Toshiba is entering the Chromebook fray with the first 13-inch notebook running Google’s cloud-based operating system. Aimed at students and home users, this laptop, which will last up to 9 hours on a charge, will be available February 16 for $279.
Toshiba’s Chromebook weighs just 3.3 pounds and is 0.8 inches at its thickest point. Its design makes it look like a mashup of Toshiba’s Kirabook and Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Air, which is not bad company to be in. Although it’s made of plastic, the lid has a textured finish that resists fingerprints well, and makes it comfortable to carry.
The Chromebook, whose 13.3-inch display has a resolution of 1366 x 768, will be powered by an Intel Haswell Celeron processor, 2GB of RAM and will come with 16GB of solid state storage augmented by 100GB of Google Drive storage. Ports include two USB 3.0, HDMI, and a memory card reader. It will also have Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.
As the first 13-inch Chromebook, Toshiba’s laptop fits right in between the 14-inch HP Pavilion Chromebook, and the marginally smaller Google Chromebook Pixel, which has a 12.85-inch display. Most other Chromebooks, however, top out at 11 inches, such as the Acer C720.
Although their usefulness is limited by their need to remain connected to the Internet, Chromebook sales have been increasing, as more and more students and those who only need a notebook to browse the Web, write email and perform basic tasks have been attracted to Chromebooks’ low price points. At $279, the Toshiba Chromebook will certainly be yet another attractive option. Stay tuned for our full review.