Article by: Kevin Go, Posted on Feb 23, 2013, SATURDAY, 1:50 A.M.
Since its inception back in 2011, the Google’s line of Chromebook laptops has been considered nothing more than niche ultraportables with a very small user base which is, probably just a result of the product’s attractively cheap price tag. Either way, looks like there’s no stopping the Mountain View company from releasing a more glorified version of its ‘cloudbook’ since a significantly more powerful, stylish and expensive Chromebook is now up for grabs at the Google Play Store portal, how expensive you say? Let the $1,300 price tag of the 32 gigabyte model do the talking.
The aptly-named Chromebook Pixel boasts a Gorilla Glass-fused, ‘pixel dense’ 12.85 inch touchscreen panel (2,560 by 1,700 resolution) with an aspect ratio of 3:2 which is meant to make viewing of webpages a more pleasant experience. What lies underneath the Pixel’s hood is just as high-end as its display since this little thing’s ticker is no other than the latest dual-core Intel Core i5 chip that’s clocked at 1.8 gigahertz, four gigabytes of DDR3 memory is included as well as 32 gigabytes of internal storage.
Don’t be shocked by the minuscule amount of storage space, the Chromebook Pixel comes bundled with a massive one terabyte’s worth of Google Drive cloud storage for up to three years, a dozen free sessions of GoGo in-flight internet service and a hundred megabytes per month of mobile data for two years courtesy of Verizon Wireless — the last bit only comes with the 64 gigabyte, LTE-ready variant of the Pixel.
As for other cool bits, the Chromebook Pixel’s body is made out of anodized aluminum and serves as a home to the backlit chiclet-style ‘Chrome’ keyboard, etched-glass trackpad, a high-definition video chat camera, two USB 2.0 ports, a mini display port and a two-in-one SD card slot. There’s also a headphone/microphone jack which is a pretty standard affair for notebooks. The outer shell of the display is where the Google-themed ‘light bar’ is found, it does “look cool”.
Everyone is aware of Google’s interesting approach in audio quality, remember when the tech community was awe-struck by the impressive audiophile-grade hardware of the now defunct Nexus Q? The Chromebook Pixel’s built-in microphone array, dedicated digital signal processor for noise suppression and hidden “powerful speakers” that are “tuned for clarity” will certainly justify the search giant’s extra effort on that front.
Just like on Apple’s Macbook computers, the Pixel’s cooling vents are hidden underneath the display hinge but Google added a new ‘functional’ twist to this design, according to the search giant, the Pixel’s “finely tuned” iano hinge also acts as a heatsink apart from housing a duo of WiFi antennas. Interesting.
Back to the price tags, the 32 gigabyte ‘WiFi only’ 32 gigabyte Chromebook Pixel costs $1,299. The 64 gigabyte WiFi and 4G LTE-ready variant costs $1,449. Both variants come with one terabyte Google Drive cloud storage for three years and twelve free sessions of GoGo in-flight Internet, only the LTE-ready model comes bundled with the 100 MB/month worth of cellular data from Verizon Wireless for 24 months.
As for price comparisons, Apple’s Macbook Pro with the 13-inch Retina display only costs $1,499 and can probably serve your needs better — feature and hardware-wise. The Macbook Pro comes with a more powerful 2.5 gigahertz Core i5 processor, twice the amount of RAM, a longer 7-hour battery life (Pixel only has a 5 hour runtime) not to mention, a more powerful operating system, the display resolution is just as dense too.
Another contender worthy of your attention is the Microsoft Surface Pro which starts at $899 (64 gigabyte), but that comes with more sacrifices since it’s posing to be a tablet with the functionality of a laptop but it’s too bulky and the battery life is too short for a tablet, its 10-inch 1080p display is well-loved though and the portability it offers (but hampered by the power brick you have to constantly carry with you) is a plus, don’t forget to get a ‘Type’ keyboard cover which costs an extra $120.
The Chrome operating system is undeniably lackluster compared to Mac OSX and Microsoft’s Windows 8 Pro but do keep in that the former caters to a different market, the 1 terabyte cloud storage that comes with the Pixel cannot justify for the its expensive price tag, why not just purchase a raid drive for backing up your files?