We already knew Toshiba was coming out with a Chrome OS device, but in the four months since Intel teased it at IDF, we haven't seen anything in the way of specs, much less product shots. That changes today: The company just announced the Toshiba Chromebook here at CES, making this the first time we've seen the device up close. Of note, this has a 13-inch display, which, for whatever reason, has never been used on a Chromebook before. At any rate, Toshiba is betting that consumers coming over from Windows and Mac machines will want the same in-between-sized screen they're already used to -- especially if they plan on spending a lot of time in Gmail and GDocs.
Due to that larger screen, this is naturally going to be a bit heavier than, say, the HP Chromebook 11 (three pounds vs. 2.3), but what you lose in portability, you'll make up for in power. While HP's offering makes do with an ARM processor, the Toshiba Chromebook offers a Haswell-series Celeron 2955U CPU for the same price, promising stronger performance and longer battery life (up to nine hours, say company reps).
Toshiba Chromebook hands-on
Also, that larger footprint means a less-cramped keyboard. Indeed, after just a few minutes of hands-on time, we noticed the buttons were well-spaced, with a good deal of travel. Elsewhere on the gray plastic chassis, you'll find two USB 3.0 connections, a full-sized HDMI socket, a headphone port, an SDXC card reader and a lock slot -- a particularly handy feature for students and teachers. As for that 13.3-inch 1,366 x 768 display, the viewing angles are pretty limited, but then again, what else did you expect from a $279 machine?
For now, Toshiba is only planning on selling a WiFi-only model with 2GB of RAM and the standard 16GB of built-in storage, but a spokesperson told us the company could "potentially" come out with a 4G version, too. For now, that WiFi-only edition is shipping February 16th for $279 -- slightly less than you'd pay for other Haswell Chromebooks.