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February 21, 2013

Google's First Ultrabook

Chromebook Pixel is the first Chromebook designed by Google and the first premium Chromebook. Until now, Chromebooks used low-end CPUs, average displays and plastic chassis. Google decided to change all that and build "the best laptop possible" to inspire other manufacturers. It's like the first Nexus Chromebook.


But why is it called Pixel? It's the first Chromebook with a retina-like display, 3:2 aspect ratio and 2560x1700 resolution. Much like Apple's Retina MacBook Pro, Chromebook Pixel uses pixel doubling to make everything look sharp and crisp. The display has "the highest pixel density (239 pixels per inch) of any laptop screen on the market today" and it's a 12.85-inch IPS touchscreen with 400 nit brightness and 178° extra-wide viewing angles.


Pixel has an anodized aluminium body, glass touchpad, backlit keyboard, hidden vents, Intel i5 processor and 4GB of RAM. "The touchpad is made from etched glass, analyzed and honed using a laser microscope to ensure precise navigation. The Pixel also has powerful, full-range speakers for crisp sound, a 720p webcam for clear video, and a total of three microphones designed to cancel out surrounding noise," informs Google.

Google also includes 1TB of free Google Drive Storage for 3 years. You can also buy a special model with an integrated LTE modem for Verizon.

The Verge has some cool pictures. "There are subtle design touches throughout the machine that help add to the 'premium' feel that Google is going for. The fan vents out in the hinge, every edge is subtly bezeled to prevent sharp angles, the speakers are fairly loud despite being hidden underneath the keyboard, and Google even opted to not put labels next to the ports."

The downside is that Google's Chromebook is really expensive: $1300 (WiFi)/$1450 (WiFi+LTE). It's more expensive than Apple's MacBook Air and most ultrabooks. While it has a better display, Chrome OS is more limited than MacOS (or Windows) and it only became popular when Samsung and Acer started to offer $200-$250 Chromebooks. When you can buy tablets with high-resolution displays for $400 (Nexus 10) or $500 (iPad), the $1300 Chromebook Pixel feels out of place and overkill. After all, you can buy a Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 and a Samsung Chromebook for less than $1200. An ARM device would've been a lot cheaper, but less powerful.

"The Pixel will be available for purchase starting today on Google Play in the U.S. and U.K., and soon on BestBuy.com. The WiFi version ($1,299 U.S. and £1,049 U.K.) will start shipping next week and the LTE version ($1,449) will ship in the U.S. in April. If you're interested in a hands-on experience, you can visit select Best Buy (U.S.) and Currys PC World (U.K.) store locations."

Now Google has a good reason to open its own physical stores.

{ via Google Blog }

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