Google has just announced their first personal entry into the world of notebook computing with the Chrome OS powered Chromebook Pixel; A $1,300 13-inch Retina caliber touchscreen laptop with top of the line specs all around.
When the first several Chromebooks were launched, there was a sort of standard included that laid out what the machines were for. Extremely affordable computing, available with little to no compromise. The Chromebook Pixel completely destroys that.
Coming in with a 12.85-inch 2560 x 1700 touch capable display, the Chromebook Pixel is aimed directly at Apple’s latest generation MackBook Pros, and MacBook Airs. Crafted with anodized aluminum, the Chromebook Pixel is powered by a dual-core Intel Core i5 clocked at 1.5GHz, along with 4GB of DDR3 RAM, Intel HD 4000 graphics, and features a 720p HD camera for video chatting. The base WiFi model comes with 32GB of on-board storage and one terabyte of Google Drive storage for three years, while the Verizon LTE enabled model comes with 64GB of storage at $1,450.
According to early hands on impressions, the Chromebook Pixel feels amazing. It boasts rounded corners to feel comfortable against your wrist, an extra sturdy hinge meant to last and the trackpad is one of the best ever produced.
As impressive as the Chromebook Pixel is, the timing stills feels a bit off. Chromebooks have been celebrated for their price. Hailed as the beginning of a technological revolution. A mere $200 can buy someone access to the largest collection of information the human race has ever known? Google is clearly on to something here. Take the same software that those $200 machines run, and throw it on to a machine that costs some $1,000 more, and Google’s master plan starts to get confusing.
If Google could have done something like turn a current MacBook Air into a $500-600 Chromebook, this would feel a bit different. Like Google made a competitive machine capable of handling anything anything Chrome OS can run, for a very attractive price. Instead, we’re left wondering what Google is thinking. Chrome’s Sundar Pichai says the Chromebook was crafted around strong design. Created for “those who demand premium hardware, those who are writing the next generation of applications.”
Right now, Chrome OS still feels like a browser, with little more to it. A $1,300 machine that runs just a browser then, hardly makes sense. If this is what developers need to be pushed to really take advantage of Chrome OS, so be it. You can buy a Chromebook Pixel and experience what is clearly some of the best designed high-end technology available to consumers. Someday, I imagine that hardware, especially the touchscreen and high-resolution display, will really shine. Just don’t buy a Chromebook Pixel right now and expect it to be an entirely different machine than the ones that cost $250.
If you want to experience Chrome OS on the absolute best hardware possible, the Chromebook Pixel is in stock in Google Play now.