Toshiba's 13-inch Chromebook available now

The first 13-inch Chromebook is now available from Toshiba. It offers a high-quality build for a low price.

Toshiba's 13-inch Chromebook is well-made for a $300 laptop.
Toshiba's 13-inch Chromebook is well-made for a $300 laptop. Toshiba

The first Chromebook to sport a 13-inch display is now available from Toshiba.

For $300 you get a 1,366x768 display, a fast Intel Celeron processor (in the Chromebook world "fast" is anything faster than the pokey Samsung Exynos 5250 processor in the HP Chromebook 11 and Samsung Chromebook), 2GB of RAM, a 16GB solid-state drive, a claimed nine hours of battery life, and, of course, the Chrome OS.

At 0.8-inches thick, it weighs in at 3.3 pounds, but "it has an upscale feel for such an inexpensive system," according to CNET's hands-on. (I second this. I had some hands-on time at CES and was impressed by the built quality.)

The Chromebook has found a niche at the low-end of the laptop market as CES made clear.

HP, Toshiba, Dell, Samsung, and Acer are all offering products that range generally from $199 to $299.

And Lenovo has plans for a big Chromebook push this year.

So, think of it as a new PC category of sorts. "Asian majors like Lenovo and Samsung achieved strong double-digit growth...partly due to retail acceptance of their emerging product categories, such as Chromebooks," IDC said in its research note about holiday PC shipments.

And the category is just getting started. Intel expects more powerful Chromebooks to arrive later this year that rival Windows laptops in performance.

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