Google has unveiled the Chromebook Pixel, which is making an already impressive, best-in class laptop an even more tempting machine. The price is still high, but if Chromebooks are your thing then this is as good as it gets. In this review we put the new Chromebook Pixel 2015 through its paces to see just how far the category and Chrome-OS has really come along.
- 12.85-inch high resolution IPS (2560 x 1700, at 239 PPI) 400 nit, 3:2 aspect ratio
- Broadwell U Intel® Core Core i5, Intel® Core Core i7 Intel HD Graphics 5500 8GB LPDDR3 RAM 32GB SSD 1TB
- Google Drive cloud storage 72Wh lithium ion batteryDual-Band
- WiFi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac) and integrated antennas Bluetooth compatible
- Two USB Type C ports that each support up to: 5Gbps USB data Two USB 3.0 ports SD card slot 4K display out with optional
- HDMI or DisplayPort adapter 60W charging
- Combination headphone/microphone jack Integrated 720p HD camera with Blue Glass and wide angle lens Back-light
- Chrome keyboard Multi-touch, clickable glass track-pad High power, built-in stereo speakers
- Two built-in microphones for stereo recording 11.7” x 8.8” x 0.6” (297.7mm x 224.55mm x 15.3mm) 3.3lbs (1.5Kg)
A design, the Pixel has changed very slightly from its harbinger, which still bears the industrial, chunky, square edged styling that we found initially so appealing. At 3.3lbs it might not be as svelte as the new MacBook, or even a Dell XPS 13, but it is not that heavy device to carry around in your bag. Chromebooks are never overburdened with ports, as Chrome-OS isn’t really interested in doing much with them, but the Pixel has a very useful collection of slots.
The real star of the show is the gorgeous IPS 2560 x 1700 resolution HD display. It is bright, colorful, clear, and bears an unusual 3:2 aspect ratio which Google deems more appropriate for using the web.
The taller nature of the display does mean you see more of a webpage’s content before needing to scroll down, although if you watch a lot of movies on your laptop then there is a trade off here against the widescreen displays often found on other PC’s. Two USB 3.0 ports and a headphone jack adorn one side, while the other makes room for an SD card reader. The real interesting apertures though are the two USB type-C ports that flank the machine, and are used for power charging or attaching any number of peripherals.
Streaming HD video from YouTube is no problem, 4K variants proved smooth and consistent, and the stereo speakers are surprisingly loud and articulate. Much of this’ll be down to the 2.2GHz Intel Core i5 CPU and 8GB of RAM that are at the heart of the machine. It is surely a potent combination when paired with the lightweight operating system. Of course all of this speed arrives with a few cautions.
ChromeOS is a web focussed operating system, so as long as you spend the majority of your time there, and especially if you use the Google suite of apps, then there is much to like. The bare bones nature of ChromeOS does prove very beneficial when it comes to battery life though, and in our looped video test the 2015 Pixel held out impressively for just over nine hours.
Those users who would be better served by a decent PC, which you could certainly buy for the same money as the new Pixel. But, and it is very huge but, if you embrace the ideals of Chromebooks, and have the money to spare, the 2015 Pixel is a truly beguiling device that is a genuine pleasure to use.