Toshiba intros a slimmer Chromebook, budget Windows convertible

Toshiba isn't showing off a whole lot here at IFA, Europe's biggest trade show. That said, the stuff it has announced at least manages to run the gamut. Today, for instance, the company unveiled both a slimmed-down Chromebook 2 and the Satellite Radius 11, a small-screened Windows convertible. Starting with the former, the Chromebook 2 has the same 13-inch screen size as its predecessor, along with the same textured plastic design. This time, though, it's thinner and lighter, at 2.95 pounds, with the sort of compact dimensions you'd expect to find on a 12-inch system. Toshiba bumped up the resolution too, so that you can now get it with a 340-nit, 1,920 x 1,080 IPS panel (the base model still has a 1,366 x 768 display). Depending on the resolution, you can expect either 11.5 hours of battery life on the lower-res version, or nine hours with full HD. In addition, Toshiba added Skullcandy audio. The firm seems proud of it, but after a few minutes of hands-on time, I actually found the sound to be rather tinny (it is loud, though).

Other changes include faster 802.11ac WiFi and dual array mics, though the port selection is otherwise the same (USB 3.0 and 2.0, HDMI and a full-sized SD slot). All told, it seems like an improvement, except for one thing: Toshiba downgraded the processor from a Haswell-series Celeron CPU to a Bay Trail one (the N2840, to be exact). If our review of the ASUS C200 Chromebook is any indication, using a chip like this would seem to be a step down in speed, but who knows? Maybe Toshiba found a way to better optimize performance, especially on the 1080p edition, which has four gigs of RAM instead of two. Really, though, it seems like the company had to cut corners to squeeze in a full HD display and still keep the price down. This would seem to be the place where Toshiba chose to make some sacrifices.

The Satellite Radius 11, meanwhile, is a follow-on to the 15.6-inch Satellite Radius, which came out earlier this year. Both have a Lenovo Yoga-like design, with a 360-degree hinge allowing the screen to fold back into tablet mode, tabletop mode (with the screen flat), stand mode (with the screen facing away from the keyboard) and tent mode (with the laptop balanced upside down). Similar to the Yoga, too, the keyboard locks up when you're not in clamshell mode, to avoid accidental button presses.

But while the Radius 11 mimics the design of some full-fledged laptops, it has the guts of a netbook: Bay Trail-series Celeron and Pentium CPUs, and either a spinning HDD or a small flash drive, similar to what you'd find in a Chromebook. Aside from what's sure to be a low price, the benefit to having a low-powered processor like this is long battery life. The chassis has a smooth, fanless look too, if that matters to you. No word yet on how much this will cost, but if Toshiba is smart, it'll price this against other 11-inch convertibles like the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 and HP Pavilion 360, both of which start at $400. (Just sayin', Toshiba!)

The Chromebook 2 will go on sale in the US on October 5th starting at $250 for the base model and $330 for the full HD version. It'll be available in Europe as well, but later on in Q4. You'll also be able to buy optional two-piece plastic cases in a variety of colors, as you can see in the shot above. The Radius 11, meanwhile, will arrive in late October or early November. Again, no word on price just yet. In the meantime, we've got hands-on shots aplenty. Check 'em out.