Google Chromebook Pixel review

Google Chromebook Pixel review

T3 3
  • The Google Chromebook Pixel is a netbook that's created solely to function with the web. But should Google make something purely because they can?

    Google Chromebook Pixel review

    Love

    • Best screen on a laptop. Fact
    • Keyboard sets new bar
    • Portable and sturdy

    Hate

    • Battery life
    • Chrome OS still web reliant
    • Expensive

    The Chromebook Pixel is Google’s first homegrown product running Chrome OS - a super simple web-based operating system. It also happens to be one of the best-looking laptops we’ve ever seen.

    Products like the Acer C7 Chromebook and the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook have been fairly impressive, but haven't really made their mark yet. Is the Pixel the product to really put Chromebooks on the map?

    Google Chromebook Pixel: Size and build

    An all-aluminium body is marked only by a subtle Chrome logo on the back whilst connectivity ports on either side include two USB ports, a headphone jack, SD card reader and believe it or not, an Apple Mini Display Port.

    Open the lid and it’s the same utilitarian approach, a black matt trackpad along with a light-sensing backlit keyboard is all that can be found with a bar of web-focused shortcut buttons located at the top, it’s all very rationed. A piano hinge allows the Pixel to be opened with one finger whilst serious wizadry allows speakers to be hidden under the keyboard.

    Weighing in at 1.52 kg, the Pixel is heavier than it's svelte design makes it look - it racks up slimline dimensions of 297.7 x 224.6 x 16.2mm.

    Google Chromebook Pixel: Screen

    While this is all very nice and stunning, for over £1000 the product needs a trump card. This comes in the form of a 12.85-inch 2560x1700 touchscreen display.

    To put that into perspective it’s higher-than-Retina and it’s on a machine which is smaller than the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. This screen has to be seen to be believed. Clarity and contrast are faultless and it’s fair to say you’ll get lost just trying to choose wallpaper that does it justice.

    The screen has then been layered with a sheet of Gorilla Glass which reportedly adds both strength and helps keep the image clearer than you’d find with a normal display.

    Google isn't content to stop there however and has made it a fully fledged touchscreen and while it won’t be the experience you’ll find on Windows 8, the makers have thrown in some custom gestures to help you travaverse the web without ever needing to touch the keyboard.

    Google Chromebook Pixel: Apps

    Sadly however all of this posturing becomes pointless the moment you lose connectivity to the internet and while Google offers a fair range of apps which can function offline, they’re sparse at best and ultimately do nothing to make you feel like you can take it anywhere that isn’t, at furthest, a Starbucks.

    Google Chromebook Pixel: Performance

    The Pixel is no slouch with a 1.8GHz Dual-Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of SSD storage, you also get a HD webcam for video calls.

    And Google realises that you’ll need a helping hand to move over to web-based computing so you get 1TB of online storage for two years free.

    Google Chromebook Pixel: Verdict

    Google calls this the product for ‘what’s next’, which rather aptly describes both the Pixel and Chrome OS. They're both built for a time when free and fast internet is absolutely everywhere, which simply isn't the case just yet.

    A beautiful and desirable product it may be, but the stunning design and ultra-premium hardware give way to a somewhat hollow shell within.

    Google Chromebook Pixel release date: Out now

    Google Chromebook Pixel price: £1049

  • The Google Chromebook Pixel is the brand's new touchscreen laptop, but what does it bring to the party? T3 went in for a closer look...

    Google Chromebook Pixel review

    Love

    • Best screen on a laptop. Fact
    • Keyboard sets new bar
    • Portable and sturdy

    Hate

    • Battery life
    • Chrome OS still web reliant
    • Expensive

    The Google Chromebook Pixel is official in all its touchscreen glory and it has a few extra features and specs to boot. The follow-up to the Acer C7 Chromebook and Samsung Series 3 Chromebook, the latest version is built within the Google stable and gone is the budget laptop to be replaced by a power-lappy with a premium feel.

    T3 was at the launch and got our hands on the tactile laptop. Here’s what we thought...

    Google Chromebook Pixel: Size and build

    The first thing you’ll notice about the Pixel is the clear step-up from the old Chromebook. With a weight of 1.52kg it’s light but has that reassuring weight to it that the previous Chromebooks lacked. It measures in at 297.7 x 224.6 x 16.2mm, comes with two USB ports a mini display port and and a 2-in-1 card reader.

    Google’s had a carte-blanche when it comes to the design and it's gone all out on the detail, with three hidden microphones (two by the camera and one underneath the keyboard) and all the names taken off the ports, the result is a super sleek slim laptop and a far cry from the slightly cheap-feel of previous Chromebooks.

    There have been updates to the trackpad and the keyboard too with etched glass covering for the former and a full-size offering of the latter.

    Google Chromebook Pixel: Screen

    Flip open the Chromebook and there’s the 12.85-inch screen and we have to admit that it is glorious. With a resolution of 2560 x 1700, at 239PPI, it’s the highest resolution screen ever on a laptop. During our quick play with it, websites jumped out of the screen and videos looked sharp and bright. Google's choice to use a 3:2 ratio screen, rather than 16:9 is a little unexpected though.

    Of course, we'll have more on that once we’ve had a longer play with the device.

    Google Chromebook Pixel: Touchscreen

    One of the main changes to the Chromebook is that it's now fully touchscreen. Whether you’re browsing the web or flicking through your pics you have full control through the screen. We imagine that it will take a while to get used to and we didn’t find ourselves naturally using it during our quick test but a long term test could prove otherwise.

    Google Chromebook Pixel: Performance

     

    Google hasn’t scrimped when it comes to powering the Chromebook Pixel, the cloud king gets about its business by an Intel Core i5 processor (Dual Core 1.8GHz) and Intel HD Graphics 4000. There's 4GB of RAM and memory is set at 32GB for the Wi-Fi model although those in the States will have the option of a 64GB LTE model.

    As a creature of the cloud, the Chromebook also comes with 1TB of Cloud storage for three years.

    Google Chromebook Pixel: Apps

    A number of apps have been built specifically for the Chromebook Pixel and its new power status. Quick Office, which is available on Android can now be used offline as well as online on Chromebook and Google also unveiled a new Google+ photo app.

    The app will recognise pics on your SD card and upload them online instantly and then pick your best snaps to share with your mates. It sounds impressive and we’ll be having more of a play with that later. What’s also exciting is that now the Chromebook is touchscreen the apps that could become cross platforms if developers get on board and according to Google, they are.

    Google Chromebook Pixel release date: First week of April, available to pre-order now

    Google Chromebook Pixel price: £1049 (Wi-Fi only in UK)

    Hands-on review by Rhiain Morgan

    • Google Chromebook Pixel unboxing
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    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/go/xs_Google_Chromebook_Pixel_main_624.jpg

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