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There are couple of interesting (and already popular) Toshiba Chromebooks selling at a comfortable price point. One of them is Toshiba CB35-B3340, a 13.3″ notebook running on Celeron processor, 4GB RAM and 16GB solid-state drive. The other one is Toshiba CB35-B3330 that has better price and worse performance than the model reviewed here. Now, we’ll take a look at the CB35-B3340 one and try to conclude if it would be more logical choice for you.
The processor of Toshiba CB35-B3340 is Intel Celeron N2840. It’s quite new CPU, announced in May 2014, but sadly the newness doesn’t make the processor particularly fast. It’s actually the same CPU than the lesser model has, so there’s no difference in performance here. No matter what, that Celeron would do well for lightweight tasks, but I wouldn’t count on it for gaming and other heavy stuff.
Toshiba CB35-B3340 has 4GB RAM. Like I’ve said before, it’s adequate for basically anyone. 2GB RAM like the other Toshiba has is bit on the low side, although for the intended use of Chromebooks it might work just fine. Anyways, the memory is soldered to the motherboard in these models. In another words, it can’t be upgraded.
The storage in the two models is exactly the same. Both feature a soldered 16GB solid-state drive. It’s indeed not huge in space, but very lightweight and fast one for sure. Google also offers you 100GB cloud storage with these Chromebooks. Nice addition, but if you’re used to download lots of stuff to your computer, you can say goodbye to your old habits with Toshiba CB35-B3340.
Both Toshibas run, obviously, on Google Chrome OS. Remember it’s rather different from Windows. One could say it’s just the Google Chrome browser and nothing more. Technically it’s true, but practically Google and other software providers have made a good job in making loads of web-based applications that actually make the Chrome OS feel like a true operating system, rather than a mere browser.
How about graphics?
Since the processor is same in both Toshibas the graphics chip is also the same. Sadly for the gaming folks, the installed Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail) is the poorest performer in the Intel HD family. What is more, the Chrome OS can’t run typical, Windows-based games you install on it. That fact alone makes Chromebooks bad choice for hardcore gamers.
The glossy display, however, is excellent. Granted, it’s not a touchscreen, but it is 13.3 inches big and has superb 1920×1080 resolution, giving you lots of screen estate to work with. You don’t see that too often in budget laptops. Also, the screen technique on Toshiba CB35-B3340 is IPS (In-Plane Switching) that’s supposed to show colors very accurately from all viewing angles.
Toshiba CB35-B3340 has, like the cheaper model, one USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0 port. That’s not too much indeed, but since you’ll be using your Chromebook online most of (all) the time it’s debatable whether huge army of USB ports is needed in the first place. There’s also a HDMI out which lets you connect this laptop to a larger monitor, like HDTV.
Wireless is hot thing these days. As such, the Toshiba boasts nice dual band WiFi adapter and Bluetooth 4.0 support. No Ethernet adapter is present, but the dual band wireless gives you extra boost for the signal and lets you use available wireless networks from a greater range.
Both models have 5-in-1 card reader for convenient data transfer and HD webcam for Skype sessions a’la Chrome, also known as Google Hangouts.
Anything else to keep in mind?
Sure. Toshiba CB35-B3340 doesn’t weight a lot, just 2.95 pounds. It’s also just 3/4 inch thick. Thus, taking it away with you on travels and meetings shouldn’t be a problem at all.
The processor and other specs might be poor for the power users, but they consume just a bit of power. As such, the battery life is up to 9 hours and if you’re lucky, you’ll go for full day without the need to charge your laptop. When you need to charge, it should take around 2 hours to charge it from dead battery to full.
Toshiba CB35-B3340 and the other model don’t feature an optical drive. Since the Chrome OS couldn’t read video codecs of DVDs anyway having an optical drive would be less relevant.
As expected from such a small laptop, the non-backlit keyboard doesn’t feature a 10-key numeric pad that you see on many larger models. Access to number keys is limited, but many consider the numeric pad a nuisance anyway and find the current setup much better choice.
The system itself is fanless and should be very quiet.
Toshiba CB35-B3340, compared to little brother CB35-B3330 is a bit fancier and more expensive choice clearly made for users who are “in the know”. The 1920×1080 resolution is superb addition for those who know what it means, and having 4GB RAM makes difference if you, for example, like to keep lots of tabs open when browsing.
Both models, like every Chromebook, are bad for serious players due to OS and hardware gaming limitations, but other people might want to jump in the Chrome bandwagon and give them a try. Going for the Toshiba CB35-B3340 is advised if you appreciate higher resolution and healthy amount of RAM and can afford the difference.