Pixel

It has a lot of pixels, but it’s not made of chrome.

People have been asking me why I love the Chromebook Pixel so much. I’ve tried, and in most cases failed, to portray it verbally. So, lets try this…

It’s a nifty, lightweight Linux laptop.

I went to one of the four stores in the UK that has a demo unit, and to be honest it doesn’t quite work right. It’s not working at its full potential.

The Chrome browser doesn’t support the pinch-and-zoom gesture (at all, not even on Windows 8). But sure as sugar, eventually the Pixel will get it.

Google say the screen will pop out at you. To be honest, I didn’t get that; but I have been using the (less dense) 400-nit IPS panel on the HP Envy x2 recently. To be fair, it was a grubby showroom display model that everyone had been poking.

Lots of people look for their gadgets to be productive from the off. You probably won’t be with the Pixel. But, on your current web-surfing device, how much time do you spend “doing nothing” or “wasting time”. It’s part of the experience.

In terms of size and weight, it is a little bigger and a little heavier than my current Chromebook. But not prohibitively; in fact, it felt so natural to hold.

Actually, I spent some time last weekend copying some code onto an online editor on daisy. It’s not often I use the keyboard like that (I had wanted a detachable hybrid due to my use cases), and it felt cramped.

With such a powerful CPU, there is a fan inside; but it spreads its heat across the case like the Series 3. No clogged up vents, keeps you warm, and tells you it’s still working. Nice touch.

While Google expect you to be locked into their ecosystem, they positively encourage tinkering. For me, just popping developer mode and getting that access is a welcome change to the restrictive modes of iOS or Windows 8.

Remember, Chrome OS is built upon Gentoo Linux. A big advantage they’ve taken from it is the always improving, rolling releases that benefit everyone; although it’s Google looking after your laptop, not a trusted administrator.

Still, the people behind it are openly geeky, and just wanted to make a compelling device that benefits themselves and humanity, even if it is unsellable to the general public. You can’t market the passion that I feel radiates from the Pixel.

And then we get to the price. £1049 is quite prohibitive, but that’s just how much the device costs. Sure, there are laptops with IPS screens that are cheaper, but that’s mostly subsidised by the crapware loaded on it.

The very early Chromebooks, too, were priced ridiculously high when compared to similarly specced laptops. Their unusual (at the time) single use case and the lack of marketing (there were press releases and announcements, but the original batches were given to universities) never suggested the product to be “high margin”. It would only be enthusiasts that picked one up.

And didn’t Google say that’s who they’re targeting?

In any case, it’s still a desirable machine. A lot of excuses can (and have) been raised about why you shouldn’t get it. If any of them applies to you, you should probably listen to it.

For the rest of us, we’ll just quietly enjoy our new toy.

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3 comments

  1. bencord0

    An interesting comment I’ve heard from pro-pixel users is that the price makes a bit more sense when you consider that you’re getting 1TB of cloud storage for 3 years.

    That’s ~£1800 worth. In essence, you’re paying for the storage and getting a free device to use it.

    • TheAppleMan

      The Google sales reps said that a lot.

      I’m not particularly a creative type, nor an uploader type. Getting 1TB up or down is not really an option for those who solely use consumer broadband.

      I still haven’t redeemed my 100GB for two years for this chromebook. My lifestyle doesn’t have a use case for it.

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