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Google Chromebook Pixel

Google Chromebook Pixel

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79 Engadget Score
A good product that falls short of greatness.
79

A good product that falls short of greatness.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Engadget Review

Google's Pixel is far and away the nicest Chromebook on the market and rivals the best for build quality, but it's far too expensive for a machine with such limited functionality.

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Pros
  • Beautiful, high-res display
  • Incredible build quality
  • Great keyboard and trackpad
Cons
  • Limited OS functionality
  • Poor battery life
  • High cost
79 Engadget Score
A good product that falls short of greatness.
79

A good product that falls short of greatness.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Scores

Engadget

79
 

User Reviews

80
rkarolak
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - Engadget
90
geezer33
Great machine for my purposes which is all online looking at graphs and cruising...read more
100
njashanmal
Among the most polemical devices released in recent memory.I debated whether...read more
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Score Breakdown

 
89
Average user Score
 
80
rkarolak
08.29.14
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - Engadget
 
90
geezer33
09.13.13
Great machine for my purposes which is all online looking at graphs and cruising the web.
 
100
njashanmal
07.21.13
Among the most polemical devices released in recent memory.I debated whether or not to get one for several days but having extensively used the Samsung Chromebook Series 5 550 (my review here: http://goo.gl/G4ikk) made me appreciate Chrome OS but also made me want it on better hardware, in particular a better screen and the Pixel more than offered that so it proved hard to say no.I've been using it as my only computer for the past 3 days and comfortably slipped back into the Chrome OS workflow, I'd been using a Dell XPS 13 running Windows 8 and a Lenovo Thinkpad X220 running Ubuntu 12.10 prior to this and am using an iPhone 5 as my phone at the moment.Firstly, the hardware. This has been covered ad naseum but suffice it to say that everything you've heard/read is true: The screen is the most beautiful that I've ever seen on any device and sometime makes me feel like I'm seeing things I've seen many times before for the first time. Text especially looks spectacular. Most images on the internet aren't optimized for it (of Retina MacBooks) yet. I have no problem with the 3:2 aspect ratio. It makes sense in the way that Google described in that it gives more vertical real-estate for web browsing which is the main activity it will be used for.Everything else, the chassis, the case, the keyboard, the trackpad - all are on par or better than what's generally regarded as best-in-class. The keys on the keyboard offer the right degree of resistance and feedback and are perfectly sized and placed. The trackpad has real tactility to it is and is very precise. The machine feel great to the touch.The speakers are easily the best ever on a machine this size. Very loud, crisp and totally devoid of distortion even at the highest volume setting. Plus they're invisible as they're located underneath the keyboard. Even more impressive is that they offer discernible stereo separation.People say that the touchscreen is pointless as it is neither optimized for smooth scrolling which hasn't been my experience, it work rather well and nor is much of the interface of either Chrome or the web in general touch optimized. Again, this is somewhat debatable as gmail.com, for example, does have a touch-friendly mode which, logically, appears to only be available when visiting from a touch-enabled device. And, I have noticed a more widespread use of larger buttons, more white-space and other touch friendly elements across the internet, most likely driven by the fact that web designers have acknowledged the widespread use of iPads (number one activity of which is browsing the web, folks!) and other tablet devices.There's not much more to say about the hardware except that the colored LED light-strip on the back feels a bit gimmicky. Yes it is whimsical and "Google-y" but is...superfluous (and, yes, I've input the Konami Contra code for the Easter Egg and, yes, it is amusing...the first time).Now for the more controversial aspect of this device. Most people agree to varying degrees that the hardware is impressive. But the majority question why it is running Chrome OS. Isn't it overkill, they ask. What's the point? It's way, way too expensive for a Chromebook.No one is forcing anyone to buy this and if one likes the idea of Chrome OS but balks at the asking price of the Pixel there are several other worthy options, particularly the Samsung Series 3 and Series 5 devices.For some, maybe ultimately very few people, the Pixel makes sense.Irrespective of whatever computer I'm using my workflow is very cloud-centric.My company is very Microsoft based, using Exchange for email and Excel is also used extensively. Our ERP is accessible via a browser and otherwise the only other file formats we spend a lot time using are Powerpoint, Word, PDF and occasionally CAD. Everything that I need to do can be done via either Google Drive or Microsoft Office online.Personally everything I use has a web app. From Gmail to Pixlr for photo editing, to Google Drive for document storage and handling, Google Hangouts for video chats, Kindle Cloud Reader for eBooks, Comixology for comics (which look amazing, BTW) - even Spotify now works through the browser. (Update: the Spotify web player is out of beta and appears to have stopped working on Chrome OS devices.)So for me, even when I'm using another computer 95% of my time is spent in the browser when working or reading. Really the only thing that I do outside of a browser is watch movies. Yes, content needs to be gotten from another device but everything bar MKV files can be played back on the Pixel. I had read reviews that said the Pixel stuttered while playing video and this was my experience with older Chromebooks but not with the Pixel. So far playback of all videos I've tried has been very smooth. Perhaps this been fixed via a software update between the review models and shipping models (there was a fairly large update to download and install when I first turned it on).I haven't yet traveled with the Pixel and this will be a true test of it's utility, especially given the one point I have against it: the battery life.5 hours is the bare minimum of what is acceptable. Fortunately, on most of the long haul flights I take there is a power socket on the seat back but this isn't always the case so I can imagine that there will be times where it will die on a long flight.Contrary to popular belief it is possible to edit documents offline on Google Drive as well as work on GMail - everything is synced, saved, sent the next time one connects.One interesting bit of rhetoric that I've seen repeatedly from the mainstream tech press is that Chromebooks as a whole have been a failure and haven't sold well as they're "...not what normal people want." - The fact that the Samsung Chromebook Series 3 has been in the Top 3 best-selling laptops on both Amazon US and UK and has 4+ Star ratings from customers on both sites with substantial numbers of reviews would appear to refute this.For me, except for the battery life, the Chromebook Pixel is the closest thing to a perfect machine out there right now.
 
90
Heavensword
06.20.13
I wrote an entire blog post about this. Go have a look.http://chromeoslife.blogspot.com/2013/06/pixelated-cr-48-upgrade-story.html
 
90
jhoon
05.27.13
The best in its category. We highly recommend it. - Engadget
 
80
rickschwar
05.23.13
The first mobile device that you can use instead of a Mac or PC in an office environment. I love the free 100MB 4G and free 1TB of cloud storage. The touch screen is also useful for some things. The OS does have a small learning curve. Most of the apps which exist are good, but there could be more. Many popular apps are no yet available.
 
100
BenBethel
05.04.13
I buy a lot of gadgets, and when I get something I usually think that there's something that could be better about what I just bought and I yearn for the next best thing, the newest update or next generation model of the item. Not with the Chromebook Pixel. My first chromebook, I've had everything from cheap netbooks to expensive ultrabooks. This is the best I've had, I don't think it could be better, and I just love it. This is basically a free computer, when you consider the free 1TB of storage, the free 4G LTE service, and the free GoGo in-flight internet... it has just around $2400 in free offerings alone, and you'll never need to buy software, ever. It's blazingly fast, the trackpad is buttery smooth, the touch screen works perfectly, the sound is truly the most amazing sound of any computer out there, and the backlit keyboard is the best on the market, and autodims when watching videos, and the screen is super bright and the best screen I've ever used, and can be viewed from any angle perfectly. I find that I end my day every day with far less eye strain than ever... actually, no eye strain that I can think of, which in itself is worth $20/day to me... seriously. I use chrome remote desktop to log into my server at work and this works far better than windows remote desktop. So far, it's been just around a month of heavy, heavy use and I have no complaints. Ah, I've called tech support twice just to ask questions, and they answer faster than calling 9-1-1.... seriously, they answer immediately, are knowledgeable and follow up with personal emails.... they really care about this product.
 
80
Wael
03.22.13
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - Engadget
 
80
KevinCTofel
03.20.13
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws. - Engadget
 
100
Veriwind
03.08.13
A gadget unicorn - Engadget

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