We all knew the new Google Chomebook Pixel was coming this year, but we didn’t quite know what Google was preparing in terms of hardware, exterior panache and price. Now, the company has finally outed the Pixel, which will be the flagship Chromebook of the fleet.
At first glance with the Chromebook’s face shut, it’s clear that there’s a touch of Google in the mix. The strip that runs along the top centre of the screen lid screens ChromeOS, with its now-customary multi-colour scheme. The unit itself is a gun-metal silver, very similar to what you’d find on a new MacBook actually (here’s something I’m going to mention often in this piece).
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As far as hardware goes, the Chromebook Pixel is an absolute beast. The lower spec machine boasts an Intel Core i5 Broadwell quad-core CPU, 8GB of RAM and an option of 32 or a 64GB SSD. The big daddy on the other hand, sports a hyperthreaded quad-core Broadwell i7, 16GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD. Both chipsets boast Intel’s HD 5500 integrated GPUs, that can push 4K video. And it doesn’t stop there.
Both models feature a 12.95-inch 2560×1700 resolution IPS screen with a density of around 230ppi. There’s a 720p camera up front, a glass etched touchpad and a backlit keyboard.
Google’s claiming 12 hours of battery life too, which is impressive considering the reserve power the Pixels have.
And the USB Type-C reign begins
Another interesting aspect is the choice of ports. Google has gone for two USB Type-C ports as opposed to the new MacBook’s single port. There are also two USB 3.0 Type-A ports (the traditional USB port) and an SD card reader. As a result, it’s quite a thick machine at 15.5mm. Google’s sacrificing portability for practicality here, and its definitely a massive bonus to boast two USB Type-C ports instead of one (and only one port in general) on the MacBook.
One could argue that it’s much better than the 12-inch MacBook on paper too. What’s more, the ChromeOS machine is priced about US$300 cheaper than the lower-end MacBook. It retails for just US$999 while the latter is around US$1299.
Of course, the Chromebook Pixel and the MacBook will appeal to vastly different audiences, but it’s interesting to note the commonality between the company’s design, aesthetic and concept choices and where the two companies have disagreed.
The Chromebook Pixel, once opened, can easily be mistaken for a MacBook, while it boasts superior hardware but a thicker body as a result. The MacBook screams minimalism, and should be easier to lug around than the Chromebook Pixel. But which boasts the better value for money? I’d have to argue the Pixel on paper.