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CNET First Look
A 13-inch Chromebook for full-time useSurprisingly, the new Toshiba Chromebook is the first Chrome OS laptop with a 13-inch screen.
I'm Dan Ackerman, and we are here with Toshiba's Chromebook, that they simply call the Toshiba Chromebook. This is Toshiba's first entry in the Chrome OS market, those systems that run Chrome OS instead of Windows or OS X from Apple. And the Chrome OS is basically, it's the Chrome browser and a few other small built-in apps, but it's basically a machine that's meant to be online all the time and everything that you wanna do, you do mostly through a browser-based app, like you use Gmail instead of Outlook, you use Google Docs and Google Drive instead of Microsoft Office. And if you can get used to that concept, then you can use a Chrome OS system usually as sort of your secondary or travel machine, as long as you have online access all the time. The other thing that makes this particular version unique is that it's the first Chromebook-- and I was rather surprised to hear those-- with a 13-inch screen. I mean, there'd been like one 14-inch model, a bunch of 11-inch ones, maybe 12.5 here and there. But nobody's on the 13-inch one yet, which seems odd to me because that's really the perfect size for carrying around with you a lot, and for using it all day, If you need a bigger screen and a bigger keyboard for that, you'll really get the right mix there in a 13-inch screen size. So, with that, you get a larger keyboard-- actually a pretty good keyboard for a Chromebook. They're usually a little bit on the cheap side and actually decent touchpad, too, that all important two-finger swiping motion works fairly smoothly on web pages. On the downside, it's been pretty plasticky feeling. The display is not great, although I appreciate it's kind of a matte-ish display. It doesn't reflect too much glare. But you're only paying $299 for this guy. And for a 13-inch laptop that you can kind of use for all-day typing, I found a lot of money to spend to have it cut it a few corners somewhere. You do get two nice bonuses items seen in a lot of other Chromebooks. You get USB 3.0 and HDMI out which could help this be just a little more useful than your average super-cheap 11-inch Chromebook. I'm Dan Ackerman, and that is the Toshiba Chromebook.