Google Chromebook Pixel
Manufacturer: Google Part number: CB001
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as of 04/22/2014
CNET editors' review
price range: $1,649.00
- Reviewed by: Seth Rosenblatt
- Edited by: John Falcone
- Reviewed on: 02/22/2013
- Released on: 02/21/2013
The good: The slick-looking, Intel-powered Google Chromebook Pixel combines the touch screen support of Windows 8 with the MacBook Pro's high-res Retina display. It also includes three years of free 1TB cloud storage, and has a 4G LTE option.
The bad: Pricing starts at a lofty $1,299; Web-based Chrome OS requires you to be online to do most tasks; Web apps can't yet compare to most Windows or Mac software, especially for media-centric activities like video.
The bottom line: Despite impressive hardware specs and solid industrial design, the Chromebook Pixel’s high price and cloud OS limitations make it impossible to recommend for the vast majority of users.
An excellent premium Chromebook with a steep price.
by Saint04 on February 26, 2013
Pros: Build/Screen/Keyboard/Sound quality
Cons: None magnetically connected charging port.
I'm currently a full time student/seminarian that needs a computer to write documents, give presentations, check/write emails, video-conference, watch videos on an external monitor/keyboard/mouse/...
Summary: Overview:Hey dude, just to follow up with you, I'm not Google anything. I reviewed it for what it is. Write your own review and get off my back.
I'm currently a full time student/seminarian that needs a computer to write documents, give presentations, check/write emails, video-conference, watch videos on an external monitor/keyboard/mouse/television and use/share my calendar. Chromebooks meet these needs. The Chromebook does this for me while also giving me peace of mind against viruses and having to keep up with the newest updates. The Pixel is considered a Halo product. This means Google's goal was not cost, but to just produce the nicest system they could to encourage advertisers, software developers and designers to pick up on the Chromebook concept of cloud computing.
Operating System (OS):
The operating system is very simple and straight to the point. I think its great for anyone who needs a simple computing solution that spends a majority of their computing time on-line; which is most of us. It requires no anti-virus protection and has boot-verification when it starts up in-case the system has had any unauthorized modifications (viruses). This OS is limited in contrast to Windows or Mac based OS. As long as you don't have unrealistic expectations and you understand what you are buying, you will be very satisfied with this OS. One of the most common issues I have come across that prevent people from using Chromebooks is that they do heavy video editing and require Adobe Photoshop, Auto-Cad etc. Google does offer a program that offers light photo-editing. The intention of the Pixel is to inspire hardware and software developers to contribute to Chromebook OS/software/hardware development. Also, you cannot print from just any printer, you will need to have a printer that supports cloud/internet printing unless you have a desktop you can print through to a printer using the Chromebook. I print through my desktop using Google's Cloud Print service. While previous versions of Chrome operating systems would only work while you were connected to the internet, the newer one now offer its office suite and email off-line which won't require an internet connection. For some, this will be a deal-breaker. For me it's not.
Like most people have said in reviews you may have observed, the screen is amazing. I cannot find the words to do the screen justice. Once you see the machine and experience it, you'll better understand the higher premium price of this machine. It has great viewing angles (IPS) and color contrast. The screen contains over 4 million pixels and goes up to 400 nits of brightness. What this means is that you have a super-bright screen that you can enjoy in most lighting conditions. I do have to inform you though that in bright lighting conditions, the touch-screen adds glare as with any touchscreen based system. The screen format isn't ideal for watching videos (3:2 vs the common 16:9), but just like the ipad4, there will be some letterboxing (black strips above and below the video). The picture quality itself looks great on this screen if the letter boxing does not bother you. Google states that they believe the 3:2 screen format gives a better (more natural) web-browsing experience when reading web pages. Many people have commented that many web-pages do not have images that support the retina display. That has not been an issue for me; I have rarely experience images that could not take advantage of the screen. This has not been the same case with the rMBP.
The touch-screen works very well in responsiveness. I don't know what more to say about it.
Keyboard & Trackpad:
The keys I would consider on the shorter side in compression. There is comfortable travel to them and they sound similar to Lenovo's keyboards in sound when typing. This is one of the best keyboards I have used on any ultra-portable. The key presses feel crisp and I do not feel like I stumble across the keys while typing. The keyboard has a off-white backlight. The trackpad is made of etched glasses. It's the nicest I've seen on any computer. It has a slight texture to it. The trackpad is very responsive and consistent just like Apple based systems.
The speakers have a great low, medium and high range. They go very loud with crisp sound to them and no distortion. Just like the screen, you'll need to experience the sound quality for yourself in person.
I have averaged 5.5 to 6 hours of battery life with the screen just below half-brightness.
There is a video-out port which when paired with an adapter supports HDMI and VGA. It also has a charging port, SD card slot, headphone in/out and two USB 2.0 ports. Given that this is a halo product for Google, I have no response for why they did not use 3.0.
I've owned many computers (primarily ultrabooks). I enjoy trying different systems out and reviewing them based mostly on their hardware and build qualities. I have a background in IT which contributes to this personal interest. Given that Apple is considered by most people to have one of the best build qualities of any manufacturer, I will compare the Chromebook Pixel to it; specifically the 13" Retina Macbook Pro (rMBP). The build quality of the rMBP is superseded by the Chromebook Pixel. The Chromebook Pixel is built of all anodized aluminum, right down to the piano hinge that attaches the screen to the computer. Not even Apple uses an aluminum hinge/cover. There is no keyboard flex and the frame surrounding the keys is also aluminum. The only thing I would say that I'm disappointed in with the build of the Pixel is that it does not have a magnetic power connector on the charger like the rMBP or Microsoft Surface. While the power-brick does not feel cheap in any way, I prefer the magnetic connector in the event that something trips the cable. There is a magnetic latch to hold the screen shut. The body of the computer is an dark anodized aluminum with a very minimalist look. The fan runs very quietly and produces little to no sound unless you put your ear right up to it.
The whole concept behind the Chromebook (Pixel) is to store your documents/files in the cloud (internet/servers). For my documents with personal information that I don't trust to place in the cloud, I can keep them on the local storage of the computer/Chromebook. The file manager is seamless in that you have a cloud folder and local storage folder. They are differentiated by their folder icon images. Anything I place in the cloud folder syncs with the google drive folder program that I have on my Windows 8 desktop PC. I rarely use my desktop. I spend 95% of my time on the Chromebook. The other 5% is for managing my itunes media and for gaming. As a strictly productively school for classes, the Chromebook has served me well.
Like Apple, everything about this product screams quality, thought and care. When I first opened the Chromebook, it booted up (powered on) automatically. The packaging was nicer than what you would find with an Apple Macbook. The package has a magnetic flap that holds the container shut. It's nice enough that it's worth holding onto... What I enjoy about Google is that I consider them a successful and fun company. For example, all the eccentric names they have for their operating systems such as Honeycomb, Ice-cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, etc. The warranty information card even has a banana peel on it. Good stuff...
My only concern with this product is whether or not there will be aftermarket accessories for it. For example, if I misplace the charging brick, I would obviously need to purchase another one. Google does not currently offer that on their site.
If you can stomach the $1300+ price tag and the Chromebook OS meets your computing needs, I would highly recommend it. I feel that the price for the Chromebook would be more realistic at a $600-$800 price point. Considering the Pixel is Google's first in-house designed computer, it may become a collector's item worth more money in the distant future :-P Most people argue that a Chromebook is just a computer with nothing more than a browser. Well, you're right to an extent. I mostly use Chrome and I bought the Pixel for it's hardware and the fact that it's simple and meets all my basic computing needs. Also, I would highly recommend a Chromebook or Chromebox to anyone who is not tech savvy and has just basic computing needs; for example a grandmother who just uses the internet to pay bills, but does not want the hassle of viruses and spam. My mother is a good example of this. Her children use her computer, but it always runs slow and has problems running and crashing. If she had a Chromebook or Chromebox, her system would boot and run quickly just like the first day her desktop ran when she first bought it. My point, Chromebooks/Chromeboxes do have a place and purpose; maybe it's for you, maybe it's not. It might not meet everyone's needs, but that does not automatically make it a bad product :-) This is a great product and I would highly recommend it. Google did an astounding job at their first attempt to build a premium system to reflect their concept of cloud computing.
Updated on Mar 8, 2013
5 out of 5 users found this user opinion helpful.
- Manufacturer: Google
- Part number: CB001
- Bottom Line: Despite impressive hardware specs and solid industrial design, the Chromebook Pixel’s high price and cloud OS limitations make it impossible to recommend for the vast majority of users.
- Operating System Google Chrome OS
- Notebook type 13-inch,
HD Display ,
Processor / Chipset
- CPU Intel 3rd Gen Core i5 1.8 GHz
- Number of Cores Dual-Core
- RAM 4 GB
- Hard Drive 32 GB SSD
- Type 12.85 in
- Max Resolution 2560 x 1700
Audio & Video
- Graphics Processor Intel Graphics HD 4000
- Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n,
Connections & Expansion
- Interfaces Touch screen,
SD Memory reader,
Dimensions & Weight
- Width 297.7 mm
- Depth 224.6 mm
- Height 16.2 mm
- Weight 3.35 lbs