Google Chromebook Pixel Announced, a $1,299 Glorified Web Browser?

Google today announced the new 13” Chromebook Pixel laptop that features the highest pixel density on a laptop screen ever, topping even the Apple MacBook’s Retina Display.  The 13” (well, 12.85” to be exact) screen on the Chromebook Pixel has a resolution of 2,560 x 1,700 which gives it a PPI (Pixels Per Inch) density of 239, higher than the 220 PPI of the MacBook Pro Retina.   The aspect ratio is a rather strange 3:2, Google claims that horizontal real estate is important on the web and it’s also a common aspect ratio for photography and so chose to go with this over a more typical 16:10.  Other features of the screen include the fact it is touchscreen enabled, has a Gorilla Glass coating for durability, a bright 400-nit display and wide viewing angles of up to 178-degrees (no mention of IPS though, so we assume that’s not the display technology used). 

Other impressive specs to note are an Intel Core i5 1.8GHz, 4GB of RAM, 32GB SSD, 1TB of Google Cloud Storage (for 3-years), 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 mini-DisplayPort, SD media card reader and integrated HD webcam.  The weight comes in at 3.35lbs and it’s a svelte 0.64” thick.  The entire body is constructed of aluminum so you get a sleek look, the standard backlit keyboard also helps out in the style department.   Oh, and yes, it does look a little like a MacBook Pro but pretty much everyone has copied that design approach in some way so nothing new there.

Google Chromebook Pixel Announced, a $1,299 Glorified Web Browser?

So the specs are all great, but the big catch of course is that the Chromebook Pixel does not feature a “real” desktop based OS, so it’s somewhat limited if you don’t have an Internet connection.  To add to that, the price is very high at $1,299, well over the average laptop price of around $500 today.   Cynics might call this an overpriced web browser, or worse, a paper weight if you have no Internet connection.  Still, Google is saying they realize this isn’t for the mainstream but rather for the hard core types that really do “live in the cloud” and have no need to ever install programs but rather do everything they need to via a web browser but want something more than a weak and small $300 Chromebook.

If nothing else, they’ll get some buzz and media coverage out of the Chromebook Pixel and that might enhance the awareness of Chrome OS and increase sales for low end machines.  I can’t see too many of the Chromebook Pixel’s selling, glorious screen aside, the price and limits of the OS should deter most.  If you’re not deterred, you canorder it now via the Google Play Store.


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