Chromebooks are creeping into the mainstream, as manufacturers continue to cast their low-end lot with Google and Chrome OS. At CES in Las Vegas, Toshiba became the latest to do so, announcing a $279.99, 13.3-inch Chromebook that fills a couple of gaps for Chrome OS. It's the first 13-inch Chromebook, filling a void Toshiba hopes is the mainstream favorite. It's also among the best-looking Chromebooks yet, a dimpled silver notebook with Toshiba's recognizable design that's considerably better-looking and more premium than a device like the Chromebook 11.
Of course, for all its design flair, it's still a $279.99 computer. The Toshiba Chromebook comes with a 1366 x 768 display that looks passable but not great, and at 3.3 pounds and 0.8 inches thick it's not particularly svelte. It's powered by a Haswell-based Intel Celeron processor, which Toshiba says provides the device with nine hours of battery life, plus 2GB of RAM and a 16GB hard drive.
It's hard for a Chromebook to stand out — they all run the same operating system, typically the same way, usually with similar hardware. But with nice design and a more common screen size, Toshiba may have something a bit more friendly to the average consumer. And a $279.99 price tag is pretty friendly, too.