chromebook in my house on my own Wi-Fi network. And if you don't have Wi-Fi then guess what... McDonald's, Starbucks, Panera and countless other establishments have Wi-Fi. I'd be willing to bet that for most of you one of those establishments is within 10 minutes of your house.

The Chromebook is to be used as a secondary computer. In my house, we have 2 desktop PCs, a Kindle Fire, an iPod Touch, a netbook, a smart phone and now this Chromebook. We have many ways to access the net. The Chromebook is not expected to do the heavy lifting. That's what the desktops are for. If you're buying a Chromebook to do major time consuming and comprehensive tasks then you should maybe re-think that.

But, I'm getting tired of seeing reviewers on here say well my Chromebook can't do this or that. Did you do any research on it before you bought it? I did... for a few months. I got what I expected. So, it doesn't have Skype. Do you complain about your iPhone won't support some software too? If Skype is a deal breaker for you then don't buy a Chromebook! But I would submit to you that Skype isn't the only communication software out there. Adapt... or buy something that you find more suitable but don't bash the product because you didn't do your homework in the first place.

One final note... I found a very tiny imperfection on the left side hinge on this Chromebook. As the OCD freak that I am it just figures that something like this would happen to me of all people! But you know what, it's not a deal-breaker for me (I'll let it be a reminder to me that my world doesn't have to be 100% perfect) and it has no bearing on the performance of the machine either. You'll be glad to know your machine is 99.9% likely to not come with that 'feature'. :) I'm giving this machine 5 stars all around and to be truthful I would give it 6 if I could.

EDIT: 2 more quick things:

1) The battery charges fairly quickly. I think the machine came about 20% charged out of the box. And, as I was using it, it charged to 100% somewhere between 35-45 minutes. The charger block does get a little warm. So, be mindful of that. It's not a positive or negative. It's just a fact.

2) The keyboard is great too! Nothing bad to say about it!
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on September 21, 2014
I've been using this for months now. The screen color (which apparently cannot be calibrated) is not great (compared to my MacBook Pro's and my 27" iMac) and it gives off a screen-door effect at times, but other than that it's actually quite good for what it is and the bootup time is so fast I find myself using it way more than I thought I would.

The actual build quality isn't what I'm used to, but It is super lightweight, about 1/3 the weight of my MacBook Pro's, which is nice. It runs surprisingly cool, the fan is extremely quiet, the speakers are much better than I had anticipated for such a cheap laptop and I've had ZERO problems with it.

This is my first Chromebook and I have to say it's nice to not have to worry about updates, firewall settings, anti-virus software, etc. It really is maintenance free computing.

Since I use Google Apps for most stuff I find myself using this little Chromebook more than my MacBook Pro.

I've now had this chromebook for about 10 months and I've finally run into a problem. The touchpad has pretty much stopped working. In order for me to use the left side of the touchpad I have to push very hard to get the "click" to work which makes highlighting text extremely difficult if not impossible because it only works some of the time regardless of how hard I push to click.

The chromebook has been used a lot, actually more than my macbook pro but not enough that I could have worn out the trackpad in about 10 months time. The quality of the trackpad was never great, but it should have lasted longer than 10 months and this is something Toshiba is going to need to address.

Other than the issue with the trackpad it's still a great product for the money, but the trackpad issue is a major one that pretty much makes the Toshiba Chromebook useless...who wants to have to use a mouse on their laptop?
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on July 13, 2014
I bought this little gem about a month ago, and I couldn't be happier! It was an excellent purchase.

First, a little bit about me. I have been following Chromebooks since the beginning. (I almost received a CR-48 prototype, but that's another story.) I knew about ChomeOS: what it could do, what it couldn't do. I knew what I was getting into.

A couple months ago, I considered buying the Samsung Chromebook, but decided to wait for newer offerings. Then came Acer's C720, HP's Chromebook 14 and 11, and finally, the Toshiba Chromebook. Two months ago, I bit the bullet. I've loved every moment since.

If you're looking into a Chromebook, you probably already have an idea of what they are and what they can do. I'll spare the details that you can easily find in any one of hundreds of Chromebook/ChromeOS reviews. Instead, I'd like to focus on just a few small points specific to the Toshiba Chromebook, regarding things that might not be listed in every review.


- Build Quality: Yeah, it's only $279, but it feels really good. The textured top isn't as weird as it looks, and provides a nice grip. The rest of the body is plastic, but I haven't experienced any creaks. Sure, I could warp the lid if I wanted to, and I do make sure to open and close the laptop from the middle to avoid bending the plastic, but it's not bad enough to worry about with normal usage.

The closest thing to a "drawback" in the build quality came in the form of an odd clicking sound that use to occur whenever I opened the Chromebook. It wasn't immediately present, but popped up about a week into use. It's hard to explain, but when I opened the Chromebook, the right hinge would make a very small click. Closing the lid and reopening wouldn't reproduce the problem; it's almost as if the source of the pop had to "reset" for a while before occurring again. Needless to say, it worked itself out, and I haven't heard the click since it went away around 2 weeks later.

- Keyboard: As any Chromebook review will tell you, the keyboard is a pleasure to use. Very firm; no give. Took a day or two to get used to the exact location of keys. After that, it felt excellent and there's no need to look down while you're typing. The shortcut row up top is great! I mostly use the brightness and volume controls, but the others seem like they would be useful if I ever had the need.

- Trackpad: When I first used the Chromebook out of the packaging, the trackpad felt "sticky." My finger would slip across the surface. It was a bit annoying, and was one of my only complaints. However, after a couple of days of use, it broke in (perhaps the oils on my fingers) and now it works like a charm!

- Ports: The proprietary charging port and cable work as expected, and the charging light is a nice touch. I haven't had a chance to use the USB 3.0 and HDMI ports much, but knowing that they're there when I need them is comforting.

- Display: For all the complaints I've heard about the screen quality on pretty much any Chromebook to date (save for the Pixel and HP 11), the Toshiba's display has suited me fine. I do watch the occasional Netflix, and it's as good as I need. I guess I'm no computer display connoisseur--I can't tell you how deep the blacks look, or how true the colors are--but the display gets plenty bright and the viewing angles are fine for me.

- Battery Life: So far? Excellent! I typically get 6-9 hours of use out of this puppy depending on what I'm using it for. Definitely a full day's worth.


Final Verdict:

If you know what ChromeOS is and think it'll work for you, the Toshiba Chromebook is a great buy! Of course, there are a lot of Chromebooks on the market now (with several more heading to stores later this year), but consider the strong points of each model and buy one. You won't be disappointed!
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on August 21, 2014
I've been a Windows user forever and I decided about 4 years ago not to spend more than $500 on a laptop because they get outdated so quickly. Than when they break in 2 years I won't care. So I was looking for either a sub $400 windows 8 laptop or a chromebook. I realized with my last computer that I really only use it for internet browsing. Personally I have a work laptop (17" portable workstation weighing almost 10 lbs) that I could use if I really needed a real windows device I could. So after much deliberation and checking them out at BestBut I went for the toshiba chromebook. It was either the HP 14 or the Toshiba 13.3. I decided to go with the Toshiba and after a few weeks I can say for sure that I will probably never buy a Windows device for personal use again. The deciding factor for me was the $400 windows device is the bottom of the barrel of Windows and though it does more, it would probably die in a year. While the chromebook at under $300 was the best of it's class. Even through it has similer (or slightly worse) specs than the $400 windows device, because the chrome os is so light it surfs the web a ton faster.
Absurdly light and small, easy to travel with
Battery lasts at least 8 hours
Turns on and off in a few seconds
Keyboard has a really nice feel
A little flimsy. I chose the Toshiba over the HP because I thought it would be similar to a Toshiba Satellite which is really sturdy and nice. This is not as sturdy as the Satellite
I don't like the touchpad. When I tap it to 'click' it doesn't give me feedback that I like. This is the same as a Satellite, but I was used to a touchpad that didn't have the buttons on it (but below it instead).
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on November 11, 2014
I purchased this product and the screen stopped working within 6 months. The customer service at Toshiba is beyond terrible. The representative was nice but it took twenty minutes of automated service to reach him. Once I did, I discovered that the warranty involves me sending my computer by mail to Toshiba's repair center. This process, shipping time not included, will take 7 to 10 days. If they determine I damaged the computer somehow, or if it was damaged in shipping, I assume all costs associated with shipping and repairs. To sum it up: faulty product; nice customer service representative, but poor policies with regards to customer service; remarkably inconvenient repair/replacement policy. I really encourage anyone considering purchasing a product from Toshiba spend a little time to read their warranty policies: [...]
They are warranties in theory, but the fine print makes them incredibly inconvenient.
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on April 26, 2015
I've used this Chromebook for over two years, and put it through every situation possible. Overall, great value and great hardware. The strength is in the value, and the crazy long battery life. That said, a Chromebook is not for everyone.

- Value. If you're looking for a casual computer to surf the web, check email, etc., you will not find better value with better capabilities.
- Battery life. Has more battery life than many high end laptops. I have never had an issue with charge speed or with battery life. IMO, one of the biggest reasons to get the chromebook. Consistently over 7 hours per charge (and super fast recharge).
- Sturdy. I have never had any problems with hardware, or with software crashes/bugs.
- Reliable. While some have expressed concern over the online/offline modes, I have never had any issues with either version, and am able to work on my files consistently and quickly.
- Capable. When asked to do basic tasks, like check email, write some copy, or netflix binge, this little workhorse goes above and beyond. If you're willing to work within Chrome's capabilities, it's a great machine, and the value is even better.

- Limited Capabilities. I used this Chromebook almost exclusively for an entire calendar year, and this does have limited computing power, but not in the traditional sense. For example, I currently have well over ten tabs open with no issues. However, I work with fairly large excel documents for work, and working on them on the chromebook was impossible, and I ended up having to borrow a Mac from work to be productive. So if you're dealing with larger files, a Chromebook probably won't be able to help you out.
- Bulky File Conversion. There are so many aspects to this, I need to break them down.
1. Sending/Editing Word Docs. If you're dealing with a lot of different types of files for work, one of the most frustrating things I consistently faced was file formatting/sending/converting. Google docs makes looking at and editing the documents easy, but sending/receiving from non-chromebook users is a colossal pain. IF your coworkers are working with MS Suite, there will be a constant file format shuffle that will become increasingly maddening and normally results in you working in one format, saving in both MS format (to send to your coworkers) and Gdocs format and then a constant duplication of one document. Also, minor format looks can change in the conversion process, so anything layout wise is a crap shoot.
2. Zip files. Chrome has no easy unzip feature, meaning you have to have give a random third party access to your Drive. As someone who has security data concerns, this sucks. This seems like it should be a built in feature.
3. CSV files. This was the most maddening part to me. Converting a CSV file (one of THE MOST COMMON formats) is not a standard feature on Chrome. You have to shuffle files, and add another third party converter. This was the ultimate "Come on man" for my Chromebook.
4. Printing. I still haven't fully figured out how to print on my work printer. I usually just save a pdf, email it to myself, open the pdf on another computer, and print it. In a fast paced office setting, you can only imagine how annoying this becomes for printing every single file.

Overall, the hardware Toshiba built around the Chromebook has amazing value, and is a good buy.

The shortcomings overall rear their ugly head when it comes to the Chrome OS. If you're just checking your facebook, getting on netflix and writing some simple copy for uploading, you're in great shape with Toshiba's Chromebook.

If you're sure you're getting a Chromebook, Toshiba built great hardware for the system. If you're unsure about getting a Chromebook, you should really think about your purchase. The file capabilities are extremely limited and bulky, and if you're planning on doing any file-heavy work done, it can be a colossal pain. I ended up just using another computer for work/documents. This was fine, but you should be warned that in the Chrome OS's current capabilities, this might end up happening.

Verdict: For Chrome OS, this is a great buy- BUT be sure you're ready for the cons of the OS itself.

The good news is they're cheap, so even after all of this I am very happy with my purchase with no buyer's remorse.
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on April 10, 2014
I am a graduate student, and as such I require something that is powerful, functional, and portable. I do not require advanced programs (AutoCad or Stata), as my needs mostly evolve around Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. I have a 2011 MacBook Pro, and I will continue to buy Mac for all my personal needs. However, I also commute via the Metro and needed something that wouldn't set me back should it be broken, stolen, or lost.

1) Instant setup
2) Integration with server-based applications is (so far) flawless
3) Google Docs has significantly improved their options and usability
4) I am already used to browser-based applications, so the usage makes sense
5) The computer is incredibly lightweight (3.3 lbs), thus offering incredible portability
6) The sound is fantastic (for what it is)
7) The OS is simple and intuitive
8) The boot time is shocking - Faster than my iPad

Cons (mostly because I am coming from a MacBook Pro)
So far I have only found three
1) The screen is incredibly thin
2) The trackpad has quite a lot of travel

X) No rightclicking? EDIT: Two finger tapping is right clicking

I would recommend this computer/Mac OS very highly. However, you have to know what you are getting. The difference between my MacBook and my Chromebook is mostly what one would expect between two items that differ about 1 to 8 in price.
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