A few months back, we drafted a review of Google’s Acer Chromebook. We found a handful of chief complaints, but overall, gave it a thumbs-up. Why? It was easy to chalk up our minor gripes about wiggly chiclet keys, fleeting battery life, and subpar camera resolution to its cheapo $199.99 price tag.
It wasn’t a horrible machine, but for less than $200, it was only fair to say you get what you pay for. Not to mention, if those details truly bothered you, there was always the $50 ‘upgrade’ option to the Samsung model. Both models worked reasonably well, and provided an affordable web-based option for even those with tight budgets.
Fast-forward a couple months, and Google is on the development trail again with its Chromebook, this time, giving the design the old college try themselves. Google Chromebook Pixel is bigger, badder, and far more expensive, begging the ultimate question: is it worth it? Let’s take a look.
Chromebook Pixel Specs
On the Inside
- Operating System: Chrome OS
- Processor: Intel Core i5, dual core, 1.8 GHz
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage Options: 32GB or 64GB
The Hard Candy Shell
- Display: 12.85-inch screen with 2560 x 1700, 239 ppi
- Touchscreen Technology
- Wi-Fi only or 4G LTE connectivity options (to be released April 2013)
The almost unbelievably crisp display combined with touchscreen functionality gives the Pixel a jumping off point. Its processor and RAM capability are in ranks with the Macbook, and the forthcoming 4G LTE option surpasses it. But. (There’s always a but.) Three glaring issues stand in the way of us giving it a solid positive review.
Issue 1: Chrome OS. We totally dig the pseudo-trailblazing approach Google is taking here, but in our super humble opinions, the world isn’t ready for a web based OS. (Or maybe they just don’t want one.) We are quietly occupied by our app driven tablets and smartphones. Chrome apps are few in number, and to be completely frank, boring.
Issue 2: Space. 32GB and 64GB storage options are just plain silly. While it might be understood that less space is needed when using a browser-based OS, these options are dwarfed by comparable Microsoft and Apple products.
Issue 3, and the real caveat: The price. For a $1300 starting price tag, the market for the pixel is painfully small. Especially considering that once in that price range, many will opt for the lighter, better known, non-web-based-OS’d MacBook that also comes with more space. And by and large, who could blame them?
Overall, Pixel is a good machine, but it definitely needs some tweaking to earn mass appeal.