First day review of Toshiba CB35-A3120 13.3-Inch Chromebook


No seriously. Guys.

This Toshiba CB35 is a really nice laptop. I wasn’t expecting it. I was expecting an OK laptop. But it isn’t an OK laptop. It’s a really nice laptop. If you read this blog or know me you know that I’m super duper hard on computers. I use every single stinking core, I max out the ram, I make computers hurt. I bought this laptop because I wanted an easy disposable computer for random hacking. Well, golly, it’s won me over.

So, I received it yesterday. What’s the first thing I did?

  1. Boot it into developer mode
  2. Install ubuntu on it
  3. Have a linux laptop

It was incredible. It was a solid linux laptop. But here’s the crazy part. You know what I did immediately after doing that?

  1. Restore it back to base chromium

Why?!?! Why would I do such a thing? Because I can always hit Ctrl-Alt-T and get a terminal. Turns out, all I really want out of a laptop is a super fast web browser and the ability to ssh to computers where I do real work. I don’t want to keep my code or my data on my laptop, no matter how nice it is. Why? Because laptops break. Because laptops get stolen. Because laptops.

I am typing this blog post on this laptop right now. It’s fast. It feels solid. It’s got a delightful keyboard. It’s got a great screen. It was $279 freaking dollars. For 300 bucks delivered next day to my house I have a solid laptop, running a UNIX OS, with a webcam, with a real solid feel, that I can use to hit RStudio server on my development machine. I can then ssh to the linux server and type “domino run foo.R” to have that same analytics code run in the cloud. I am not limited.

Everything that is old is new again. This is a vt100 for 2014. I do all my serious work on servers managed by true deep wizards, and I have my own little disposable fun device.

If you are at all on the fence, buy one. If you are a programmer who has access to a shell account on a real server somewhere, buy one. If you want a computer you can carry without fear of getting it stolen or having it walk away? Buy one. If you want a laptop with 9 freaking hours of battery life? Buy one.

I can’t say enough nice things day 1 about this Chromebook. Good job, good effort.

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3 Responses to First day review of Toshiba CB35-A3120 13.3-Inch Chromebook

  1. Thanks…

    steps to install ubuntu / linux mint on this one?

  2. Do you have a guide to install?

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