Toshiba Chromebook 2 puts 13-inch screen in 12-inch body

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A big part of the appeal of Chromebooks is their prices, which typically don't go beyond the $300 or £300 mark. Low prices generally don't equate to great build quality or design, though, something Toshiba aims to improve on with its second go-round, the aptly named Chromebook 2.

Toshiba's first Chromebook didn't look bad, but because it had a 13.3-inch screen, it was bulkier than the 11.6-inch models it was competing against. For the 2, Toshiba shaved off as much as possible so it is closer in size to those smaller-screen Chromebooks while keeping the 13.3-inch screen.

Toshiba's Chromebook 2 sheds some bulk from the original (bottom). Sarah Tew/CNET

Also, although the screen size stays the same, the Chromebook 2 will be available in an entry-level model with a 1,366x768-pixel resolution or a premium version with a full HD display using an IPS panel for better off-angle viewing.

You'll also find stereo speakers tuned by headphone maker Skullcandy that fire up through the keyboard, an HD webcam with a dual-mic array, one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port, a full-size HDMI output, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and an SD card slot. You'll also be able to pick up covers for it, so you can have it stand out a bit from the crowd.

It doesn't take much to run Chrome OS, something else that helps keep Chromebooks inexpensive. For the Chromebook 2, you'll get a newer, better-than-Atom Intel Celeron processor, 2GB or 4GB of memory, and 16GB of flash storage.

With those configurations, Toshiba is claiming up to 11.5 hours of battery life on the 1,366x768-resolution model and up to 9 hours on the 1,920x1,080-resolution model.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Toshiba says prices will range from $250 to $330 (£200 to £250), with US availability beginning on October 5. In Australia it looks like only one model will be available priced at AU$449 and also on sale from October. Pricing and availability for the rest of the world were not announced.

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Toshiba Chromebook 2

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