Google debuts the Chromebook Pixel, a $1,300 web browsing laptop


Featuring a 2560×1700 12.85-inch display, that’s all that the Chromebook Pixel, an all-Google product, has going for it. Priced at $1,299 for the 32GB, Wi-Fi-only model and $1,449 for the 64GB, Wi-Fi + LTE model, who is this particular product for, and why does it exist?

I don’t know, and given the talk on Twitter, nobody knows, unless you happen to have an unlimited amount of money at your disposal that you don’t mind spending on odd, misplaced products, such as the Chromebook Pixel. Why it exists is another question that seems impossible to answer.

In terms of the hardware, it’s decent, but rather lackluster, especially given the extremely high price. It contains a Gorilla Glass-covered multi-touch display, an HD webcam, and an Intel Core i5-3427U (?) at 1.8GHz with the integrated Intel HD 4000 GPU. Other features are either standard or behind, as it has just 4GB of RAM (this deserves 8GB for the price), just 32GB of SSD storage (1TB of Google Cloud storage, though), a measly 5 hour battery, 2 USB 2.0 ports (instead of USB 3.0), mini DisplayPort (instead of mini HDMI), and Bluetooth 3.0 (instead of Bluetooth 4.0).

Fortunately, since this runs standard x86_64 hardware as opposed to ARM-based solutions that are found in other Chromebooks, you can theoretically run Windows, Linux, or even Mac OS X without much trouble.

Perhaps the most differentiating feature of the Pixel is its 3:2 aspect ratio display. Most recent/modern notebooks use either a 16:9 (standard widescreen) or 16:10 display. Google says that a more square-ish display makes for a better web browsing experience. This is great, and makes sense (see: iPad), but it makes running multiple windows a hassle, due to the decreased amount of screen real estate.

So, what say you about the Pixel? Do you, as do I and most of the Internet, think that the Pixel is enough of an oddity to render it useless?

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Source: Google Play

  • zakwilson

    I’m not sure about whether multiple windows would be more of a hassle at 3:2 than 16:9, but “decreased amount of screen real estate” is misleading. The rectangle with the largest area for a given diagonal measurement is a square. Anything more oblong has less area.

    The Pixel has a screen area of 76.2 square inches – slightly more than the 75.6 of a 13.3″ diagonal 16:9 screen. Apple’s 13.3″ diagonal 16:10 screens have 79.5 square inches.

    • besweeet

      A wider screen is always more practical for dealing with multiple windows. I suppose that I should’ve been more clear, because I was referring to the fact that the Pixel simply doesn’t have a wide display. Yes, it might have more screen area than notebooks with actual widescreen displays, but it’s just not as wide, therefore making dealing with multiple windows a hassle.

      • zakwilson

        3:2 is actually one of the first ratios that was sold as widescreen in a laptop, on Apple’s original version of the Powerbook G4. The term is ill-defined though.

        I still like 4:3. It’s not that I’m old-fashioned. It’s that on a 15″ laptop screen, it’s just wide enough for two windows full of code side by side. I’d gain little of value in that application from more width, but the height lets me see more at once. I’m sad that there’s nothing on the market for me anymore, and I hope the Pixel heralds the return of some variety.