Review of Toshiba Chromebook 2 Native Linux Installation

About 7 months ago, I decided to give Chromebook a chance. So I went for the Toshiba Chromebook 2. It had a reasonable price at 225 dollars. Also, the laptop has a slim design, and very lightweight. After doing a bit of research, I went and bought it. I was kind of skeptical about Chrome OS, but I had research about installing Linux natively on the chromebook, just in case I would not been satisfied with ChromOS. Most of the guides I read on installing Linux on chrome OS had very good things to say about the boost in performance, and how compatible Toshiba chromebook was with Linux. I tested the laptop with Chrome OS for about a month. So my first impression was the fact that working on the browser was not for me. But I wanted to give it a chance, so I tried running Linux on top of Chrome OS using Chrouton. But that was not giving me the full Linux experience I wanted. I decided to do a full install. The full install has some risk involved because you have to flash the bios with a new bios software (seaBios). And that means you will not be able to install Chrome Os. Unless you backup your Bios first. Moreover, it is recommended that you make a usb backup utility of your chromeOS. You can find this

I’ve had Linux installed on my Chromebook 2 for 7 months, and I can say it works a lot better. After trying different Linux distribution, I settle for GalliumOS. It is meant for Chrome devices. The compatibility between GalliumOS and the hardware, was not a problem. It detected everything. Even the sound, and mic that had been problematic with prior distributions. But here’s my review by categories.

“if you want to hear what other users are saying click here. These reviews are from users who purchased Toshiba Chromebook 2.”

Installing Linux Natively:
If you’re a Linux lover like I am, and dare to go for a native Linux install, this laptop is for you. The first Linux I tried was Linux Mint. Here, I ran into a bit of problems. Mainly with Mint ability to detect the mousepad. I had to use a usb mouse with Mint; therefore, that was a deal-breaker. Other than that Linux Mint perform just fine (not great). The second Linux distro I installed was Xubuntu. This time I had better luck with hardware detection and performance. The mouse-pad was detected, installation was a quick; however, the sound and microphone gave me a bit of trouble, which I fixed by upgrading to latest version of Xubuntu. it wasn’t until I got on Toshiba Chromebook 2 Google+ group, that someone suggested to me that GalliumOS was designed for chromebook. Then I gave this one a try, and everything worked right off the bat. Even the microphone. So if your going for Linux install on chrombook I highly recommend GalliumOS or Xubuntu, due to small overhead of Desktop Manager, and hardware compatibility.

Important Links for Installing Linux on Toshiba Chromebook
Create a recovery media of Chromeos

Preparing and Installing

Download GalliumOS
Hardware compatibility list

Toshiba Chromebook 2 CB35-3330 Specs:
Processor: Intel Celeron N2840 2.16 GHz
Memory: 2 GB DDR3L SDRAM
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
O.S.Chrome OS
Display: 13.3″ LCD (1366 x 768)
Storage: 16 GB SSD
Connectivity: 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0, HDMI, HD Webcam, 802.1 b/g/n, Bluetooth
Battery: Upto 11 hours
Weight: 3 pounds
Price: ~ 200$

Linux is incredibly good at detecting and using hardware efficiently. So after Linux install, I got a boost in performance. Programs start faster, and they run faster too. Even though, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 cb35 is limited to only 2G of memory, multitasking is faster. And one of the best thing about this laptop is the battery life. I charge the laptop at night, and I use it during the full day without recharging. Another thing to mention is that it never heats up. The temperature on this laptop remains really low ,even when doing graphics editing or recording screen sessions. These are the most cpu intensive applications and somehow the chromebook seems to hold pretty well. I have been able to run virutalbox with two virtual guest at the same time. And it did it with only 2 Gs of memory.

The Toshiba Chromebook 2 is a very slim laptop, and it weights about 2.7 pounds. It has two usb ports and one slot for SD card. It has a silver / metallic color, and the keyboard has black keys. Also, comes with a hdmi port. It has a webcam, and a microphone. The display is a full 13.3 HD display with a resolution of 1366×768, and it looks a bigger given the size of the laptop.

This is probably one of the best thing about this laptop, it is easy to pack on your backpack or just carry around. It all comes back to the slim design, and lightweight. Moreover, the battery life on the chromebook 2 makes it possible to carry the laptop on your pack without the charger. Unless you will be gone for more than a full day. I usually work on my laptop during the day (morning and afternoon) and charge it at night. I can go easily 8 hours of work without recharging the chromebook.

This laptop is not very expensive like other laptops. But the design and portability of the laptop, and how well works with Linux installed, makes it worth the investment. Especially, if you’re someone who commute with your laptop, and work from different places. In my opinion, I would like to see the Toshiba chromebook 2 under 200 $ in the future. However, that’s not very likely to happen, especially with a new chromebook. But one can only wish, right?

One of shortcomings of the chromebook 2 is lack of storage, as it contains only 16G of local space. You will find soon after installing Linux, that if you save your data on local SSD drive, you run out of space. But don’t panic. You can get an SD card and have it plugged in on your laptop. You could use that as your storage, and save your data there. I bought a 128G SD card and that’s where I save my data.
128 GB SD Card on

Final Thoughts:
I would definitely recommend this laptop. The Toshiba Chromebook 2 is a great laptop. Especially, for technically inclined people, who are not afraid to try something new. Also, the long lasting battery, and slick design is worth the investment. Commuting with this laptop is very hassle free. It’s lightweight and don’t take too much space. Finally, if you’re a Linux lover like I am, and dare to do a native installation of Linux, you couldn’t go wrong.

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