A Wednesday news break from The Wall Street Journal saying Google was developing a touchscreen device running on Chrome operating system didn’t last long as the search engine giant put all speculations to rest by announcing the Chromebook Pixel Thursday, its premium notebook offering with an impressive set of features and hardware specs.
As the name suggests, the highlight of Chrome Pixel is its 12.85 inch high-density screen at 2560×1700 resolution (4.3 million pixels). The screen features a pixel density of 239 pixels per inch (ppi), which is comparatively higher than the 227 ppi on Apple’s 13-inch Macbook Pro with a Retina display. That said, Google’s flaunt saying the “Chromebook has the highest pixel density of any laptop screen on the market today” is reasonable enough to accept.
The very first thing in Chromebook Pixel that will attract users is indeed the screen, sporting a 0.55mm layer of touch-enabled Gorilla Glass. Apart from the high resolution, the device also comes with a relatively unusual aspect ratio of 3:2. According to Google, since the content on the web is meant to be displayed horizontally, the design team preferred 3:2, rather than the more typical 16:10 resolution, Tech Crunch reported.
“Google says this screen ‘gives you smooth interactions while preserving picture clarity’ and after some hands-on time with the device, Google definitely isn’t exaggerating the quality of the screen, which definitely measures up to Apple’s Retina displays,” the report added.
Google has indeed put a commendable effort into Chromebook Pixel’s display, but will it be able to compel users to ditch other popular devices like Apple’s premium MacBook models? Google thinks it will.
"People will give up a MacBook Air for this," said Google Chrome senior vice president Sundar Pichai.
Let’s bring the new Google Chromebook Pixel, based on Chrome operating system, face-to-face with Apple’s MacBook Pro and MacBook Air and see how it stacks up against them.
The Chromebook Pixel has a 12.85-inch screen at 2560×1700 resolution (239 ppi).
When it comes to MacBook Pro models with Retina display, the 13-inch version of the device features 2560x1600 resolution (native) at 227 ppi. On the other hand, the 13-inch MacBook Air sports 1440 x 900 resolution (native) at 130 ppi.
The Pixel’s 400 nit display has a 178-degree viewing angle and is powered by the same Intel HD Graphics 4000 platform found in the MacBook Air.
The Chromebook Pixel is powered by an Intel Core i5 Dual Core processor, clocking at 1.8GHz that is similar to the MacBook Air. However, the $1399 version of the MacBook Air can be configurable to a dual-core 2.0GHz Intel Core i7.
The Apple MacBook Pro is the clear winner in this regard with the $1499 version coming with a 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor and the $1699 version featuring a 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor. Both the versions can be configured to a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 and a 3.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 respectively.
The Chromebook Pixel comes with 4GB RAM. The MacBook Air also comes with 4GB RAM, which can be configured up to 8GB. The MacBook Pro, on the other hand, sports 8GB onboard memory.
When it comes to storage capacity, the Chromebook Pixel offers 32GB solid state drive, while the LTE version of the device offers 64GB of storage capacity. Interestingly, the device also comes with a whopping one terabyte of free storage on Google Drive for three years.
The $1199 version of the MacBook Air features 128GB flash storage, while the $1399 version of the device offers 256GB flash storage, which can be configured to 512GB flash storage.
The $1499 version of the MacBook Pro has 128GB flash storage, which can be configured to 256GB, 512GB, or 768GB flash storage. On the other hand, the $1699 version offers 256GB flash storage, which can configured to 512GB or 768GB flash storage.
The Chromebook Pixel features Dual-band 802.11 a/ b/ g/ n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0, with the LTE version coming with an integrated Verizon LTE modem (100 MB/ month for 2 years of mobile broadband from Verizon Wireless).
The Apple MacBook Air and MacBook Pro feature 802.11 a/ b/ g/ n Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth 4.0. However, both the devices lack LTE technology. Will it matter? Darrell Etherington of Tech Crunch doesn’t think it will: “LTE is nice to have, but, with the prevalence of hotspots and modems, arguably less important than more offline-accessible storage space,” said Etherington.
The Chromebook Pixel’s battery (59 Wh battery) is rated up to only five hours of runtime. On the other hand, the batteries of both MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are rated up to 7 hours of wireless web browsing with 30 days standby time.
The Chromebook Pixel comes with a dimension of 297.7 x 224.6 x 16.2 mm, weighing 1.52kg.
When it comes to Apple’s MacBook models, the MacBook Air comes with a dimension of 325 x 227 x 17 mm, weighing 1.35 kg. The MacBook Pro, on the other hand, comes with a dimension of 314 x 219 x 19 mm, weighing 1.62 kg.
The Wi-Fi only 32GB model of the Chromebook Pixel is available on Google Play for $1,299 in the U.S., while the LTE model with 64GB storage will available for $1449 in the U.S. in April.
Apple, on the other hand, recently slashed notebook prices by up to $300. According to the new pricing, the 13-inch version of the MacBook Air with 128GB storage capacity costs $1199, while the other model with 256GB storage capacity is available for $1399.
The new price cuts have brought down the cost for the 13-inch MacBook Pro (with Retina display) offering 128GB storage to $1499, while the 256GB version of the device now costs $1699 after the price revision.