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Google Chromebook Pixel review

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Google Chromebook Pixel laptop overview

The Chromebook Pixel looks and feels like a high quality device, and it foreshadows a revolution in computing. But the price tag is very high for a laptop that is currently so restricted in terms of software.

Pros:

Brilliant screen display, good touch response, great keyboard, excellent design and build quality

Cons:

Rather heavy, expensive, not everyone will like the 3:2 aspect ratio display, battery life could be better, lack of support for core business apps

Overall Rating:

3 Star Rating: Recommended

Price: £1049

Manufacturer: Google

Google unveiled its Chromebook Pixel laptop to compete with Apple MacBooks and Windows 8 ultrabooks.

Touting what the firm claims is the highest resolution screen ever seen in a laptop, the Pixel doesn't come cheap. Costing £1,049, the 13in-sized device is rather costly considering the limitations of its Chrome OS, which is bound to put some buyers off, especially considering that it won't support many popular applications and the latest games, for example.

Google Chromebook Pixel front view

However, with touch capabilities on a display that boasts a quality higher than that seen on Apple's Retina technology, and a striking aluminium finish, Google's Chromebook Pixel is bound to gain some well-deserved attention. Whether the firm can translate these features into sales remains to be seen. Nevertheless, we've put the Pixel through its paces to see if it has what it takes to compete with fellow industry giants Apple and Microsoft.

Google Chromebook Pixel left side view

Design and build
What initially strikes you about the Chromebook Pixel is its anodised aluminium chassis, which not only gives it a sleek, stylish look, but creates an impression that it will be robust enough to withstand a good few knocks and drops.

We also like how the Pixel's brushed metal finish, which uses active cooling so has no visible vents - as well as screws or speakers - gives it a very minimalistic, high-end appearance. At £1,049, it is in harmony with its price tag in terms of looks. However, a downside to the Pixel's build is that it isn't the lightest we've tried and tested, feeling quite heavy at 1.52kg. Measuring 16.2mm thick, it's also not the slimmest laptop design we've had the pleasure of using.

Google Chromebook Pixel closed back thickness

Saying that, the Pixel does have some great features, such as its piano hinge, which Google says has been built in to help dissipate heat and augment the Wi-Fi antenna. Whether this is really the case, we're not too sure, but it does retain a very smooth motion, so opening and closing the lid is effortless.

Another charming, albeit rather pointless quirk featured on the Pixel is the LED bar light that sits on the lid just above the groove where you open it up. In true Google style, this emits an array of colours in the theme of the search engine's ubiquitous logo: a rather simple but fun way of adding brand association to the Pixel's minimal design.

Google Chromebook Pixel led lights

Overall, the Pixel did impress us in terms of design and build. Although it might remind us of Apple's MacBook Pro series, it feels exceptionally well made, possessing a very high quality finish and as a result is an absolute pleasure to work on, or play on for that matter, and will undoubtedly impress anyone that uses it.

Next: Display.

Model: Google Chrombook Pixel
Processor: Intel Core i5 dual-core processor running at 1.8GHz
RAM: 4GB DDR3
Storage: 32GB, 1TB of Google Drive cloud storage free for three years
Display: Gorilla Glass multi-touch 12.85in display with a 2560x1700 resolution and 3:2 aspect ratio
Connectivity: Dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0
Ports: 2x USB 2.0, 1x mini displayport, 1x 2-in-1 SD/MMC card reader
Weight: 1.52kg
Dimensions: 297x225x16mm

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Lee Bell
About

Lee joined as a reporter on The INQUIRER in April 2012.

Prior to working at The INQUIRER, Lee was sponsored by the NCTJ to do a multimedia journalism course in London. After completing placements at local magazines and newspapers in both print and online he wrote for an online gaming news website, and it was here where his love for technology grew.

Lee's main coverage areas include processors, internet security, PCs, laptops and tablet news and reviews.

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