Google has been talking up the Chromebook Pixel for a while now. It is the latest iteration in the search engine giant’s foray into computer hardware and was designed to be a more full-featured version of their popular Chromebook series of laptops/netbooks. These small, inexpensive net devices have become popular because they feature speed, reliability, and “just enough” to keep users happy. But did Google make a big mistake when they released the Chromebook Pixel?
Several analysts say “yes.”
Chromebook Pixel Specs
Unlike other computers in the Chromebook line, Pixel shot for the stars.
These little bad boys come complete with 1.8GHz Core i5 processors and amazing (or not-so) 3,560 x 1,700 touchscreens. When tethered to the LTE (shipping in April) network they’re also seriously fast – as fast, some say, as in-home WiFi.
As far as memory goes, you’re pretty much stuck with a measly 4GB. It’s good enough but could be a lot better. Chrome does make up for the RAM deficiencies with multiple solid state drive options for permanent storage – which is a nice addition but hardly ground-breaking. You’ll also get 1 terabyte from Google’s Drive for virtual storage free for three years.
There’s also an ergonomic keyboard and smooth glass trackpad thrown in to make browsing the Web easier than ever before. Because that’s what this Chromebook Pixel was designed to do … and not much else.
Why the Chromebook Pixel is a Bad Idea
It’s simply too expensive. With price tags hanging right around $1,300 you could get yourself a basic MacBook Air or a spectacular PC. Toss in another handful of clams and you could own a Macbook Pro for goodness sake!
However, for the price tag, you don’t get much more than a standard Chromebook gives you. These computers are designed to be light, responsive, and use the Chrome OS for everything. That means that they’re just not going to measure up to a more performance-based system. Yes, you’ll get high-speed Internet and the ability to open Word Documents flawlessly with Quickoffice – an attribute that Senior VP of Chomre Sundar Pichai says “completes the story for a lot of users.” You’ll also get access to a number of handy Chrome Apps that make the computer a little more attractive and useful.
However, it’s still essentially a machine built around an operating system instead of the other way around. It’s almost like a rather large smartphone rather than a true laptop.
The screen – which is the big draw for this machine – is slick but it’s also weird. With 4 million or so pixels, it will make your eyes bleed. However, the aspect has been changes from the standard 16:9 to 3:2. That gives users more vertical space for easily browsing the web but it just feels forced and awkward.
Another drawback is the longevity of this machine. Chrome built the Pixel to last just three years. That’s their entire expected lifespan. For nearly $1,400 I would be expecting a little longer, wouldn’t you?
The bottom line is that the Chromebook Pixel just isn’t a good buy. If you want a Chromebook instead of a heavy duty PC, get one of the cheaper versions. If you’re expecting the Chromebook Pixel to compare to a Macbook Pro, don’t be deceived. If you need anything in the way of productivity, find an actual laptop not one of Chrome’s desiccated versions.