Category Archives: Laptop Shopping

The Toshiba Chromebook 2: A Closer Look

Screen size and image clarity stand out.

Toshiba made a splash when it offered its first Chromebook the Toshiba CB35-A3120 because of that product’s 13.6-inch screen. Most Chromebooks on the market previously had screens 11 inches or smaller in size.Toshiba has outdone its first efforts with the new Toshiba CB35-B3340. The Toshiba Chromebook 2 has the same large size that the original had but improves on it in several ways.

  • The images are clearer because of the 1920 x 1080 full resolution
    HD. If a sharp image is not a priority for you and you want to save
    money, You can buy a Toshiba Chromebook 2 without HD for nearly
    $100. less.
  • The second Toshiba product is lighter and more streamlined than
    the first.
  • The sound system has been improved by the integration of Skullcandy
    speakers. Skullcandy headphones can be purchased separately.

PC magazine has honored the first Toshiba Chromebook by designating it as the online magazine’s editor’s choice as best Chromebook. The fact the company improved so significantly on a worthwhile product in its own right speaks well of them. It also provides the reason for anyone in the market for technological products to keep Toshiba in mind as a company whose products should, at least, be considered; based on this concrete evidence that even when they’re on top of the game they don’t rest on their laurels.

The keyboard is unique.

The Toshiba CB35-B3340 doesn’t use the traditional keyboard use, for years on most computers. Instead, operators use a keyboard developed by Google to perform functions. One of the main differences between the two keyboards is the replacement of the “F” menu with Google function controls. Another innovative change is the replacement of “Right Click”, used with a mouse, by a “two-finger click” on the Toshiba Chromebook 2 directional control.

Features and Specifications

First, we’ll look at the basics:

  • Google Chrome Operating System
  • 2.1Ghz Intel Celeron processor.
  • 16GB solid-state drive.
    4GB Ram
  • 9-hour battery duration.
  • uses a lithium-ion battery which is included with the purchase
    of the product.
  • weighs approximately three pounds.
  • dimensions are 12.6 x 8.4 x 0.76 inches.

The graphics are by Intel graphics. Wireless internet connection is 802.11 A/C. – about the fastest you can get; according to PC magazine online- Bluetooth 4.0 connections are also supported.There is one 2.0 and one 3.0 USB port. There is also a Kensington lock slot, an HDMI out port and an SD card slot. The silver colored Toshiba CB35-B3340 Chromebook 2 has a textured exterior surface to help you avoid dropping it inadvertently.

Google offers some additional incentives.

The Toshiba Chromebook 2 does, of course, use a Google Chrome OS. In an effort to encourage storage to The Cloud, Google provides 24 months of free 100 GB storage. Google also allows access to Google Play music free, for sixty days.

What Others are saying

By common consensus, the most attractive features of the Toshiba Chromebook 2 were its graphics and its sound. This makes it a good choice for those who want or need a Chromebook for the purpose of watching movies or videos, playing games and listening to music. This makes it a good choice for kids and so does the minor drawback that screen images are quite small. That is to say, it’s not necessarily a good choice for someone with poor eyesight.
The processor in this Toshiba Chromebook is smaller than the one in some competitors, but, this was by design, apparently. The designers of the, still adequately fast, CB35-B3340 deliberately sacrificed speed to gain extended battery life. This is a good bargain, especially if you need or want to be able to use your Toshiba Chromebook away from conventional power sources for extended periods of time.
Although the HD resolution allows a significantly better picture than many Chromebooks, color patterns do seem to shift when the screen is viewed from certain angles. One other downside, to those who like to tinker with their gadgets, is the fact that upgrades can only be done in the factory.



Customers like their new Toshiba Chromebooks

The general consensus among customers from Amazon, Staples, and Walmart is that this product deserves to have a rating somewhere between 4 and 5 stars. Professional reviewers were somewhat less generous, allowing the Toshiba device just four stars in most instances. However, this discrepancy between professional critics and customers may say more about the reviewers than the product.

The Toshiba CB35-3340 does deserve a look.

The Toshiba Chromebook 2 is worth considering as your next Chromebook if only because of its relatively low price. At least one vendor was offering it at just under $300. So, while some competitor’s Chromebooks compare favorably, this Toshiba version has plenty of positive features which combined with the modest price, make it well worth considering.

Best Laptop Computer Brands for Students Today

Students know that they are going to need certain tools and supplies to help them during their school career. They usually need notebooks for recording information, calculators for completing complex equations and laptops for accessing online classes. Laptops and personal computers are two of the most important items that students will need. Why, because they can perform many of the routine activities that students typically encounter when they are being educated.

Trying to figure out what types of PCs and laptops are the best student PC brand can be very challenging. The following information is designed to help college and high school attendees to figure out the best and cheapest computer models.

Apple MacBooks


Apple MacBooks are among the best laptop computers there are on the market. MacBook laptops are slim in design, light to carry and have an aluminum covering. They have lots of processing speed, plenty of storage space and can be used to take notes, write reports and run various software programs that can aid students in their work. The MacBook keyboards are well designed, the unit has a backlight that will automatically turn on in dark environments and the screen resolution is extremely astonishing. The 2014 and 2015 MacBook models have up to 1.4 GHz of processing speed, 8 GB of memory and 512 GB of HD. Most MacBooks have a 12-hour span of battery life. The units are also sold in the colors gold, silver and space gray.



There are different types of Chromebook models and they are often paired up with different brands. Manufacturers such as Asus, Samsung, Acer and HP all have a version of the Chromebook for sale in their product line up. All Chromebooks are defined by the type of operating system that they run. The Google operating system is used for all Chromebook models. Most of the programs or applications that are featured with Chromebook are based on the cloud. Students will find this feature useful since they can easily access the programs and documents that they will need by simply having an internet connection.

One of the better Chromebook models is known as Chromebook Pixel. This unit features an amazing resolution that will even remain bright when the sun is shining directly onto the screen. Students who like to do their work outdoors will find this benefit very useful. Some Chromebook laptops are designed like hybrid tablet laptops and offer user flexibility and ease of use. Remember that Chrome stands for the operating system that has been included in a particular laptop model. This means that some companies will create powerful laptop hardware units that will run Google’s Chrome OS efficiently and effectively. Chromebooks are a great choice for a student laptop model.

Microsoft Based Laptop Models


Most of the laptop models on the market today use the Microsoft operating system. Many brands such as Acer, HP, and Dell use Microsoft 8.1 OS. This system can be configured for touchscreen operations or it can be used with a keyboard and mouse. Students can access some great programs that will help them out tremendously while they are in class. Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Publisher are three great tools that can be used by students to write dissertations and to display in class reports. Depending on the model, a Microsoft based laptop typically has 2 GHz of processing speed, 4 GB of RAM and at least 250 GB of HD. These specs provide students with more than enough power to complete most educational tasks.

Keep in mind that computer companies such as Acer, Dell, and HP all have dependable laptop models that can be used for school-related purposes. Some of these models include the Acer Aspire series and the Dell Inspiron line. HP has its Stream-based computers and Lenovo has its Yoga models. These laptops provide more than enough power, function, and features to make schoolwork a breeze.

Also, most of these units are affordable. Some of the newer laptop models such as the Apple line can be somewhat expensive. Cheap student computers can be purchased second hand. Do not forget that all computers including laptops depreciate very quickly which means that students should be able to find an affordable and dependable used model if they have to go this route.

Students can go online to check out some of the best laptop models on the market today. Some really great sites such as PC magazine provide great laptop reviews for consumers.

Chromebooks vs. Netbooks for Students: What’s Right for You?

Chromebook and netbook are two tools that college and high school students can use to help them with their coursework. A Chromebook is a laptop that uses the Google Chrome operational system. A netbook is a smaller version of a laptop that does not have a disc drive or the ability to hook up other types of equipment and devices to the unit. These two forms of technology are basically the same thing but they are uniquely different. Let me explain.

As I had already mentioned, A Chromebook is a laptop but a Chromebook can also be a netbook. Why? If a netbook was built with Google Chrome’s OS it would qualify as a Chromebook. There are some netbook brands that feature Google Chrome’s OS system. Technically they are considered Chromebooks.Even though this is the case, most Chromebooks are laptop models. The difference between a laptop and a netbook has to do with the hardware. Laptops are generally bigger and more powerful than netbooks. They are also more versatile with function. Here is an evaluation of a basic Chromebook based laptop and its strengths and weaknesses when compared to a netbook based unit.

User Interface

Google Chrome OS has a unique interface that simply does not allow users to keep their files on the desktop. Instead, users will have to access them from the web. As of 2015 Google Chrome OS systems have added improvements which allow users to perform offline computer-related functions, but most computers with the Chrome OS system will not have this feature unless they download updates. Chrome OS is a great tool for students when they have web-based activities that they must complete for class. However, if they need to do work offline; then they will be restricted without the updates. Keep in mind that Google Chrome’s OS is simply a web browser.

A netbook is usually outfitted with an OS that will allow users to use their devices online or while they are disconnected from the web. Netbooks do not require a WiFi access to be useful, even though they usually cannot provide users with more storage space and security than Google Chrome’s online cloud storage system.

The verdict: Chromebooks are the superior device as long as they stay connected online. Netbooks are better for students who do not have a steady or reliable internet connection. Students who have to do term papers or record notes with their device would be limited if they use a Chromebook without a web connection.

Applications and Programs

A computer is a piece of hardware that is designed to run a program or application. Computers can still work without software but people would have to know how to write a bunch of code to make them perform certain activities. Software, programs, and apps simplify this process for computer users.

Chromebooks cannot run CD-ROM based discs. This means that a student will not be able to install a hard disc program onto their unit. Chromebooks only allow users to access programs from the web. These programs can be a part of the Google Play market or exclusive to Chrome OS.

Netbooks do not have disc drives for installing software. This means that users will not be able to install programs unless they download them onto their machines. Unlike Chromebook, netbooks can download different types of programs as long as they have the ability to operate this software in terms of specs.

The verdict: Students who want to use their Chromebook or netbook to watch DVDs or to install the latest programs should not use the Chromebook or netbook for these purposes. Both of these machines are best suited for downloading and operating online applications and software.

Google Chrome OS is a quick system that is not slowed down by extra protocols and processes that are typically found with standard OS systems. Chrome OS will load up to 8 seconds and users will be able to zip around the web at a faster pace since it was designed for this purpose. Netbooks are inherently slower than most Chromebooks and they are restricted as well. While it is true that some netbooks do allow users to add various pieces of hardware and extra equipment they still restrict users in terms of functions, power, and upgrades. Again, both of these machines are limited in terms of using hard disc programs. Some online sites such as Laptop Mag makes comparisons between these two units that help to point out their pros and cons.

The verdict: A student would be better off using a Chromebook if they have constant access to the internet. Chromebooks are the superior product in this regard. However, if a person does not always have the ability to get online they should use a netbook since they will be able to use their machine offline. Ultimately, both products are great for students depending on how they are going to be used.

Keeping It Productive: Best Tech for Students

It’s that time of year again. Students are gearing up in an attempt to make the most out of the coming school term. If you are like me, that also means keeping track of a never-ending list of assignments and projects. Staying on top of your assignments don’t have to be time consuming or expensive. With the right combination of tools, you can glide through group projects and still have time for a social life. This list is my favorite productivity tools for the new school term. Some of them are free apps and others are affordable laptops that can handle both Netflix and term papers with ease. Regardless of your back to school needs, these must-haves are worth a look


2-in-1 Tablets

The Acer Aspire Switch 11 SW5-111-102R is a 2-in-1 that retails under $400 USD. It has amazing battery life and weighs just 3.2lbs with the keyboard attached. If mobility is the priority for you then this is a great value. You won’t get the lightning fast speed that comes with a stronger processor, but you can stream movies and check your e-mail without a hitch.

The Microsoft Surface 3 is a cheaper version of the Surface Pro 3. With a weaker CPU and only 2GB of memory, the 10-inch convertible is more like an upgraded tablet than a convertible. Still, it comes with Office 365 for your basic needs and is an excellent option if you prefer using your tablet to take notes in class and update your calendar.


When it comes to affordable midgrade laptops for students, gamers, and professionals I am a great fan of Lenovo. So it’s no wonder that two Lenovo laptops round up my list of affordable laptops for students. They are the ThinkPad L540 and the Z40. Both laptops retail at around $600 dollars and the product to price ratio is quite high on both of these laptops.

The ThinkPad has a 15.6-inch matte display and Intel Core i3-4000M processor. It, like many of Lenovo’s products, was not designed to be ultra light and sleek. At 5.3lbs, it could get a little heavy if you have to carry it around all day, but the battery life is decent, even when you have multiple applications running at the same time.

The Z40 is a sporty number, good for class assignments and some movie streaming. It features a hybrid drive and anIntel Core i-5-4200U processor. it also has facial recognition software built-in, if you are into that kind of thing. The Z40 is powerful enough for video editing and gaming but also pulls off a host of other work-related tasks without a hitch.



You know that thing you saw that one time that you thought would make a really good thesis project? Can’t find it again? Forgot the brilliant idea that you were positive would turn into the plot of your first novel? Literally washed your class notes with your dirty laundry last night? Evernote is the solution to this problem. It keeps all of your “read later” and “just an idea” and class notes (if you are into that kind of thing) in one place. The best part is that it is accessible across all of your devices and FREE.


This is another great FREE platform to store the things we need, like large files of class readings or the 300 photos you took during summer break. I recommend using Dropbox to backup important files for projects. Like almost all of the tools I recommend, it is accessible from your computer or smartphone, so you are never more than a click away from your important documents, videos, and pictures.

Graphing Calculator

This app for your smartphone is capable of replacing your TI-86. Why would you lug around a graphing calculator if you can use your smartphone? This app is currently available on iOS and Android for free.


The best thing about this app is all the things it won’t allow you to do. Freedom allows you to block distracting apps for hours at a time. You can schedule sessions and designate which apps you want to shut down. Voila, hours of uninterrupted writing, studying, reading, etc. Freedom is a productivity app that, once again, works across all of your devices.
With these free tools and all of the awesome tools offered on the Google suite, you should be well on your way to being brilliant on a budget.

Looking For The Best Back to School Student Laptop Deals

It’s that time of year.

September is fast approaching which means if you’re a student you’ll be back in school soon; if you haven’t returned already. The years are long since gone when back to school meant simply packing a lunch, (or having mom do it for you) throwing your textbooks, notebooks, pencils and other simple necessities into a book bag or a backpack and heading off to school. We’re well into the second generation of kids who have grown up in the computer age students for whom a computer is as necessary as pencils were for their grandparents. Computers have become a necessity for students and for most that means a laptop.

So, whether you’re in graduate school or grade school you might find yourself in the market for a laptop and, therefore interested in finding the best possible back to school laptop deals.

A few things to keep in mind

Before you head to town or go online to find the best deal you can on the laptop computer that you’ll use to get the most out of the upcoming school year here are some factors you’ll want to keep in mind.

  • Don’t let bargain hunting become settling for inadequate.
    Before you start shopping make a list of the features your
    new laptop needs to have. For example, will you be using it
    for research and writing papers? Then you’ll want to find
    a laptop that is fast enough for you to keep up with your


  • Your school may have specific requirements for your computer.
    if you’re in college this is what growing up is all about; it’s your
    responsibility to know these things. If you buy the wrong type of
    laptop it won’t matter how good a bargain you found: you’ll still
    regret the money you wasted.


  • It’s not just about knowing about technology. Bargain hunting is
    pretty much the same no matter what type of product or service
    you are looking for. People who find the best bargains are patient,
    persistent, and above all do their research.

So where should I look for a bargain laptop computer?

It’s likely you’ll find your new laptop in one of three venues: online, in a box store, or in a small local computer store. Each venue has its own advantages. If you can find a good bargain at a local store you might get superior service if that should be needed. On the other hand, many box stores that specialize in technological products also provide very reliable customer service. Online shopping for anything has the advantage of convenience. At first glance it might seem like this is the way to go. The problem is this; even though you might purchase the same back to school laptop for your student at Amazon as at Walmart you can’t examine the specific item before purchase when you buy it online. Often this doesn’t matter because return policies at vendors like Amazon are fair and honored. It wouldn’t matter in this case either if it wasn’t for the fact, let’s face it, that you’re down to the wire. The last thing you want is to be two days into classes and have to ship your new laptop back.

Large brick and mortar merchants may be the best bet.

For many people, purchasing items online may be such an integral part of them at this point that the risk of having to ship something back simply seems too remote to make up for the inconvenience of actually having to go into a store. Still, large box stores may be the best choice overall as the place to look for a back to school laptop.
A recent laptop mag article mentions BestBuy as an example of a store that is currently offering good deals. The same article also points out that bargains aren’t just available for retailers. Lenovo and Apple are both examples of manufacturers that are targeting the student market. Online vendors want to get in on the fun the traditional stores and the computer companies are having so bargains can also be found at places like Amazon and Newegg. In fact, the laptop mag article points out that all sorts of bargains on technological equipment can be found at the Newegg student store.

Don’t forget to mention you’re a student.

In some cases, prices will be marked down just because it’s that time of year. Some merchants may offer discounts specifically to students. So, if possible, find out where those are and factor that into your decision about where to shop. If you don’t have time at this point to do the research required to find out if a student discount is offered, just ask.
Time is running out. school is about to start. Make your decision and buy the best laptop you can at the best price possible. Then buckle down and study hard. The world is counting on you.