Toshiba has an unrivalled reputation amongst PC vendors. It really pioneered the development of laptops and as such, has always been a pace-setter and a vendor against which competitors measure their own products. Toshiba’s entry into the Chromebook market was therefore, a significant moment and its first offering – the CB30-10 was eagerly anticipated.
Part of Toshiba’s success is rooted in its ability to design systems that are practical and that anyone can use. The CB30-10 is in this respect everything you’d expect it to be – very easy to use, powerful, lightweight, appealing on the eye and fantastic value for money. That tells you just about all you need to know really, because that’s exactly what users need Chromebooks to be and adding lots of extras will always mean that some kind of compromise in the form or extra weight or expense.
The CB30-10 however, is not the archetypal Toshiba in terms of its looks – its smart and shiny brushed silver finish contrasting with the typical, predominantly black casings we’ve traditionally seen on Toshiba systems. It is sleek and at just a shade over 2cm, very slim too. This Chromebook is designed to look perfectly at place in the office, the classroom or at home.
Cool and quiet
It weighs just 1,5Kg, so you’ll hardly notice you are carrying it. Inside is an Intel® Celeron® 2955U 1.4 GHz processor with 2 MB cache and Intel® HD Graphics. The four cell battery offers up to eight hours usage on a single charge, which is impressive given the lightness of the CB30-10.
The 13.3-inch, LED backlight 1366 x 768 display is clean and clear. The matt black, chiclet tile keyboard is well-spaced and comfortable to use. In operation the Toshiba Chromebook is amazingly quiet and it stays very cool in operation – more signs of Toshiba’s design expertise. Two USB 3.0 ports, as well as an HDMI port for connecting an external monitor. There is also an SD card slot, a headphone/microphone socket and an integrated 0.9MP HD Web Camera (1,280 x 720) with built-in microphone.
The 2GB of RAM on the currently-available version will be adequate for most users most of the time, and there is a 16GB SSD too. A full HD 1080p version with 4GB of memory will be available very soon – if it has not come into stock already by the time you read this review, and for customers who need that extra capacity to run multiple applications and have a little more budget to spend, this will be ideal.
Chrome is big in education in the US and schools are also expected to be amongst the early adopters here. But many business customers will also find the Chomebook approach appealing as it is so cost-effective and delivers at a stroke, all the advantages of cloud computing. No more upgrades or worries about security; no need to backup data; really fast boot-up times; great performance and really flexible mobility. It is ideal for Internet access and use with cloud-based services.
With the public sector buying peak coming up and many schools and businesses looking to review their desktop platforms. At around £160, the Toshiba Chromebook CB30-10 is amazing value. It will do most of what most users will need it to do and as such – and because it is a Toshiba Chromebook – it is sure to be on the shortlist for any school, public sector organisation or business.