Friday, February 22, 2013

Google Unveils Luxury Chromebook Pixel

We had been expecting a "retina" Chromebook for a while, and I can't say it took them too long to officially announce it: the Chromebook Pixel is real, and it will certainly make you think twice before considering Chromebooks low-end cheap devices. With this Pixel, Google went overboard and decided to show everyone that Chromebooks can be high-end luxury devices.

Starting at $1,299 couldn't be farther from "cheap", but that price can be explained by the high-end engineering put into this ultrabook. There are lots of tiny details, like the light bar that glows in a multicolored symphony, invisible speakers hidden beneath the backlighted  keyboard, hinges that were tuned to be opened without dragging the rest of the device behind and feel like a luxury car door (and that hide the ventilation openings as well), noise reduction microphones (including one for the key press noises), a 720p webcam, and even the glass on the touchpad was precisely tuned to give the best grip feeling.

But what you'll first notice about the Chromebook Pixel is its screen:

The Pixel comes with a 12.85" LCD screen offering an amazing 2560x1700 resolution; the highest ever on a laptop this size (or any size, I imagine). But unlike what you'd expect, the screen has a 3:2 aspect ration and not the more usual 16:9 or even 16:10. It might not be well suited for movies, but it will sure come in handy when browsing the web and doing "work".

Inside we get a Core i5 CPU, 4GB RAM, and 32GB of storage, as well as 2x USB 2.0, Mini DisplayPort, SD card slot, headset jack, WiFi N and BT (3.0).

There will be two versions: costing $1,299 (WiFi) and $1,499 (LTE/4G) and while it is certainly a lot, you might want to reconsider it if you happen to be a heavy Google cloud user. You see, the Pixel comes with 3 years of 1TB Google cloud storage space. Considering that this alone will set you back $50/month, when you do the math for 3 years... you can actually get a Chromebook for free and still save some money.

In a time where some people will struggle to adapt to the new Windows 8, this Chromebook certainly comes at the right moment when people might be looking for something "different". I don't know if it will be a success, but at least it serves as proof that Google is seriously pushing their Chrome OS forward. Will they be able to succeed just like Android did in the mobile space?

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