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back to article Toshiba's CB30-102 13.3in Chromebook – imagine a tablet with a keyboard

The typical low price of a Chromebook suggests you’ll not be buying into a quality product with pleasing design aesthetics. Yet it seems that the brains behind Toshiba’s latest Chromebook weren’t going to be swayed by such presumptions. Toshiba CB30-102 13.3in Chromebook Toshiba's CB3-102 Chromebook: hands up who likes shiny …

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Anonymous Coward

Toshiba's Revenge?

Chrome's disease... are you implying this piece of kit is a piece of sh*t conducive to mindless logorrhea (commonly known as "Toshiba's revenge")?

Almost time for lunch ~~

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Anonymous Coward

Sadly

Everytyime I look, I walk away. The silly ram and HD limitations almost always simply make it a no go.

They have made the BIOS more open now, so you can install Linux directly on newer Chromebooks. Basically, if they pull their finger out and all ram and disk upgrades, they will sell in greater numbers.

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Re: Sadly

Instead of walking away...why not actually try one for a couple of days?

A lot of us were quite sniffy until we tried them.

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Re: Sadly

No go for you. Just the thing on the go for me.

I'm an SysAdmin and do all sorts of IT stuff. I have a Kubuntu 14.04 crouton. Number of times I switch to that on an average train journey? Well less than one. The problem with non-Chromebook users is sometimes they focus on what they could possibly use a computer for rather than what they actually do use it for - especially when travelling.

As the reviewer noted - Chromebooks are a part of the complementary set of devices we use these days (smartphone/tablet/chromebook/laptop/desktop). I use all five but smartphone & chromebook satisfies almost all my on the move needs.

Those that dismiss the value of chromebooks to others are, perhaps wrapped up in their own peculiar world or needs. Yep - gaming on the train appears peculiar to me so maybe i'm not so different ;-)

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JDX
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Re: Sadly

If these restrictions are a problem for you, you're not a target user.

If they put in a more standard sized disk and more RAM they will have to charge more and the point is these are as cheap as possible... you are not going to get a decent spec for £249.

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Re: Sadly

Well I never understand the comments that say...

"It just grinds to a halt with 200 browser tabs open..."

Ermmm maybe its not the Chromebook that has the problem.

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@Stuart 22

Very good points that equally apply against those who deride the RT tablets. I can't run War Thunder on the houses' SurfaceRT - but I equally can't make annoying facebook updates on a train with the gaming PC.

I'm still waiting to see a Chromebook come into the office, but will give it an open minded look over when it does. Are they very chromecast compatible?

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Re: Sadly

The silly ram and HD limitations almost always simply make it a no go.

Hard disk - it's got an SSD so that it starts quickly, and if you want a bigger one, it's a LOT more expensive. What do you need large amounts of disk for? And once they get the promised local connection to a shared disk on the home LAN, there will be even less reason to need a large disk.

RAM - it's got 2GB. 4GB would be better, but again would cost more. People who use it with 2GB are saying that it zips along perfectly fine. What do you get with 4GB that you can't do with 2GB? Open forty tabs instead of twenty?

Like the poster above said - how about trying one, rather than just looking at it?

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Re: Sadly

To be honest I've been going smaller and smaller with storage on my mobile devices.

My Widows laptop had a 500GB HDD whch was swapped for a 120GB SSD. I've now moved my most used data into Google Drive so that I don't need masses of storage and have now swapped the 120GB for a 60GB. However, as I now have a 11" Chromebook the Windows laptop doesn't get the usage it used to.

My days of storing masses of data on portable/mobile devices are over. The bulk data sits on my workstation, Google Drive or NAS at home.

Works for me. YMMV obviously.

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Re: Sadly

I bought a Acer C720 a month ago, for $199 I was expecting very little and was a bit 'sniffy' about chromebooks, not against them, just thought 'these are good for the masses, never me, I'm just far too superior a user for this to ever suite my needs' I got that wrong.

It works very well for the project it was purchased for, but as one does I gave it a full work out and it has become a go to bit of kit, as mentioned in the review, if you need/like a keyboard then this beats a tablet for browsing, email and a bit WP, spreadsheet or presentation production.

It's limited SSD storage is actually quite a good thing for the environment it is designed for, you tend to just keep current work on the internal storage and the rest on google drive which means it is available for your other devices. The 100gb 2 year free storage is worth about $48 currently and if you look at the trends by the time the two years are up, there is a good chance that amount of cloud storage will be almost free, if not and you really don't want to pay, downloading it all may be a pain, but not a big deal.

As for being an all online device, that's not really true any more, though last week I was stuck in a bar with no wifi and only my chromebook and I needed wifi(didn't matter if I had my laptop, needed wifi) chromebook tethered to my phone problem solved.

Installing Linux, I don't really see the need, but others may and it's there if required, you can upgrade the SSD to 128gb after market, but again for me adding $100 to the cost is not what I need. It does have a SD card slot, just in case for some reason cheap extra offline storage is needed (7dayshop.com has special offer 32gb class 10 cards for 12.99GBP)

If you have $199 spare for a new toy a chromebook is worth a punt in my opinion, you can always give it away/sell it to a family member with lesser computing needs if it does not fit your requirements and they will be happy.

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Re: @Stuart 22

I have one and it Chromecasts beautifully...and also, surprisingly to me, Chromecast also works from my daughter's Netflix on her iPhone directly to our HD tv.

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Childcatcher

Re: Sadly

I have to give points for the USB3 ports. Even after there were plenty of drives on the market that met that spec, it seemed for the longest time that notebook makers stuck with USB2 - way to future-proof! As much as people are concerned with security issues these days, it would seem to be better to keep your data encrypted and on removable media. You might put your OS on it as well, leaving the plain-Jane, pre-installed setup in place for anyone who might want to dig through your files. To be sure, the target audience for this device is limited, though it has some uses that may not be obvious at first blush. The biggest problem I see with this is the relatively low amount of RAM, but you get what you pay for.

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Re: Sadly

I don't see why the specs for this system are seen as a problem.

I've recently put Ubuntu 14.04 on an old Acer Aspire One (it's replaced my EeePC 701 which is finally too small to be useful) with 1GB of memory, a 1.6GHz N270 Atom and 8GB of SSD. It runs fine, especially if you use the Gnome Flashback UI, which is a major concession to traditional users.

OK, I would not use this for photo or video manipulation, but browsing, playing media, terminal sessions to other systems, and email is all easily do-able. It fits in 8GB fine, and I use external flash for anything that doesn't fit.

The specs of this system easily beat my Acer. I can see something like this running Linux as a perfectly usable system. We've all just got so used to an excess of available performance that we've forgotten how little we actually need day-to-day.

Not sure about Chrome. I think I want more of an OS than it provides.

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Re: Sadly

Some people hoped from day 0 that the Chromebook would be a way to get hold of a cheap laptop to install Linux without paying for a Windows licence and as a result that's all they see. Of course a laptop designed to run browser apps is never going to have enough RAM or disk space to run a full blown OS, but these people just can't get that stupid idea out of their heads.

Or maybe it's a case of hope springs eternal, but if it is why criticize Toshiba for building a laptop to suit Chrome OS rather than another OS? Why not just buy a laptop suited to your chosen OS?

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Re: Sadly

Of course a laptop designed to run browser apps is never going to have enough RAM or disk space to run a full blown OS

Its got 2GB of RAM and 16GB of HDD. The 2GB of RAM is pretty much what everything in my house is using apart from one Macbook Pro and they're all on Windows 7 apart from one laptop on Linux Mint 15 and the Macbook Pro. 16GB of HDD is a little tight but plenty to run XP or Linux on with 10GB or so of storage. Hell the PC at my radio club is an old Athlon 2600 thing running XP, has 768MB of RAM and only has a 10GB HDD in but manages to do what we need it to.

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I read(/scanned) up to

x768

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Personally I would have though an updated AC100 with a 1368x768 resolution screen and a Snapdragon 801 processor (quad core 2GHz ARM with 2GB RAM and 16GB flash) would have given something that stands out from the pack of me too Chromebooks.

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Nice but

Other then the Pixel there isn't a lot of difference in Chromebooks.

You can pickup the original Samsung ARM one for $200 ($150 returns on Amazon) so why should I pay more for a more powerful dual core Intel CPU with a fan and shorter battery life?

Because I need to do some protein folding or CFD on the bus?

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Mushroom

I like my job...

... so there's no way I'm using one of these - getting sacked for revealing corporate secrets really isn't on my agenda.

It's not like I could even claim I did it unwittingly - even non-techs are pretty clued up on just how much spyware is likely to be in anything powered by Google.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah Google stealz allz ourz secretz.

They are opening up Google Fried Chicken next week.

Nub

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There is a way to get a cheap Chromebook with reasonable specs. I got a seconhand Acer Aspire 5738G, dropped Chromium OS on there then "restored" Chrome OS - easy if you think about it. And tried a Chromebook for a few weeks without the expense.

My conclusion was that a Chromebook is a very useful thing for travelling if you don't already have a laptop. If you've got a desktop in the office and a desktop at home then a Chromebook is useful when you're on the road. However if you already have a laptop your existing laptop will do everything a Chromebook will. So I can see a Chromebook for people with no laptop (either those who have desktop(s) or nor computer at all) but I don't see a Chromebook as something that would be of any use to somebody with a laptop already.

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One of these things is not like the other

"I’ve likened this Chromebook storage tie-in as being much like getting a cheap printer, only to find you spend a fortune on ink over time."

(Current) Monthly cost of 100GB = $1.99 = GBP 1.19

Current set of replacement cartridges for an HP Photosmart 6510 = GBP 23.00

So for the cost of 1 set of small ink cartridges that will print 300 pages, I can have 2 years of 100GB storage. Really not the same at all.

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Re: One of these things is not like the other

They are like each other. They are just not the same as each other. Nobody said they were.

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Re: One of these things is not like the other

If you want to use an external HDD instead, you can. There is no catch here. But the cost of an external HDD is actually pretty comparable to the cost of cloud storage if you upgrade your hardware at the recommended frequency, and you consider how fast cloud storage prices are falling. Cloud storage is always with you and makes file sharing easy. An external drive won't help you there and can get lost in a fire.

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Facepalm

Love love my chromebook BUT...

and it's a big BUT... Connecting to any sort of VPN has been broken for ages and despite fortnightly updates of the OS, it doesn't seem to be getting fixed. So despite having a nice RDP client available, you aren't going to be remoting to anywhere work related.

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Ethernet

I've been keeping a weather-eye on Chromebooks, as my trusty Eee 701SD (running Arch Linux) is bound to croak sometime, and there's only so much one can get done with a tablet and Bluetooth keyboard case.

I suspect a Chromebook might make a decent-enough replacement for the 701 (especially if I could dual-boot it with Arch), and I'd even consider an ARM-powered model once Arch Linux ARM has come on a bit further (esp. on the accelerated graphics front).

However, one feature I'd really miss from my Eee, which seems to be missing from just about every Chromebook I've looked at, is an Ethernet port. Yes, I know CBs aren't really aimed at users who'd usually reach for a Cat5 cable, and yes, there are USB-Ethernet adapters out there (do they work on a CB?), but sometimes it's just a handy feature to fall back on, especially if/when a wired network link can outperform a WiFi one.

It looks like the Acer C7 Chromebook has an Ethernet port, but this Tosh doesn't appear to. I suppose a USB3 Ethernet adapter might be an option (if there's one that works), but it would be nice to have at least a native 10/100 port on a Chromebook.

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People need to get their heads around a Chromebook is not a laptop replacement but instead a serious alternative to a tablet. I've not used my iPad or Nexis 7 since owning one.

The only limiting thing I've found is the lack of VPN support at the moment but sure that will come.

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Settings > Add Connection > Add Private Network

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