By this point, you already have an opinion on Google’s Chromebooks. The idea of living with a computer that runs only web apps, some of which also work offline, is a concept you’re either OK with or not into at all.
You either get it or you don’t. For those who do get it, Google’s Chromebook Pixel is an outstanding machine. For those who can’t embrace the idea of Chrome OS — even at the low $250 price point of the Samsung Chromebook, itself a fantastic machine — well, the $1,300 Pixel will do absolutely nothing to convert you. If anything, it’ll just piss you off. It will elicit scoffs and huffs and grumbles about how Google has no idea what it’s doing building a high-priced laptop that only runs a web browser.
You can count me among the converts. I’m what you’d call a cloud power user. For the last couple of years, nearly everything I do on a desktop or laptop computer takes place in the browser (usually with a dozen or so tabs open). As such, everything I need to do for work, I can do on a Chromebook.
After using the Pixel since its launch almost a week ago, I feel like this computer was tailored to suit my current computing life. I’m enamored with the machine.
How could I not be? The Pixel is the most powerful and finely crafted Chromebook ever built. It’s lust-worthy in its excess, and there’s nothing else quite like it on the market. And if you opt for the $150 LTE connectivity upgrade, it becomes a laptop that’s a hell of a lot of fun to take along with you almost anywhere.
Is the Pixel perfect? Not at all. Does it meet all of my needs? Almost, but no. But with its considerate design, built-in 4G connectivity, gobs of speed, nice trackpad and intriguing, high-density touchscreen, the Pixel is a device that is ahead of its time, and something that’s clearly been designed to far exceed the demands of the regular web user.
All previous Chromebooks have been unapologetically utilitarian — cheaply priced, cheaply built, and a bit crude. They’re the entry-level economy cars of laptops. They’re great secondary computers that I’ve found myself using as primary machines due to their convenience. But the Pixel is different than all the rest. It’s like riding in a plush new, high-performance, luxury sports car. If the Samsung Chromebook is a Honda Fit, the Pixel is a Lamborghini Gallardo. While they live on two opposite ends of the Chromebook spectrum, they perform the same basic functions, albeit with wildly different levels of style, class and power.