A week with the Toshiba Chromebook 2

Since the summer of 2014, I’ve been using an Acer C720 Chromebook as a secondary computer and my initial delving into Google’s Chrome OS-based computers. However, over a week ago (and thanks in part to a tax refund), I decided to upgrade to a newer Chromebook model. After reading various reviews, I decided to go with the Toshiba Chromebook 2, which came out last fall with a new model. While this Chromebook costs a bit more than most Chromebooks, it’s also much better built than my old model. While I’ve enjoyed Chrome OS, in retrospect the Acer C720 and its 2GB of RAM could sometimes feel a bit underpowered, with tabs sometimes crashing from a lack of RAM.

The biggest improvement with this new Chromebook is having 4GB of RAM. The improved RAM along with the somewhat improved Celeron processor brings this Toshiba model up to a more typical low-end laptop’s specs. It also has made for a much smoother computing experience, more like what I’m used to on conventional laptops. I have a tendency to open a lot of tabs, though I’ve been trying Pocket to reduce that habit. Everything feels snappy even with multiple tabs open, plus Google Music’s player, an IRC program, and GMail running.

Another nice thing about this Chromebook is the 13″ screen with a 1080p HD screen. It’s probably a better screen than my 15″ HP laptop’s screen (at 1366 x 768 resolution). YouTube videos all play at full screen in 1080p nicely.

The keyboard on this model’s also backlit, like on most regular laptops these days. I can use it more easily in a dimly lit room.

The trackpad works well, though I still have an external wireless mouse hooked up. The standard ports are all included and work OK, though the right-side USB port feels a bit tight when pulling out USB drives/cords.

Construction of the laptop is of plastic materials, though seems reasonably sturdy and lightweight at 2.95 lbs (1.33 kg).

I haven’t had much use of the laptop away from home so far, but I’ve used it without the cord plugged in while on my couch. Battery life seems adequate so far, though suspect the old C720 might’ve won out there.

The same Chrome OS apps I used on the Acer C720 all run just fine on the Toshiba Chromebook. In the case of the Astonishing Comic Reader app, it’s vastly improved: CBR/CBZ files both open just fine in the app, where before on the C720 many files wouldn’t open at all. I presume the improved specs are the reason.

Overall, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 feels like a vast improvement over most other Chromebooks, and an argument in favor of at least 4GB of RAM becoming the Chromebook standard in the future. I suppose one could possibly use this Toshiba as a primary computer if they had limited demands, though it still makes for an excellent secondary computer if that’s not the case.

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