Home Android Product Review – The Toshiba CB35-A3120 13″ Chromebook

Product Review – The Toshiba CB35-A3120 13″ Chromebook

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For Toshiba fans that are seeking a compact device to engage in rich Internet browsing and light document editing, the Chromebook CB35-A3120 may provide you with the right value for your money.

Overview.

The new Toshiba Chromebook CB35-A3120 offers high tech styling combined with a useful variety of features designed to handle daily computing tasks and on-the-go entertainment. It is a very good choice for general computing tasks and streaming online video, and offers exceptional performance for casual users. Equipped with a large enough screen size to compete with a primary laptop, the Chromebook CB35-A3120 offers respectable portability and a nice array of features at a very reasonable price point just under £179.

The Chromebook CB35-A3120 is designed with a stylish silver colored chassis with a textured finish for solid gripping. When you open the lid, the device very closely resembles an Apple MacBook Air except that the device casing is constructed of durable plastic instead of aluminum. Regardless, the durable plastic still makes the device feel like it is well built.

Under the lid.

Under the lid you will also find a full-sized keyboard with the top row of function keys replaced with keys that are function-specific to the Chrome operating system. If you are already familiar with Chromebook, the keys include functions for overview mode, immersive mode, and search functionality. As a new user, you can refer to the included guide to become familiar with the function icons. There is also a generous multi-touch 2.8 x 4-inch trackpad that is very responsive to swiping and tapping gestures.

The screen and the lid on the Chromebook CB35-A3120 offers just the right amount of weight to allow the device to be opened without having to hold down the computer while lifting up on the lid. Booting up the device is easy and is complete within a matter of seconds with fast Internet connectivity that requires you to be constantly close by to a WiFi hotspot.

You can also configure the Chromebook CB35-A3120 to accommodate multiple users to enable a customized experience for each user. Once the configuration is compete, simply select the user photo and enter your password to sign on to the homescreen. And, you never have to worry about installing separate antivirus and anti-malware applications as the Chromebook is equipped with built-in security, complete with automatic updates.

The Toshiba Chromebook CB35-A3120 is powered by Chrome OS and contains a nice selection of apps for productivity such as Google Docs, Calendar, Gmail, videoconferencing and chat applications, with additional room for a seamless web browsing experience. Overall, the device is easy to manage and makes an ideal device for everyday use.

What is a Chromebook and How Is It Different from a Conventional Laptop?

Google designed the Chromebook to run Google apps and just about everything else using the Google Chrome web browser. Chromebook is designed to work with Google services which covers document creation, email tasks, Google calendar, and many other Google apps available in the Google Chrome Store.

Although conventional laptops can access these applications, the difference is that there is no system for file management on Chromebook. This makes Chromebook more like a web browser which is housed inside a stylish chassis which means it requires Internet connectivity in order to gain full access to all device capabilities.

chromebook photo

The Chromebook offers the experience of a conventional laptop desktop. However, the home screen offers icons that launch web apps in the Chrome browser. To manage files, you must use the cloud service which means you must always be near an Internet connection that is readily available.

There is no mobile connectivity such as 3G, 4G, or LTE included in the Chromebook like there is in other portable devices. This is by no means a deal breaker if you are constantly near a WiFi hotpot or your home Internet connection. Plus, if you are comfortable with cloud applications, this should not present a problem either.

Another difference between the Chromebook and a conventional laptop is the Chromebook is not designed for the power user. It is simply meant for the consumer that wants to easily access the Internet, accomplish a few light computing tasks, enjoy videos, chatting with friends, and use email, without all of the extra bells and whistles that are typically included in the higher priced laptops.

What are the Specifications?

The Chromebook CB35-A3120 offers a sleek appearance with a thickness that is less than one inch. What sets the CB35-A3120 apart from other Chromebooks is the generous screen size of 13.3 inches which provides you with a conventional laptop experience without being too over the top. Although the screen is not touch-enabled, it still offers a pretty decent viewing experience. The high definition IPS (In-plane switching) panel LED backlit TFT (Thin-Film Transistor) display with 1366 x 768 resolution is high quality and the 16:9 aspect ratio helps to maintain the Toshiba Chromebook’s sleek appearance. Other specifications include:

  • Performance: The Chromebook CB35-A3120 offers optimal performance with an Intel Celeron Haswell dual-core processor 2955U with 2GB DDR3L memory. The CB35-A3120 is also equipped with a 16GB Solid State hard drive which cannot be removed for replacement. There is approximately 9.7GB of free space out of the 16GB drive storage with SDXC card capability if you require an additional 64GB of storage. You also have access to 100GB of Google Drive storage for up to two years which is Google’s online cloud storage service.
  • Port Connectivity: The Chromebook CB35-A3120 is equipped with two USB 3.0 ports for connecting USB peripherals. On the left side of the unit is an SD card slot that supports SDHC and SDXC memory cards. There is also a port for connecting the included AC adapter and a slot reserved for a Kensington lock. On the same side as the USB 3.0 ports, you will find an HDMI port for connecting the Chromebook to an HDTV. There is also a headphone jack for listening to audio and video while on-the-go.
  • Audio: In terms of audio capability, the speakers are located on the bottom front of the device and are capable of pumping out a relatively decent sound quality. The microphone sound quality is okay as well when chatting on the webcam and using Google Hangouts. When the volume is adjusted to the maximum you still get quality sound without a lot of distortion. However, like most devices of this size, the sound is lacking in depth when it comes to the bass.
  • Wireless Connectivity: As mentioned earlier, the Chromebook CD35-A3120 is not equipped with mobile connectivity however, the device features dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11/ab/g/n WiFi capability. As long as you are near a WiFi hotspot or your home WiFi connection, the CD35-A3120 connects quickly and seamlessly to the Internet. It is also equipped with a Bluetooth 4.0 interface.
  • Battery Life: The Toshiba Chromebook CD35-A3120 comes with an included Lithium ion battery that offers a life of approximately 8 hours. Although the promotions indicate 9 hours, tests have shown that the battery life is closer to 8 hours when streaming video and performing multiple tasks.
  • Dimensions: The Chromebook CD35-A3120 is built for portability with dimensions of 9 x 13 x 0.8 inches (H x W x D) and weighs in at only 3.3 pounds. This allows you to easily fit the device into a backpack or commuter bag without adding a lot of bulk.
  • Warranty: The Chromebook is offered with a one-year limited warranty and ships with an AC adapter that has a generous 12 foot cord for charging the battery and connecting to any AC wall outlet. There is also a Chrome OS quick start guide and Toshiba device quick start guide. You can also find a Getting Started guide within the included apps.

In terms of peripherals, if you happen to require an Ethernet connection, the Toshiba Chromebook works well with a USB Ethernet adapter. It also works well with a variety of SD card brands, in addition to using a USB card reader. Additionally, if you have a recent digital camera, the Chromebook will support the connection to allow you to download photos via the Google Plus photo app.

What is Chrome OS and How Does It Work?

Chrome OS is an open source operating system developed by Google which is not a full-fledged operating system like Windows or Mac OS X. However, Chrome OS is designed for devices such as the Chromebook and for those who desire lightweight use with features that provide most of the capabilities for average computer users.

The reason Chrome OS is not considered to be a complete operating system is the logic is based on the fact that many PC users spend most of their time in the browser to access the Internet. Therefore, Chrome OS is designed to work in sync with web based applications. It is also designed with open source code to allow developers to create applications that are useful to Chrome OS users.

With Chrome OS, the browser functions as the operating system and Chrome OS expands on many of the capabilities of the Google Chrome browser. The Chrome project is centered on a cloud computing model where all data and applications are stored and accessed in the cloud. This allows you to access data and apps from anywhere and at any time.

Chrome OS also provides access to the Google Chrome Store where you can obtain additional apps that make computing tasks easier and faster. Easy and fast is key because it eliminates some of the bulk associated with full-fledged operating systems. This makes for a speedy OS that consumes almost no disk space. The interface also resembles the Chrome browser with access to a variety of Google apps.

See the official Chrome OS You Tube video here

What are some of the Pros and Cons?

If you are looking for a great all around device that allows you to accomplish general computing tasks, there is a lot to like about the Toshiba Chromebook CD35-A3120, and at a great price. However, to help you make an informed decision, here are a few pros and cons:

Pros

  • Larger size screen provides you with a conventional laptop experience at a fraction of the cost.
  • Device offers fast setup and a boot time that is complete within seconds.
  • The Haswell processor provides high performance and speedy results.
  • Full-sized keyboard makes it easier to get things done.
  • Lightweight and stylish design provides excellent handling and portability.

Cons

  • There is no option for 3G, 4G, or LTE connectivity which requires you to always be near an Internet connection or WiFi hotspot.
  • Display screen does not offer touchscreen functionality.
  • Webcam imaging tends to be dark when not in a brightly lit area.
  • No backlighting on the keyboard.

Conclusion

The Toshiba Chromebook CB35-A3120 is a good choice if you are a general user who does not need some of the features of a full-fledged laptop. As long as you have constant Internet access, the Chromebook may be capable of replacing an older PC system without having to sacrifice access to general computing apps and entertainment. The 13.3-inch screen tends to be easier on the eyes than the Chromebooks that offer an 11-inch display screen. Plus, you get the larger screen for just about the same price.

On the other hand, if you are a power laptop PC user, it is highly likely the Chromebook CB35-A3120 will not meet your needs. In this case, the CB35-A3120 may or may not serve you well as a secondary PC. This is especially true if you expect to do some hard core gaming or perform heavy duty video editing tasks on the side.

The bottom line is the Chromebook CB35-A3120 cannot do everything but, it is worth a closer look as a general use device offered at a great price.

Photo by j_baer

Photo by j_baer

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