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Google unveils Chromebook Pixel for £1,049

  • Chromebook Pixel
  • Chromebook Pixel
  • Chromebook Pixel
  • Chromebook Pixel

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 22 Feb 2013 at 10:30

Google has unveiled the Chromebook Pixel, a touchscreen, top-end laptop running its Chrome OS that will cost more than £1,000.

True to its name, the Chromebook Pixel has a 2,560 x 1,700, 12.9in touchscreen display, and Google claimed its 239ppi pixel density was the highest of any laptop screen - topping the MacBook Pro Retina 13in, which features 227ppi.

It features dual-band Wi-Fi and runs on a dual-core Core i5 chip at 1.8GHz with 32GB of SSD storage. Google is promising five hours of battery life, and it comes with two USB 2 ports, mini DisplayPort, and an SD card reader.

Google hasn't yet said which manufacturer has actually produced the Chromebook Pixel; its Nexus 7 tablet is made by Asus.

Google describes the body as "anodised aluminium alloy", with vents and screws hidden away, and the speakers tucked under the backlit keyboard to create a seamless look. Google describes the rear hinge as a "piano hinge", saying the device can be opened and closed with a single finger.

Chromebook Pixel

It's 16.2mm thick, within Ultrabook specifications, and weighs 1.53kg, a shade lighter than the MacBook Pro Retina 13in.

Along the top of the laptop is a "light bar" in Google's brand colours, "just because it looks cool".

Chromebook Pixel

Aside from the flash storage, the Chromebook Pixel comes with 1TB of cloud storage for three years - much more generous than 100GB over two years on previous Chromebooks - with Google saying it was designed "especially for power users who have fully embraced the cloud".

"The philosophy of Chrome has always been to minimise the 'chrome' of the browser," said Linus Upton, vice president of engineering. "In much the same way, the goal of the Pixel is to make the pixels disappear, giving people the best web experience."

The high-end specs and price are quite a change from previous versions - the Acer C7 Chromebook costs less than £200 - and Upton admitted the first two rounds of Chromebooks were designed to be affordable.

That's not the case with the Pixel, with the Wi-Fi only version costing £1,049 in the UK. However, anyone already buying 1TB of cloud storage space via Google Drive can effectively get the Chromebook Pixel for free - that much storage costs $50 a month, and over three years the $1,800 more than outstrips the cost of the laptop.

The Wi-Fi only version goes on sale immediately, and will start shipping next week. A LTE version will ship in the US in April for $1,449.

The move to a more expensive Chromebook may seem a surprise, as the devices have been seen as many as a flop, but Google claimed to have grabbed more than 10% of laptop sales at PC World, adding that the Samsung Chromebook has been at the top of Amazon's sales list in the US.

To see the Chromebook Pixel in action, watch the video from Google below:

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User comments

Wow. Amazingly unaffordable. I have a first generation Samsung Chromebook, but somehow I don't think I can afford this, much as I buy into the concept.


Google will have to provide some pretty premium services to justify this, and they probably will, eventually, but at the moment media is a serious weakness of the platform, tied into Google+ and lacking basic usability features such is in-place photo editing or an offline text editor. I doubt you can even run Spotify on it, and they're probably hoping that their Play Store will provide all you need. I don't think it does in the UK, yet.

By c6ten on 21 Feb 2013

Odd

If I had £1,000 to spend on a laptop, I would expect it to be able to do everything the competition can - this clearly cannot. Unless Google is about to announce some pretty incredible enhancements to ChromeOS then I simply can't see who this is aimed at. Apart from those with more money than sense and Apple already has sown up that corner of the market.

Fortunately, I only £229 to spend and bought the Samsung Chromebook which is the perfect netbook.

By KevPartner on 21 Feb 2013

Too expenive? not necessarily, but needs more balanced spec.

I find it weird how people now seem to call anything that costs £1000 really expensive. No, not really. I'm a student who has earned below minimum wage and even I could easily afford one of these. I think it would be foolish to buy one of these however, with the duobling of gpu perforance that Intel Haswell's microarchitecture will bring on its top end parts over Intel 4000, when it is introduced in June. And it seems odd that there seems to be such a big premium for x86 parts, when obviously the Nexus 10, can be had for less than £400, and features a similar res screen to this. So, is this thing too expensive. Well yes, in this guise. I mean, I don't know for certain how fast Google's cloud can be, but since it's obviously very reliant on strong internet access, I think a larger SSD (say 128gb sdd) would make it more balanced. I know emphasiign local storage over cloud based storage might seem blasphemous for Google's cloud based vision of productivity, but I think the 2 need to compliemnt one another.

By Jonny_Bingham on 21 Feb 2013

Expensive?

Google would charge you (US) $1800 for 1Tb of Google Drive for three years. And they have real live customers paying such sums.

Looked at this way, the machine is effectively free.

By PaulOckenden on 22 Feb 2013

@ Paul

Excellent point.

By snoog on 22 Feb 2013

Cloud Storage, PPI, Only one thing missing

Spot on Paul.

The PPI is the headline figure for me: 4.3 MP touchscreen? That's insane.

Now, if the Adobe suite could run on Chrome OS...

By tonywhipple on 22 Feb 2013

Strange, but true..

I still fail to see the USP of 'Chrome' PCs. Google already has some excellent tablets, and these take full advantage of many of Google's cloud services.
Interesting that Google's Android devices use the 'Nexus' brand, while its PCs are 'Chrome', and aren't Android. There's obviously some kind of technical\marketing logic on the go here.

My guess is that if Google wish it to become more prevalent, Chrome will continue to develop features of a full-blown O\S. Otherwise it will be many years before there is sufficient reliable global bandwidth for Chrome to be more than an interesting sidebar in the history of Computing.

By wittgenfrog on 22 Feb 2013

Expensive!?

@Jonny_Bingham
With all respect - and accepting for those already paying for 1TB cloudy storage from Google it makes no odds - £1000 and over IS expensive for lots of people. Perhaps - again with respect - as a student you don't run cars, pay a mortgage, have kids, pay lots of utility bills etc. Then again maybe you do - and still, somehow on "below the minimum wage" manage to make £1000 feel cheap.

Oh yes - cool hardware - but I'm with wittgenfrog - can't see the USP - certainly not at that price.

By halian on 22 Feb 2013

Aspirational

Don't consider this as expensive, consider it aspirational. It will enhance Google's reputation at producing desireable devices rather than necessarily being a device a lot of people would purchase. As such it definitely gets my attention. I wouldn't buy this in a million years though as there are much better value items around.

By Manuel on 22 Feb 2013

@Manuel

The 'aspirational' point is a good one, and certainly fits well with the idea that 'Google' branded hardware is likely to take over from 'partnered' gadgets from ASUS, LG et al.

Google didn't buy Motorola (just) for the patents....

By wittgenfrog on 22 Feb 2013

Screen!

Wow, a new laptop that has a decent screen that isn't 16:9! I would love to get one of these, bung a 256GB SSD into it and plonk Windows onto it. I don't think I could bring myself to spend this much on one running ChromeOS though.

By Trippynet on 22 Feb 2013

@halian

nicely put.

I earn above minimum wage, but have a family and mortgage.

1K? For house repairs or for central heating, yes. For something as frivolous as a PC? No.

By big_D on 22 Feb 2013

I would pay £1000 for the screen alone!

I have waited three years to replace my 15" Dell Laptop with a WUXGA screen because the highest res I could get for sensible money was 1920x1080. As Trippynet says I would be seriously interested in putting a larger SSD into this and setting it for dual boot with Windows. Best of both worlds then... Well done Google!

By johnortt on 26 Feb 2013

Why this is great for the Industry

Ignoring the screen for a minute, a macbook pro retina costs far more and they are selling like hot cakes. I think this is a great development, not least because the more high-res screens that come out, the more mainstream they will become - and the more affordable.

By johnortt on 26 Feb 2013

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