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CTL SB4 Chromebook Launches in US Priced $199

CTL Chromebook SB4

The CTL Chromebook SB4

A new Chromebook from American OEM CTL launches stateside this month, with a rather lowly $199 price tag attached.

The CTL SB4 Chromebook SB4 joins the company’s Rockchip-based J2 and J4 education Chromebooks and the earlier, Intel-based NL6 (aka the ‘briefcase Chromebook‘).

“The CTL SB4 has a sophisticated design with a thin profile making this Chromebook versatile for the classroom or the boardroom,” CTL President Erik Stromquist says of the new device in a press release.

CTL Chromebook SB4 Specs & Price

The SB4 offers a lengthy 9.5 hours of battery life and is powered by a middling, but capable, Intel Celeron N2840 processor (dual-core, 2.16GHz).

On the plus side, the model comes with 4GB RAM as standard. a trend other Chromebook OEMs should definitely follow.

A standard 11.6-inch (1366 x 768) HD LED display won’t catch your eye but is certainly acceptable for the $199 price tag.

In a sea of humdrum middle of the road Chromebooks boasting Intel processors the latest offering form CTL barely has its head above the water.

CTL is offering the SB4 will Chrome Device Management licenses, which will help to sweeten the appeal of the device with educators.

But lacking the pragmatic hardware touches of their earlier education offerings, one of which we dubbed the ultimate education Chromebook, it’s hard to gauge whether the SB4 will hold its own against similarly priced and ‘ruggedised’ education Chromebooks from Acer, ASUS and others.

  • john

    I understand that all these companies are simply reusing parts – it’s part of the reason why we see so many 16:9, 1366×768 displays. Manufacturing new, non 16:9 screens, is cost-prohibitive. They’re all basically slapping together, high volume, OTC (over-the-counter) parts.

    Nothing sets one low-cost Chromebook from another. If I want a 3:2 or 16:10 screen, I have to pay a premium – which is currently an obnoxiously high premium.

    The irony here is that Chromebooks, best on non-16:9, since it’s essentially a browser, are practically non-existent (except for the over-priced Pixel). Another TV set with a keyboard…

    • HarryWarden

      Typing this on a new LS Pixel. Price is somewhat absurd (but better than it was for the original Pixel) but the machine is great.

      • Michael Huff

        I’ve read many reviews and articles where they say it’s “the nicest computer I’ve ever owned.” Congrats on your ownership, my friend. It’s a worthy purchase.

    • Keith Reeder

      Screen ratio does not define the effectiveness and usefulness of a machine.

  • Biky Alex

    Since Baytrail and Ivy Bridge, Celeron CPU aren’t that bad of a deal at a low price. But all Chromebooks weakness is the storage. I know it’s just a “gateway to the cloud”, but I find it a pretty terrible excuse when these laptops are over-sized phones without SIM slot. 16 GB of RAM is not enough for any user.

    If somebody would launch a 64 GB Chromebook with 4 GB of RAM and an Atom x5-Z8500 at a reasonable price, I bet it would sell like hot cakes. Also a phone can pretty much replace current gen Chromebook. If Lenovo would launch a new Motorola Atrix with a Lapdock docking station, at the specs of current Chromebooks, it might sell very well too.

    I also see almost all Chromebooks like being the same on the inside (except for Pixel C). Though I’m interested in Chromebooks as a Linux machine…

    • What are you doing with all that HDD space? Storing files locally on a Chromebook defeats the purpose of the device, especially in an edu setting.

      • Biky Alex

        Just storing normal files, documents, photos, videos, school projects. I don’t like keeping them in the cloud (how do I access files when I have limited Internet connection? – it happens often to me). Even in an edu setting, at college I keep all my “notebooks” locally. Especially since we have only 1 access point in all the campus.

        Some schools might have 1 AP every 20 meters, that’s fine. But here we aren’t dependent on the Internet, we store courses locally (and the teachers have them on USB sticks and project them). All the lessons doesn’t fill up 16 GB, but photos and videos do.

        • Mi Pen

          I have a secondhand C720…has a 320GB old style hard drive. You can get them on ebay cheap. Or just use the SD slot and stick in a 64GB card.

    • jeffmaz

      SD card takes care of any extra storage if you need it… but you won’t. Me, my family and a dozen employees use Chromebooks for our business – and have for 2 years. Nobody has come close to filing up 16gb CB storage.

      Why are you even on this site?

      • Biky Alex

        I’m interested in Chromebooks only as Linux machines. Nothing else.

        • oneleft1

          Sorry mate. Because a Chromebook doesn’t meet your needs as a Linux machine isn’t a valid arguing point against Chromebooks.

          • Biky Alex

            I’m not against them, where did I say that? I just pointed their weakness.

          • Keith Reeder

            It’s not a weakness FOR A CHROMEBOOK.

            Which bit of that don’t you understand?

          • Biky Alex

            Small storage is a weakness for all devices. Even cloud-based devices need some storage (how are you going to play your music library without Internet access? especially in zones without a phone signal or when you have a data cap). Android phones have bigger storage than these Chromebooks, not to mention Samsung is already working on a 256 GB flash storage for phones.

          • Keith Reeder

            It’s a “weakness” only when it can’t be addressed!

            I’ve got a 128 gb SD card permanently in my Chromebook; and I can plug in a 128 gb USB 3.0 stick, or a 1tb external HDD whenever I need to.

            So where – EXACTLY – is this Chromebook storage “weakness”?

          • Biky Alex

            There are few Chromebooks that have an SD card slot, but this is not one of them. And USB sticks or external HDDs aren’t an option. Ok maybe I’m a little harsh on USB sticks, there are some small, almost invisible when plugged in, but still, it’s an additional cost for a budget laptop.

            This discussion is pointless now, as neither of us will accept the other’s opinion. You have your requirements, I have mine. And having less than at least 32 GB of storage is a weakness (now it’s kind of rising to 64 GB, as technology gets cheaper).

          • Michael Huff

            It’s intended partially as a vehicle for Google’s cloud storage, which after two years requires a monthly subscription. That’s not a bad thing but it’s really easy to become kind of hooked on it. I’m one of the lucky ones that got his the year sales exploded and got a whole terabyte for two years instead of just 100MB. So yeah, the amount of local storage is crippled specifically in favor of Google Drive. But this way you don’t have to set up SyncThing or BitTorrent Sync or OwnCloud for file synchronization. Like I said, it’s kind of addictive. And let’s not forget that on many Chromebook models you can swap out the SSD. SOME, not all.

          • Biky Alex

            I tought they were using soldered SSD or eMMC. That’s some valuable info, thanks !

          • Michael Huff

            No, no problem buddy. I know my Acer Chromebook 15 has an actual removable SSD. Also remember that so much as opening your Chromebook casing will likely void your warranty. But at these prices it’s okay. Also research the insides of your Chromebook so you don’t buy the wrong type of drive. And definitely make a bootable USB backup of ChromeOS before doing any of this because you WILL need it. But it’s a lot of fun. I’ve got two of them.

        • view2share

          Then buy a Windows laptop and install Ubuntu, or buy something from System76 – they will sell you an Ubuntu Linux laptop. A Chromebook has a USB slot to add as much photos as you could ever shoot in a lifetime, as in USB harddrives and thumbdrives to stick in there. Of course the Chromebook has Cloud space — the way it is suppose to work. Can’t expect a Miata to be a good truck.

          • Biky Alex

            Well, that’s true.

        • Kent Krive Jr

          Then load Linux on a Chromebook. I’ve got Debian w/xfce on mine…

        • Keith Reeder

          So basically you’re whining about Chromebooks not being suitable for something they’re not designed to be suitable for?


        • Beorn Morder

          It took me barely any time to install a 256GB m.2 42mm SSD in my Acer C720. I have another 256GB SD Card that I use for backing up. Since chromebooks are built from Gentoo… they have amazing support. With distros like Galium OS, installing linux has been made super easy. For the price – they are the best linux laptop on the market.

          • Biky Alex

            I thought most chromebooks had ssds soldered onboard, like phones

          • Beorn Morder

            Most RAM is soldered on, but the only models I know of with soldered SSDs are the Pixel line.

  • Stan Elliott

    You can’t compare a Chromebook to a PC, They are two different things.
    They are not supposed to be the same,(otherwise they would be the same)
    Its like saying an mobile phone is not as good as a printer.

    • Michael Huff

      That’s pretty extreme, especially since you can do many of the same things on Chromebook as you can with a PC. It’s still a computer. Just not as capable as a computer with larger storage capacity, faster CPU and an OS with less online dependency. I use mine as a Linux machine when I’m on the go.

  • Muss60

    My £199 Acer C710 from years ago is being used on a daily basis?

  • Andrew Gomez

    Limited File Storage isn’t an issue with my Acer C720 Chromebook. My Downloads Folder (i.e. 16 gb onboard storage) is permanently left empty. Downloads/ files are stored by default on 1) My SD card that’s always plugged in. Then, backed up regularly on my 2) external 500GB usb hdd and 3) duplicates are stored in the cloud viz. my Google Drive.This is great since Chromebooks are designed primarily for the cloud. Plus, whenever I (frequently) powerwash my CB, my data on SD, external HDD and in Google Drive stays safe, sound and untouched. I’m a happy little Vegemite :)

  • angellacoleman

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