Toshiba is updating its line of Chromebooks with a new version of last year’s Chromebook 2. The design is pretty much the same, but there’s a lot more power under the hood since the 2015 Chromebook 2 is available with an Intel Celeron or Core i3 Broadwell processor, while last year’s model had a Bay Trail CPU.

The new Chromebook 2 should be available around October 5th for $330 and up, and I got a chance to spend a few minutes with a demo unit recently.

toshiba chromebook 2_01

Toshiba’s original Chromebook 2 came in a handful of different configurations, with some models featuring full HD displays and 4GB of RAM, while other model had 1366 x 768 pixel displays and 2GB of memory.

For the new models, there’s less variation. The only difference between the Celeron and Core i3 models is the processor. You can pay $100 more if you want the extra power that comes with a Core i3 Broadwell chip, but both versions of the 2015 Chromebook 2 feature 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel glossy IPS displays, 4GB of RAM, 802.11ac WiFi, HDMI output, stereo front-facing speakers, dual-array microphones, and USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports.

At first glance, the new Chromebook 2 looks nearly identical to the Bay Trail model I reviewed last year. You still have a wide touchpad, a full-sized keyboard, and relatively slim bezels around the display.

But Toshiba has made a few tweaks. The keyboard is now backlit, and there’s a vent on the bottom of the laptop because there’s a fan to help keep the system cool (which is necessary thanks to the higher-power processors).

While these aren’t the cheapest Chromebooks available, the $330 Celeron and $430 Core i3 models are still reasonably affordable for portable notebooks (they weigh about 2.9 pounds).  It’s nice to see a growing number of Chromebooks with better-than-entry-level specs.

Dell also recently introduced a new Chromebook 13 with a backlit keyboard, support for up to 8GB of RAM, up to an Intel Core i5 Broadwell processor, and a backlit keyboard. The Dell Chromebook 13 has a starting price of $399, although higher-end models can sell for as much as $899.


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12 replies on “Hands-on with Toshiba’s Broadwell Chromebook 2”

  1. I really want to throw Ubuntu on it. It’s a shame that chromeos is on such nice hardware. I will sell my soul for Android but not chromeos.

  2. I’ve been very happy with the Toshiba Chromebook 3120 and its 1.4ghz Haswell. I held off from getting a Chromebook 2 after reading reviews on Amazon about the sluggishness of the n2840 CPU. Now, with a choice of Broadwell CPUs in addition to 13.3 inch IPS, 4GB, and 8 hour battery I just need to make sure I can still boot Linux from USB and then I’m sold. I have both Acer c720 (the classic) and Toshiba 3120: the Acer feels like a netbook and the Tosh feels like an ultrabook.

    1. Bay-Trail was unimpressive. I think this, with an Skylake i5 and replaceable ram and SSD for ~$500 would be beast.

      1. The Dell Chromebook 13 is basically all that but Broadwell. After reading some concerning reviews online about widespread screen issues w/ the Chromebook 2’s IPS panel, I think I’d rather pay the premium on the Dell the next time around. I’m counting myself lucky I haven’t had any issues w/ my Chromebook 2 b/c it mostly sits on my desk.

        1. My screen failed under normal use in the previous generation model and Toshiba declined to repair it under warranty. Users have posted pictures of the inside of the chassis lid, and the LCD is fixed in place with foam tape. It appears Toshiba used the same design on this generation, but this is unconfirmed.

    2. I have the same two chromebooks. My wife uses the Toshiba and I I use the C720 with Linux installed on a 64GB SSD. I love the Toshiba everything about the older Toshiba but couldn’t expand the SSD so gave it a miss. How did you install Linux on the USB? which version do you have? does the wifi/mouse/shutdown all work? Do you have speed issues with the USB? what about continuous writes (swap space etc) wearing out the USB?

      I totally agree with your comments about how both laptops feel. Anyone know if the new Toshiba has an upgradeable SSD? I’m happy to take the think apart but not happy if I need to unsolder anything.

  3. Really happy to see the pricing given the processor and especially the backlit keyboard. Seems like that’s going to be a new competition ground for Chromebooks and that is fan-effing-tastic. Something the community has been begging to get for quite a while now. Very happy to see it already in play at better price points.
    I’m personally not a fan of glossy screens though and generally would want touch in return for that choice if I’m gonna make it.
    I think they’ll do very well with these though. Very well.

  4. Would be nice if you made it clearer it’s a broadwell celeron (the video does, but the text was a bit ambiguous).

    Also any word on which processor models it has specifically?

    This looks like the first device I may consider replacing my C720 with– getting pretty fed up with the 1376×768 TN screen, but otherwise it’s fine. The celeron seems good value.

    Shame no USB-C, and broadwell instead of skylake.. and not sure about the glossy panel, but it hits all the must haves (core cpu, 4gb ram, USB3, HDMI, good screen), and the first to do so better than the C720, for a decent price.. only took 2 years!!

  5. I think this is the one to beat (when you consider price/performance) if it still has the same great screen . For comparison, nothing on the Windows side comes close (IPS at that resolution and performance and backlit keyboard).

    1. The celeron model seems great value. Not sure the i3 upgrade is worth it (almost +30% for 3-500mhz cpu boost, and better GPU.. that’s rarely used in a chromebook), but I expect them to sell better due to branding anyway.

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