Although it looks and costs about the same as a MacBook, Google’s latest version of the Pixel Chromebook is still primarily a machine dedicated to browsing the Web. The latest model of Pixel is not quite as restricted as previous models, since the latest version of the Chrome operating system can now access files even when it is not connected to the Internet.
Nevertheless, there is no escaping the fact that the Pixel is still clearly intended to be used along with a working Internet connection. But with a $999 price tag, it is far from clear whether users will be content with a laptop with such limited capabilities.
That is not to say that the new Pixel is a slouch in the design department. Far from it. In fact, the new version sports some eye-catching features, particularly with regard to its form factor. For starters, the latest model weighs in at an impressively light 3.3 pounds, lighter than the MacBook Pro but still heavier than the MacBook Air.
It is slim, too, sporting a profile of only 0.6 inches thick. That could help make it attractive to buyers looking for portability above anything else. In addition, the Pixel differentiates itself from the MacBook with its high resolution, 13-inch, 239-pixel-per-inch touchscreen. The body, meanwhile, is constructed from high-grade aluminum.
Google is quick to point out the improvements it has made to this version of the Pixel. The company is now promising up to 12 hours of battery life, with the ability to charge up to two hours worth of battery in only 15 minutes. It has also reduced the price from the previous model by about $300.
The Pixel’s quick charging abilities come courtesy of what may be the machine’s most attractive new feature, the USB Type-C ports. In addition to allowing it to charge faster, the Type-C ports also speed up data transfers. Apple made a similar move with its new MacBook model earlier this week, forsaking the standard USB port altogether. The Pixel, meanwhile, will continue to support existing USB devices and cables with two ports.
Not a Lot of Storage Space
But despite having strong advantages in its form factor, the Pixel has some unusual limitations for a laptop selling at such a high price point. In particular, storage starts at a paltry 32 gigabytes, which does not leave a lot of space for large files.
Although more expensive models will get you 64 gigabytes of storage and users can expand that with an SD card, Google still clearly expects most people to keep the majority of their files stored in the cloud. The company is offering buyers a free terabyte of storage on Google Drive for three years.
That may be fine for files that are stored in a Google Docs format. But without the ability to download applications such as Microsoft word, users will be limited in the types of files they can edit on the Pixel. Of course, users always have the option of installing Linux, which would provide significantly more flexibility over the Chrome OS. Still, with models starting at $999, buyers may want to opt for a machine that comes with a more robust operating system pre-installed.
Posted: 2015-03-25 @ 4:48pm PT
Google apps provide full support of all Microsoft materials. I am a former MS boy -- from phones to PCs to their mp3 players (a long long time ago) but Google beats them for an all around portable computing solution. And I never have issues switching between apps!
Posted: 2015-03-21 @ 6:05pm PT
I would buy one. Great hardware and OS for the price. No matter what some hipsters can say, ChromeOS is a great OS with great promises. And it looks so way better than the paper-weight CrApple MackBook !