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?
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