Google unveiled its first home-brewed laptop called Chromebook Pixel, and it’s the first premium device of its kind built by the search giant itself. It also happens to have a Retina Display like the Apple’s MacBook Pro, which could be described as the most noticeable feature.
According to Google, the 2560 x 1700 pixels, 12.85-inch multi-touch display protected by Gorilla Glass, is the largest screen resolution (239 pixels per inch) ever bundled on a laptop. But it has a particularity, it’s a 3:2 aspect ratio display, which the company says helps to better fit web content, because most of the time people consume content on a vertical orientation.
On the contrary to other Chromebooks from ASUS, Lenovo, Samsung and HP, this laptop is very powerful, ready to take on demanding tasks. It packs a Core i5 CPU with an Intel HD 4000 graphics processor and 4GB of RAM, two USB 2.0, a mini display port, a combo 3.5mm headset jack, an SD card slot to add more storage, Bluetooth 3.0, and a 720p webcam located atop between two microphones.
Google says that Chromebook Pixel can play more than one full-HD, 1080p video simultaneously. The downside, though, is that because of high-performance processor and high-resolution display results on poor battery life — the company expects about 5-hours on one charge –. With these specs Pixel is well-equipped to compete hand-by-hand with most Windows ultrabooks in the market today.
Pixel also share some similarities with the MacBook Air design. For example, it includes hidden speakers, vents located in the hinge, and a thin LED-backlit keyboard.
Although, there are many aspects of Chromebook Pixel that are similar to the Apple’s design, it’s not a copycat. Google is somewhat trying make it better by featuring rounded edges, a very comfortable touchpad “made from etched glass”, a dedicated mic to reduce keyboard noise while on VoIP calls or video chats. The company also paid very close attention to the hinge, that way users can lift the lid without lifting the front of the laptop.
The device also packed a gorgeous touchscreen, that the search giant emphasizes it’s responsive and fluid making possible for developers to bring their mobile apps to Pixel, but the reality is that the touch-enabled display isn’t as responsive or fluid as advertised — Google’s real-time demo shows that touch can really take advantage from new improvement.
Google is offering two versions of Chromebook Pixel, one bundled with a Verizon LTE modem and one with Wi-Fi.
The one with Verizon modem will ship with 64GB of internal storage and it will be on sale starting April for $1,449. The Wi-Fi version of the device will ship with 32GB of storage, and it is available now for $1,299. Orders start shipping as early as next week. Both models will also come a 1TB of Google Drive cloud storage, per user, for the first three years at no extra cost.
Chromebook Pixel is clearly a luxury product, which is focus on running web apps and to consume online content. However, it’s very high-priced for a laptop running a fairly new operating system without an app ecosystem like Microsoft Windows or Apple has, and even more with a screen size that the company still doesn’t know if it’s ever going to take-off and be welcomed by everyone. Today, you can get a premium ultrabook for less than $1,299 advertised by Google. You can even get a Microsoft Surface Pro with similar specs and battery life, with a really responsive ten-point multi-touch display, and with an unmatchable catalog of applications (e.g., Office, Photoshop, iTunes, etc.) to really take on any task.
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