A Mac user’s view of the Chromebook Pixel

Veteran writer and longtime Mac user Ian Betteridge takes an in-depth look at Google’s Chromebook Pixel.

  • r2shyyou

    Good piece, all around. I liked this part:

    “It’s not a shot across Apple’s bows, but more putting a flag in the ground that says ‘Come on Cupertino, we can do hardware – you think you can do services?'”

    Thanks for sharing, Jim!

    • But can they really do hardware?

      The Chromebook Pixel features the the CPU of the MacBook Air and the battery life of the 11″ MacBook Air – but for a price that’s very close to the MacBook Pro 13 Retina (which has a CPU that’s not just meant to be used in Ultrabooks/MBAs and a 40% better battery life).

      The power brick is connected to the Pixel via that old plug that has been used for ages – well, except at Apple.

      So they managed only two things in hardware – a good display and not-shitty manufacturing and touchpad/keyboard.

      For a high price.

      But will anyone actually buy that thing?

      Google has raised a generation of people who want their stuff for free or at least very cheap.

      See the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10.

      The Chromebook Pixel on the other hand shows that there’s no Apple tax.

      The MacBooks aren’t that expensive because you pay 500$ for the glowing Apple logo on the lid, you pay that money because stuff that is well built costs money.

      How will Google manage to maintain BOTH of these opposing images.

      The Nexus Q was just a more fancy AppleTV – and it cost triple the amount Apple is charging you.

      Some people will now say that the Pixel is actually given away for free, because you’ll also get a terabyte of free cloud storage for three years (which would cost you more than a Pixel) – but how many people are there that have bought 1TB of cloud storage from Google?

      How to fill 1TB with files you create in Chrome OS?

  • I have to agree with him on the screen ratio. I would love a 15″ MBP with a 3:2 Retina screen, 16:10 makes sense for almost nothing.

    I just do not know many people (zero to be frank) who have a 100% Web based workflow. WiFi is not ubiquitous here, not even in companies, public WiFi is too slow (try to upload a CF card full of images from a McDonalds or Starbucks… good luck). 4G/LTE is pretty fast here, but I burn through my 10 GB limit in less than two weeks (and most of my stuff, documents, music, is local), with a ChromeBook I would be toast.

    He is also quite exaggerating the quality of available Web based applications. None of the online solutions are good image or video editors, web based project management solutions are a joke, Google’s word processing and spreadsheet apps can’t even compete with Apple’s and fail at opening every moderately complex MS Office documents. How would a student format an academic paper on a ChromeBook? Schools in most of the world do not have WiFi either. Etc ad inf.

    He is writing about himself, and it might well be true for him. I could not live a single day without a proper text editor (like BBEdit), a proper mail client (I have 13 email accounts, 5 of them on Exchange… am I supposed to open 13 tabs in Chrome?) and proper tools to review, comment and change (with tracking) Office documents. And that is the bare minimum; I am not even mentioning any of the other 20-30 apps I use frequently that have no equivalent on the Web whatsoever. The Pixel is priced as a “only computer”. If it can’t even copy my daily videos and images from my camera when I am on vacation and have no net, it does not qualify as one. Betteridge’s requirements sound rather unique to me.

    • I also like his mention of the screen ratio. Widescreen makes great sense if you’re planning to edit or watch lots of video on the device, over and above designing/developing for, say, the Web.

  • dr.no

    So How come now that Google has hi dpi screen none of their fanboys crying about blurry web. Not one review has mentioned it.

    Not to mention no one talks about scale factor used by Google. Surely it can’t be 2 like Retina Macbooks. 160 dpi is scale factor one for Android. God know what Chromebook has. I am not even going to bother googling it.

    All of a sudden Windows 80% market share is not even mentioned. What is happening to fandroids.

    • james blond

      Because OPEN? It negates all other arguments apparently.

  • tylernol

    so… cannot develope on this, cannot use creative tools like photoshop, cannot play games, Google’s office replacemnt is still terrible….this author is too kind in the “this might work for you” — who is this person the Pixel is for? google should just kill Chrome OS and extend Android to run on these laptops.