After getting a hands-on experience with the Chromebook Pixel that was given out at the Google I/O, we thought we share what we thought of this new laptop based on the Google Chrome interface. The Chromebook Pixel is useful for basic usages such as e-mailing, web browsing and running applications available by Google. Other than those usages, we find that the Chromebook Pixel is not a very practical computer to have unless the user installs Ubuntu on it that will allow users to use to install and run applications that you find on an everyday computer.
We found that the design of the Chromebook Pixel to be of very good quality. The body is made of aluminum that gives it a strong durable and premium feel. The body of the Chromebook Pixel doesn’t have any visible vents, which gives the body of the laptop a very nice consistent look to it. The screen is also quite fantastic, especially when watching high-resolution HD videos, 4K videos and pictures, where images are amazingly sharp and clear.
Other than the high-quality build, what we really liked about the design is that the audio headphone port is located on the left side, unlike most laptops, which rids of tangling with headphone wires as most headphones have it’s headphone wire located on the left ear-cup, which only makes sense to have a laptop to have the input jack on the left as well. However, we found that the track pad to be in the way when typing on the keyboard, where the user’s right hand is always touching the track-pad. Although the track-pad does have palm detection, using another operating system like Ubuntu, will disable palm detection.
The Chromebook Pixel runs on Chrome, the web-browser by Google, as its operating system. Programs and applications that are running on the Chromebook Pixel will open the Chrome browser which makes it not a very practical computer to use other than web-browsing and e-mailing. There are applications that you can download from Google that will be running off the Chrome browser, but not many of the applications are your typical apps found in an everyday computer.
The screen is a touchscreen, which makes it easy to scroll and browse around, especially with its sharp resolution at 2560X1700 with 239ppi. However, at such a high resolution, we found that it can be quite difficult to read text off the screen, especially when running Ubuntu OS where you cannot change the resolution except for increasing the font size to make it easier to read the text on the screen.
After we installed Ubuntu OS on the Chromebook Pixel, the Pixel does become more practical to use as you can now run different applications like Microsoft Office. However, installing Ubuntu will require using developer mode and cannot be used right out of the box.
The Chromebook Pixel only has a 32GB Solid State Drive for internal memory, which means that if users require more space, they will either need to use the SD Card reader, external hard-drive via USB or the Cloud like Google Drive. The lack of internal memory allows the Chromebook Pixel to be light and small which makes it easy to carry. But the lack of internal memory is likely because Google wants users to use their cloud storage system, which seems to be the future of computer storage.
We found that running applications and viewing 4K video on the Chromebook Pixel to be fast as the processing power is great, running at 1.8Ghz dual-core with an Intel i5 processor, along with 4GB of RAM.
The keyboard on the Chromebook Pixel is slightly different than most laptops, as there are no caps lock key and Function keys. The caps lock key is replaced by a search button to look up the limited applications you installed on the Chromebook Pixel, while the Function keys are replaced by shortcut keys like refresh, back, forward etc.
Overall, the Chromebook Pixel has a high quality build to it but its functionality is not so great as many everyday computer applications cannot be run on the Chrome OS. It’s main functionality appears to be useful for on the go web browsing and e-mailing. However, if users choose to install Ubuntu OS, it can add more functionality to the Chromebook Pixel where users can install and run your everyday computer applications like Microsoft Office.