Chromebook Pixel is official, has high-DPI touch screen

Well, that leak was pretty much right on the mark. Google has made the Chromebook Pixel official, and the system indeed has a high-DPI touch screen. The screen is clad in Gorilla Glass and crams 2560x1700 pixels into a 12.85" panel with, yes, a bizarro 3:2 aspect ratio. Good on Google for bucking the trend of ever-shrinking vertical screen real estate.

Among the other key specs: a Core i5 dual-core processor clocked at 1.8GHz, Intel HD 4000 graphics, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, a 32GB solid-state drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, mini DisplayPort out, and a 720p webcam. A version of the system is offered with LTE connectivity and a 64GB SSD. Both versions supplement the SSD with a terabyte of Google Drive storage good for three years. Otherwise, the machine weighs 3.35 lbs and has a thickness of just 16.2 mm, or 0.64", which is slim enough to make an ultrabook blush (and subsequently develop severe bulimia).


Google hasn't skimped on the build quality, either. The Chromebook Pixel is fashioned out of anodized aluminum, and according to Google, "vents are hidden, screws are invisible and the stereo speakers are seamlessly tucked away beneath the backlit keyboard." Mmm, tasty.

Unfortunately, the system's price tag is less commendable. Google is demanding $1,299 for the Wi-Fi model, which is shipping next week, and an eye-popping $1,449 for the LTE version, which will arrive in April. Battery life apparently leaves something to be desired, as well—Google is quoting a paltry five-hour run time.

And, you know, this is a Chromebook.

Not that there's anything wrong with Chromebooks, of course. They're great, affordable little web browsing machines... when they are actually affordable. But I don't see myself shelling out a grand and a half for a glorified web surfing PC. It would be another matter if Chrome OS had its own, extensive library of native apps à la Android or iOS. Most web apps still lack the speed, flexibility, and feature-completeness of native software, however, and Chrome OS doesn't run much else, other than its barebones file manager, photo/video viewer, etc. I suppose you could always toss Windows or Ubuntu on the thing, but support for the touch screen might become an issue—and the puny battery life would still spoil the experience.

Yeah, I don't quite see what Google is going for. The only way this makes sense, I think, is if Chrome OS gets a sudden injection of new features and apps. Otherwise, I'm not sure who would actually buy a Chromebook Pixel.

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