The Chromebook Pixel project

February 25, 2013
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The premium Chromebook Pixel was an exciting announcement for Google and Chrome OS lovers the world over. Long have we wanted a really good Chromebook, and been confused time and again by low-end, high cost devices. Once announced, I was giddy with excitement, and it showed. It was everything we had all hoped for, and also a bit more than we were hoping to spend. I weighed the pros and cons while clicking “Purchase” in the Play Store, which spoke volumes about my desire to be on board with this new monster of a Chromebook.

Rather than simply have a great device, we thought it seemed fair to run it through its paces and report back to all of you. At the end of this post, you’ll find news about our Chromebook Pixel project. For the next few weeks, we’ll be getting very in-depth about the Chromebook Pixel and Chrome OS, running them through a myriad of tests.

Chromebook Pixel hinge

Who is this for?

This device, as Google will readily admit, is suited for a very finite market, and it may not be you. For a consumer to take full advantage of this Chromebook, a few criteria should be met:

  • You do just about all of your work in the cloud
  • You are a dedicated Chrome user, and very familiar with Chrome OS
  • You utilize the services in Google Drive as your means of producing just about everything
  • You are in the market for a premium computer

If you met those requirements, the Chromebook Pixel is the computer for you, hands down. We should also be clear that this particular Chromebook isn’t for everyone, nor is Chrome OS. There are some very distinct give-and-take scenarios within Chrome OS, which we’ll get into throughout our project.

Google Chromebook Pixel

Why did Google make the Chromebook Pixel?

You know it, I know it, and Google knows it: Chrome OS is limited, but promising. Google wants Chrome OS to succeed, and is fully invested in making it shine. Like most things within the Google universe, Chrome OS is dependent on developer adoption and support. How do you get developers excited and working on your project? Give them the tools to succeed. Google makes no bones about it: Chromebook Pixel is a developers unit, first and foremost.

The Chromebook Pixel represents the future of the Chromebook, and Chrome OS. In my opinion, the premium price was meant to keep those not serious about Chrome OS from purchasing the device. A base price of $1,299 is not spent on a whim for most, so only those who are dedicated to growing the platform will jump at the device.

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Why buy one?

To begin with, I met all of the requirements listed above (how convenient, right?). For me, there was much more to it, though. I’ve long been exhausted by Windows, with the constant updates and piecemeal spending for products. Microsoft Office runs $140 for one license, and then there is the cost of security software like Norton or Kaspersky. It just got tiresome having to be the gardener of my machine.

I’m also not an Apple fan. They make gorgeous products, and have a very loyal fan base, but I’m just not buying in. Their products across the board are terribly overpriced ($69 mouse?!), and while having the Apple store is nice, it can also be a convenient crutch.

I didn’t want to deal with Windows any longer, nor did I want to learn all the nuances of Apple’s OS. Some may yell “Linux!”, but that OS has further to go than Chrome OS. I do all of my work in Google Drive, and pretty much live inside of a Chrome browser. I survive on Android, and have actually come to enjoy Chrome OS a lot, so the real question is why wouldn’t I get a Chromebook Pixel?

Pundits love to comment on what Chrome OS is lacking, and they make good points. That line of commentary has its place, but is a bit off. What you’re paying for is not so much for what you’re getting, it’s for what you’re giving up. Security issues, a cumbersome OS, software that needs to be re-purchased on a regular basis, and poor battery life are just a few things I will not be missing with this move.

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First impressions

My initial reaction can be summed up in one word: wow. It looks amazing, it feels amazing, and it’s quick. The keyboard is a dream come true, and the choice to make the keys back-lit was a smart one. The Chromebook Pixel is definitely a step up from previous Chromebooks, that much is clear. Every instance on this machine is refined, from the build down to the design. Google meant for this to be the device that pushes Chrome OS into the future, and it very well could be.

The curious part of the Chromebook Pixel is that there is no visible… anything. The speakers are tucked under the keyboard, yet produce a vivid sound. The webcam and microphones above the screen are unobtrusive, and there is a third microphone tucked under the keys for noise cancellation. If you’ve ever done a Google+ hangout, and been bothered by typing, you’ll know why this is a really cool feature.

The screen is mind boggling in its brilliance. I was prepared for great, but this is just… stellar. My first impressions are pure awe, as 4.3 million pixels doesn’t really register in the mind until you see it first-hand. The touch interface is really snappy and smooth, but won’t work on everything just yet. Battery life seems to be right on par with the 5-hour promise, but we’ll try to annihilate that in testing. As we get through the project, we’ll be sure to carefully pace each aspect of Chrome OS and the Chromebook Pixel.

Chromebook Pixel Jellyfish

The project

You’ve probably heard a lot of reaction to the Chromebook Pixel, but not a lot of reporting. For the next few weeks, I will be using the Chromebook Pixel as my only computer. I will not be touching my Windows 8 machine. If I run into a problem, I’ll just have to figure a way around it. I fully understand the limitations of Chrome OS, and as a lifelong Windows user, the change to Chrome OS full-time will be difficult. Welcome, but difficult.

We’re also going to open it up to our readers to ask questions during the process. If there is something you want us to address specifically, please comment below or on our Google+ page when we post the articles there. We’ll do our best to check the comments section often, and will try to answer every question we can. The goal is to leave no stone unturned, and put Chrome OS and the Chromebook Pixel through its paces. We do it all for our readers and fans, so you deserve to be part of this process!

Be sure to keep an eye on Android Authority for all the Chromebook Pixel news, and tune into Android Authority On Air! I’ll be using the Chromebook Pixel for those hangouts, which will really test the machine’s hardware. So far, the Pixel is a pretty amazing machine, but nothing is perfect. At the end of this process, we’ll all have a better idea of what Chrome OS and the Chromebook Pixel are, and maybe should be.

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