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First Look and Overview of the Chromebook Pixel

Chromebook Pixel

After Google announced the Chrombook Pixel last week, there were generally two reactions – one of initial excitement over the specs, high-res touch display, and build quality, followed by a second  that usually included a, “Holy sh*t, how much does it cost?” I have to admit that those two thoughts sum up my initial reactions perfectly. But because the device surprised so many and is in some ways very polarizing, we thought we’d take a look at in anyway. Google has released this device hoping that other Chromebook manufacturers use this as motivation to build better products. Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to find out if that will happen. 

My initial impressions are mostly captured in the video below, but I will say that it’s clear from the beginning that this device is nothing short of premium. While we can argue all day over whether or not any Chrome OS device should be priced this high, the hardware alone matches up what we consider to be a top tier device in the notebook category. The display is incredible, the backlit keyboard feels great while typing, the design is beautiful, and the overall feel should please almost anyone with a craving for new technology.

Check out the rest of my thoughts, including a full unboxing below.




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  • Granted

    Haha! 64GB storage?! Pathetic! Gee, I wonder why they skimped on the storage when storage is incredibly cheap now…….oh, that is right, the Google cloud storage that they want you to pay $1800 a year for. No, that couldn’t be the reason. This money-pit could have a display that allowed me to actually reach through it and touch people that I am video chatting with. But I would never buy something this crippled, storage-wise. Just pathetic!

    • zurginator

      $1800 gets you 3 years of 1TB of cloud storage — and you get that for free buying this laptop.

  • So what is keeping g you fro. Loading g windows 7/8 or Ubuntu on this device. Pretty device but I would rather have an internet free option if need be. The built in storage may be small but that can be supplemented with USB drives.

  • droidify

    Great video and pictures as always. Thanks

  • Jim

    Anyone who buys this would be more than an idiot who buys an MacBook.

  • Davey

    I just lost some respect for this website i frequent when I saw him pick up his apple laptop…….

  • Jeff Mowbray

    This thing looks awesome

  • Question: Did you find a setting to reverse the trackpad scroll? Does it mess up scrolling on the touch screen?

  • Hey how did you get that awesome Chrome browser start up thing with the time and stuff. I want that.

  • Gene Shapiro

    I could see setting up a LinuxMint dual boot. I don’t think I could live on Chrome alone.

  • Kellex… I must know… What camera did you use to take these shots? Great overview!

  • Curtis

    Kellen – fire that puppy back up, open the app drawer, and go to the “Get started” app. That’s where tutorial you were looking for is located. I think I could make it my primary device. Great review.

  • DiegoKokomo

    What are the odds that they throw in a Chromebook Pixel at I/O?

  • NexusMan

    Damn Google! The more I see this thing, the more I want it…but I really don’t need it. But would LOVE to win one!

  • johnc7995

    No function keys? Lame, I don’t need those browser control buttons

  • Greg Abbate

    Video quality looked pretty bad. Seemed like it was never focused in or took a long time to focus.

  • DO the up down up down left right left right b a b a trick

  • ApplesNAndroids

    I can understand Googles pricing and it looks amazing. However, I just bought a new MacBook Air 13″ for that pricing and I feel as I got a whole lot more for what i bought. I’m still not on the touchscreen PC wagon, yet. I can’t stand when my laptop or TV now get smudges on them lol.

    • Richard Wolff

      see the problem with that is then you own a macbook air.

  • Derek Ross

    The hardware looks nice and for a personal-use laptop I could get by without having Windows/Mac applications (but I absolutely couldn’t use something like this for professional use)… but I just couldn’t justify the expense. For me this is in the possible $500 toy category.

    Still, for a niche, design-study-like product it looks cool so I’m interested to see how your time with it goes.

  • skinja99

    If this device would please run Android, then you could get real work done on it. But google wants to push you towards using all their cloud based services.

    Please google, start putting Android on Laptops!!

    Also, the point of Chrome was that most everything people did with a laptop was surf the web. We don’t need a $1100 device to surf the web.

  • master94

    I want, but not for $1300, will wait for it to be only $600 or less

  • Needs Elementary OS on it ;D

  • Sean Wood

    Quick query K… with that hinge being central to the device it seems like it would logically fold completely back so at the screen would sorta be a tablet… can you confirm or deny this?

  • SPECULATION:I think that light bar is going to be some sort of notification light to be used once this device gets Android 5.0

    • NexusMan

      I was also thinking that some sort of update would be pushed for notifications.

  • Liderc

    I’m sorry, but “amazing screen” just isn’t enough for that price. As much as I love Google products, it’s just a total failure in terms of being a product that nearly anyone would be interested in picking up. I won’t be cliche and say it’s just a browser, but I can buy a pretty incredible laptop for 1300-1400 bucks and it would capable of a lot more than the Pixel. Nice try Google, but maybe a try a few less pixels next time, and a lower price.

    • Taylor Levesque

      It’s a halo product. It’s meant to stimulate other manufacturers to push the bar a little better.

      • vitriolix

        Clearly. They are doing this to define the category not to sell units, much like the Nexus program was for a long time

    • Cowboydroid

      This is the problem with the American market, everyone thinks that anything that goes onto the market is for mass consumption, and when the price of the product doesn’t meet that expectation, they proclaim it a waste of money.

  • jsf6262

    What’s with the 3:2 aspect ratio?

    • Taylor Levesque

      Better for webpages

  • Dave

    Isn’t a Dell AlienWare cheaper? LoL

    • Alienware is crap now that they are owned by dell

  • Shane Redman

    I really want to love Chromebooks, but until my current laptop gives up, I just don’t see it. Although, I use my current laptop as more of a desktop with it’s massive size and weight, so there’s that. I just don’t know.

  • Kellex, could you see if you can get all of chromebook pixel wallpapers collection and share it with us? Thank!

  • Kerry Fath

    Should have made this a prize today in the giveaway!!!

  • That whole “Its just a Facebook machine, you can’t do much” mentality is sooooooo wrong. Outside of video & advanced photo editing, Chromebooks can handle just about everything you throw at it.

    Yes, the tasks most users are accustomed to doing natively are handled via web apps. But this lazy view that it can’t be a main computer is wrong. I have a C7, and I haven’t turned my desktop on since I got it.

    • If I didn’t need to do video editing for this site, and the amount of photo work we do, I could probably use a Chromebook no problem. The rest of the word we do is all in Chrome.

      That said, I do already miss things like a Sonos app and Nike Fuelband software.

      • That’s a fair point. But as the platform grows, I’m positive that more and more solutions for applications like that will become available.

      • MikeCiggy

        But those apps can be developed for Chrome OS. Google needs to start bribing developers with free Pixels to start developing apps and filling the app store.

        • skinja99

          Why develop them for Chrome? Why not just put Android on these laptops?

          • MikeCiggy

            Android is Google’s phone OS. Chrome is their Laptop OS. They want to keep them separate and I’m sure if you could get someone to ask why they have some reasons.

          • Seth Schorr

            The problem with your point is that Chrome is being pushed to be the browser to use on phones and tablets, so why not the inverse with Android on the laptop?

          • MikeCiggy

            Even still Chrome OS and Chrome browser are two different products. And it allows you to keep everything unified with one browser. I love logging into chrome on a new pc and having all of my stuff rite away. Chrome OS is an operating system not just a browser.

    • Trav

      Well considering almost all current games/apps that you would want to play/use on a computer are pc/mac based.

    • Joe

      Most is not all so this is a waste of money.

  • Jonathan Bunch

    Looks very good! Love the design of it! Just wish you had the option to use another os.

  • sethm

    Once Linux is ported to this, that price will be alot less unbearable.

    • Josh Flowers

      it’s already running on the $249 Chromebooks, so I’m hoping it doesn’t take too long, either.
      $1500 is just way too much for a computer that can’t even burn a cd or watch Netflix.

      that screen is too gorgeous to not be able to watch videos.

      • Error, you can watch Netflix on it.

        • Josh Flowers

          I thought Netflix required Silverlight, a Microsoft application that wasn’t able to be downloaded onto it? If it is able, then that’s 1 roadblock avoided for me.

      • I see your point, and my main limiting factor is gaming/steam, but fwiw, I can’t remember the last time I legitimately needed to burn a disc, let alone a cd.

        • Richard Wolff

          I have to burn disk’s all the time for work (i work at a hospital they are still getting used to this flash drive craze) that said outside of the legacy trash i deal with here i haven’t burnt a CD/DVD or needed to since 08

    • it’s ported already

  • T4rd

    Can you put Windows 8 on it? That would make it pretty awesome.

    • Ian Winchell

      only if you can then “down” grade it to windows 7.

    • Not yet, only Linux

    • If it ran Windows 8 well, I’d really consider it, but at this point I don’t know if I could see myself jumping into Chrome OS with a high-end machine like this. Even having the option of running full Android would help.

  • +1 For Google showing they can come out with a premium product. Now rein in the pricing like the Nexus Line.

    • zurginator

      They’re not making enough money off of Chrome to cover the cost yet. And hell, they’re already giving you 1TB of storage free. ($1800)

      It might have been better for them to juggle those two in what they handle (less free storage and lower price), but I figure it’s a lot easier for Google to give you free storage.

  • I wish I could afford one.

  • Lol

    Nice, a $1300 facebook machine!

    • Google+ machine 🙂

    • Jason James

      so is a smartphone for a teenage girl
      $200 – phone

      $36 – activation fee
      $1080 – two year contract ~$90/month

      • blootz

        1300$ Facebook machine
        +36$ activation fee
        +1080$ two year contract
        stll 1000$ more and you still can’t do as much as a 200$phone
        cool to show off, but not practical, until they incorporate android into it.

  • Touchscreen…so neat. Wish all computers had them now.

    • T4rd

      With Windows 8, it’s pretty much becoming the standard now.

      • Ian Winchell

        Despite windows 8. FTFY

      • And that’s awesome. Now stupid Apple just needs to make a touchscreen iMac. 😛

        • Sure, I guess kids and old people deserve touchscreen PCs too 😉

          • Nathan Buth

            And any developer that develops for multiple platforms ;D

        • Richard Wolff

          please don’t encourage apple, the last thing the tech industry needs is more over priced featureless products.

          • michael arazan

            No doubt, if I was going to spend that much, I’d go with alienware or the Falcon Northwest desktop with 2 nd gen a7 or a5 16 gb ram and liquid cooling
            That is the most expensive browser ever

          • DinTheCloud

            Perhaps you would, but then you’d have gigantic, tasteless, ugly lumps of crap in your house.

        • Touchscreen, and Retina. We need to start leaving low-res behind.

    • DrewNusser

      Microsoft was onto something when they made Windows 8 so touchscreen friendly. Non-touchscreen laptops are gonna be seen as ancient in a few years.

    • ChristianJohnson

      Windows 8 was built perfectly for touch screens, every time I look at those laptops now I want one.

    • Great video, by the way.

    • Alan Paone

      Ugh I hope not. Touching a computer is so lame.

      • DinTheCloud

        People who loved DOS And CPM said the same sort of thing when mice became available.

    • NorCalGuy

      you should find the space app/ wall paper that they showed it off with, help show the full potential of the screen

    • akazerotime

      Kellen, what is that clock & weather home screen when you start chrome located at (6:05 of the video)? That is the hotness right there

      • Arlington Albertson

        That’s an extension called Currently. I use it and LOVE it. Link: http://bit.ly/PMawVf

        • akazerotime

          +10000 internets for this info. THANK. YOUUUUUU!

  • Thomas

    At least the light bar is pretty cool

  • Shane Redman

    When does the price fall???

  • If I had some loot to throw around, I would totally get this. It doesn’t do much but it still intrigues me.

  • “there were generally two reactions – one of initial excitement over the specs… followed by a second that usually included a, ‘Holy sh*t, how much does it cost?'”
    This pretty much sums up my reaction to the letter.

  • It certainly looks like nice hardware, I guess that’s gotta count… right?