Google unveils Chromebook Pixel, expects you to pay $1,299

By on February 21, 2013, 4:00 PM

Google has just announced the latest addition to its lineup of web-centric Chromebook laptops. Unlike prior variants that drew their main value from their low price tag, the new Chromebook Pixel hopes to entice another set of users who live in the cloud and are willing to spend ‘a little more’ for better specs. That includes a 12.85 inch 2560×1700 touch screen, Core i5 CPU, bigger SSD and 1TB of storage on Google Drive for three years.

Starting at $1,299 for the basic Wi-Fi version, however, the Chromebook Pixel is definitely not for everyone.

As the name suggests the high resolution screen is the highlight of this device. With a pixel density of 239 pixels per inch it manages to outclass the 220 PPI of Apple’s MacBook Pro with Retina display, and the use of a 3:2 aspect ratio is supposed improve viewing web content with 18% more vertical space than a 16:9 layout.

It's thicker and boxier than the MacBook Pro but it shares some design elements and there's similar attention to detail. From the invisible speakers that fire upwards through the keyboard, to the vents hidden in the hinge, a full-sized LED-backlit keyboard, and a large glass touchpad tuned with a laser for a grippy finish. Hands-on impressions popping up across the web all agree that if feels like a solid piece of kit.

Under the hood you’ll find a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor alongside 4GB of DDR3 RAM and 32GB of flash storage -- nothing to rival a similarly priced Windows laptop but then again you don’t need much more for Chrome OS. Other features include Bluetooth 3.0, an SD slot, two USB 2.0, one Mini DiasplayPort, and a trio of integrated mics that cancel out background noise when videoconferencing on the 720p webcam.

An LTE-equipped model with 64GB of storage is scheduled to arrive in early April for $1,449.

Google’s app suite including services like Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, Google Maps, and Search are all a few clicks away, with another couple of thousand more available on the Google Web Store. The company also demoed a new Google+ app that should arrive in a few weeks, as well as new Quick Office integration so you can open and edit Word and Excel documents natively from Google Docs.

The Chromebook Pixel will be available on the Google Store and in select Best Buy locations nationwide.

We can’t fault Google for trying something different and bold with Chrome OS, but at that price it’ll be a hard sell when you can get more for less. Even with the high resolution display as a key selling point it’s hard to justify the investment when a higher-spec MacBook Pro with Retina display running a full fledged desktop OS costs $50 more. Sadly, there are still no high-resolution alternatives available from the Windows camp.




User Comments: 45

Got something to say? Post a comment
2 people like this | roxxas2 said:

Lol **** that.

maxxxenem1 maxxxenem1 said:

LOL@Chromebook and Apple

JC713 JC713 said:

Why an i5, 4gb of ram, and a high res screen for surfing the web... so stupid

1 person liked this | inventix2 inventix2 said:

The only thing that it has going for it is the screen, otherwise it is just a basic $600 laptop without any hard drive space -- yes, it is touch screen, but for browsing the web you really don't need a touch screen.

Who would have that much $$$ laying around for a crippled ultrabook.

1 person liked this | Alvaro Alvaro said:

The hardware looks fine, I would love to have that screen; but the price is too high and the fact it uses Chrome OS means I can't install Lightroom.

3 people like this | Sniped_Ash said:

This is for people with their heads in the clouds all right...

Duckula22 Duckula22 said:

What graphics chip?

4 people like this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

This is for people with their heads in the clouds all right...
Not hardly! It's for people with their heads in a much darker, danker, smellier place.....

St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Why does everyone keep breaking widely-used and relatively stable formats??? 2560x1700?

1 person liked this | penn919 said:

Did April 1st come early this year? This has to be a joke.

ArthurZ ArthurZ said:

It makes sense to me very much even though this laptop is ahead of its time. I think it is still a good investment.

No hard drive [almost] so viva Cloud! - the way to go - never worry about your documents again and enjoy astonishing speeds of browsing the whole day without recharging.

maxxxenem1 maxxxenem1 said:

It makes sense to me very much even though this laptop is ahead of its time. I think it is still a good investment.

No hard drive [almost] so viva Cloud! - the way to go - never worry about your documents again and enjoy astonishing speeds of browsing the whole day without recharging.

Good point, have to admit but still not worth the price to me

Sphynx Sphynx said:

This is insanity. Between this and the Glass project, Google is pricing itself out of the consumer market ? the very market it must satisfy to get enough users to justify their data collection and advertising efforts. A $250 Chromebook makes *some* sense in a few use cases and helps Google collect data on as many people as can fork over that kind of money for a cloud laptop. And there?s lots of consumers who can do that.

But what consumers, and how many, will fork over $1,300 for a cloud laptop? A few hundred? The Chromebook has not been a sales success. The Pixel will do far worse.

I?d snap up a Pixel at $500, think about it but still get it at $600, but at $700 and up I?d have to have some really compelling reason to drop that kind of cash and Chrome OS, which I like, is not worth that much money.

Consider the most expensive iPad is under $1,000 ? even with some accessories ? and has far more use cases than the Pixel at $1,300. The iPad has a gigantic app ecosystem and has a refined and proven touch interface. The Pixel fails as a $1,300 laptop but it also fails as a $1,300 iPad replacement.

I?m glad Google is starting to focus some efforts on high-quality hardware. But their business is mass collection and distribution of data, and ultra-niche products like the Pixel are not aligned with that business model.

Arris Arris said:

But can it run Crys...

I mean, can I put a hard disk in it and put windows or linux on it? If so it might not be too bad. But other than the screen the hardware is a bit mid level for the pricing.

Guest said:

They should have put ARM in there. It will help with the battery life and price a lot. I don't see why they are using Intel Core i5 for that Chrome OS? I am pretty sure that Chrome OS can runs on ARM just fine.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

It makes sense to me very much even though this laptop is ahead of its time. I think it is still a good investment.

No hard drive [almost] so viva Cloud! - the way to go - never worry about your documents again and enjoy astonishing speeds of browsing the whole day without recharging.

I don't think so. It is barely cheaper than a MBP which gets 7.5 hours of battery life and doesn't have an OS tied to the cloud (yet). Where are you going to be that you have wifi access the entire time you are using your computer but don't have access to power at some point in a 7.5 hour span? There are other points that could be made to argue against this Chromebook, but a limited OS with long battery life isn't what you should sell a Chromebook on... I just don't think there is anything you can sell it on when you compare its price to the competition.

2 people like this | LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Ouch... this really hurt. I was super excited about it before hearing about that price tag. I feel like someone offered to share their ice cream with me and when I walked over to get a bite they punched me in the stomach instead.

peas said:

I wouldn't pay this much for a Chromebook, but remember Google's primary goal isn't to sell units. They're putting forth a reference platform, a mature proof of concept to give other OEMs an example of what's possible. Let's face it, most OEMs have little to no vision, and what they do attempt is lost in the noise.

I'm no Apple fan but they have proven the merit of providing a simple solution that "just works". Google seems to be trying to reach out to the masses who aren't necessarily technology savvy but want to take part in the benefits that technology has to offer. The Pixel may or may not be a commercial success, but it shows that Google continues to innovate and push beyond the boundaries of the status quo.

ArthurZ ArthurZ said:

I don't think so. It is barely cheaper than a MBP which gets 7.5 hours of battery life and doesn't have an OS tied to the cloud (yet). Where are you going to be that you have wifi access the entire time you are using your computer but don't have access to power at some point in a 7.5 hour span? There are other points that could be made to argue against this Chromebook, but a limited OS with long battery life isn't what you should sell a Chromebook on... I just don't think there is anything you can sell it on when you compare its price to the competition.

On airplanes, as soon most airlines will cater WiFi, but no power there. An 11 hour flight I took to Europe could make me productive. Also in a cottage, I could get the WiFi range covering me, but not the power if I want to be on a lawn or deck by the pool.

You pay for graphics, this laptop, as priced fair, the GPU prices are to blame.

yorro said:

I?m glad Google is starting to focus some efforts on high-quality hardware. But their business is mass collection and distribution of data, and ultra-niche products like the Pixel are not aligned with that business model.

In case you haven't notice, Google is already expanding its market base. I won't be surprised if they start taking over the desktop market as well.

But what consumers, and how many, will fork over $1,300 for a cloud laptop? A few hundred? The Chromebook has not been a sales success. The Pixel will do far worse.

Its just a cloud laptop, for now.

Keep in mind that ChromeOS, just like stock Android, is easily upgraded. Which means that Google can easily integrate Google Play for the Chromebook. With that hardware, its the only logical path.

Duckula22 Duckula22 said:

How good is the Intel® HD Graphics 4000 (Integrated)?

avoidz avoidz said:

The screen doesn't do anything for me. Neither does the lack of a local hard drive. The sky-high price means I'm definitely not interested.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

On airplanes, as soon most airlines will cater WiFi, but no power there. An 11 hour flight I took to Europe could make me productive. Also in a cottage, I could get the WiFi range covering me, but not the power if I want to be on a lawn or deck by the pool.

You pay for graphics, this laptop, as priced fair, the GPU prices are to blame.

Good point on the airplane..

Less convinced of your other example.

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Where are they coming up with these prices!! Don't have high hopes for this model last one didn't do so well why would this one be any different.

drjekel_mrhyde drjekel_mrhyde said:

It makes sense to me very much even though this laptop is ahead of its time. I think it is still a good investment.

No hard drive [almost] so viva Cloud! - the way to go - never worry about your documents again and enjoy astonishing speeds of browsing the whole day without recharging.

It get up to five hours of battery time

avoidz avoidz said:

No hard drive [almost] so viva Cloud! - the way to go - never worry about your documents again.

Yeah, no need to worry about online storage, safe as houses. Nothing ever went wrong with data stored online :|

Railman said:

I would rather build a hi spec PC with the money. You could get a super CPU and graphics card and have money spare for twin monitors.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Why an i5, 4gb of ram, and a high res screen for surfing the web... so stupid

An i5 isn't much in a laptop. My i5-2430M (In my XPS L702x) is a great CPU but its nothing more then dual core with HT and turbo boost. 4GB isn't much these days either, I consider it to be the bare minimum.

It takes some power to fly around on the web now with many sites having advanced media and flash built-in ,and anything less then 900p for a resolution is trash IMO.

JC713 JC713 said:

An i5 isn't much in a laptop. My i5-2430M (In my XPS L702x) is a great CPU but its nothing more then dual core with HT and turbo boost. 4GB isn't much these days either, I consider it to be the bare minimum.

It takes some power to fly around on the web now with many sites having advanced media and flash built-in ,and anything less then 900p for a resolution is trash IMO.

Yes, 4GB is not much these days for Windows, Linux, and OSX PCs. More advanced OS'-such as Windows-have more capabilities than Chrome OS, and therefore need to cache more processes and use more memory. The reason they bumped the memory from 2GB (from cheaper Chromebooks) to 4GB is probably because of the shared memory with the graphics.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

According to this article, someone just out appled Apple. Never thought I'd see the day.

ArthurZ ArthurZ said:

Yeah, no need to worry about online storage, safe as houses. Nothing ever went wrong with data stored online :|

Every piece of data hitting the Cloud is replicated across several different locations making daya loss nearly impossible.

JC713 JC713 said:

According to this article, someone just out appled Apple. Never thought I'd see the day.

Not with the price tag. you can get a 13 inch retina MacBook Pro for $1500 and it has a much more robust system with more capabilities.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

you can get a 13 inch retina MacBook Pro for $1500 and it has a much more robust system with more capabilities.

That was my point...

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

How good is the Intel® HD Graphics 4000 (Integrated)?
It should drive full HD Blu-Ray with no problem.

At least the desktop version will. It's all about home theater, not gaming on a grand scale.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

In case you haven't notice, Google is already expanding its market base. I won't be surprised if they start taking over the desktop market as well.
"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing". (Edmund Burke).

So then,"good men", should buy something else. After all, Google can't expand into a market that that isn't open to them, now can they?

JC713 JC713 said:

It should drive full HD Blu-Ray with no problem.

At least the desktop version will. It's all about home theater, not gaming on a grand scale.

I feel like this is the issue with running at high resolutions it does it fine, but as for the 15 inch MacBook Pro, I dont get why apple only offers 1GB of VRAM when it should be 2GB @ those resolutions

Guest said:

The internals of the Samsung series 3 Chromebook are perfectly adequate for running Chrome OS, would have brought the price down massively, as well as running cooler and quieter and allowing a thinner form factor, so why they felt the need to lumber it with an i5 is beyond me. The logic behind the use of the 3:2 aspect ratio for the screen is similarly lost on me.

JC713 JC713 said:

Yeah I hate square screens

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

The internals of the Samsung series 3 Chromebook are perfectly adequate for running Chrome OS, would have brought the price down massively, as well as running cooler and quieter and allowing a thinner form factor, so why they felt the need to lumber it with an i5 is beyond me.
Good thinking, but rather backwards. They're not trying to drive the price down, they're trying to drive it up with an i5. I think the children call it, "street cred"!
The logic behind the use of the 3:2 aspect ratio for the screen is similarly lost on me.
The "3:2" aspect ratio is, and has been for decades, the format for the 35mm camera. (1:66:1:00). Hi-Def aspect ratio, (IMHO) is useless below about 23" diag!

Common photo image ratios are as low as 4:5, (8" X 10" . You simply can't render them at 1:1 with 16:9 monitor smaller than about 22". So, you can't use a stinking hi-def laptop to show granny's 8 x 10 vertical portrait @ 1:1

Yeah I hate square screens
If this is in response to our illustrious guest's post, 3:2 isn't square, 2:2 is. (Customarily this is given the LCD(*) treatment. So then "square" = 1:1)

I feel like this is the issue with running at high resolutions it does it fine, but as for the 15 inch MacBook Pro, I dont get why apple only offers 1GB of VRAM when it should be 2GB @ those resolutions
Why does it need 2GB of Vram? It's not intended as a gaming platform.

Besides, the "Retina Display" is mostly smoke, mirrors, and bulls***. You can't possibly put enough graphics power in a laptop to drive the display at its native resolution. They're supplying the same information across several pixels. At least @ 2:1, possibly 3:1.

Think about it. 300 ppi, would be a total resolution of 3000px on a screen of 10 inches. At 15 inches, 300 ppi would 4500px. Now tell me where you're going to find a laptop VGA that will drive at a resolution of 3000 x 4500?

(*) "LCD", archaic acronym for "lowest common denominator".

JC713 JC713 said:

I am confused... where did ya get 3k by 4.5k? Isnt it a 2560 by 1600 resolution? Also yeah, it isnt for gaming, but if you use a Mac for professional purposes, making a video or image at that resolution will be tough without 2GB of VRAM

ViperSniper2 said:

Why an i5, 4gb of ram, and a high res screen for surfing the web... so stupid

Because it's not for just surfing the web. What do you fools think you are using literally on all other Operating Systems for local file management? Yeah.... basically your Browser Engine! lol.....

NOW..... let's take this back to the days of Microsoft declaring that Explorer.... and therefore Internet Explorer was part of the system. Only difference is that Google doesn't allow their Chrome Browser to explore internal local system files and that's exactly how Apple designed Mac OS X, but w/o encrypted security of Cloud computing. You can use a CLI terminal in any of these operating systems including within Chrome OS. In fact the Browser GUI (, Finder, Sherlock, Safari Engine/Spotlight) is primarily wrapped up on top of the system. Yet only Google's Chrome OS keeps their Browser (file manager) GUI sandboxed off the system used primarily to manage it's Cloud Storage rather than local storage.

This phenomenal Pixel laptop is around 10 times more secure than it's local stored competitors, that never bother to encrypt data to local storage drives. Yet.... Google Chrome can encrypt all your data on the fly (SSL) and it's all stored that way on Google Drive. Safe from hackers, or even Google's prying eyes, because only you have the keys!

Basically the whole reason, Enterprise and Government are so interested in Cloud Computing is users are totally Anonymous and encrypted. So hackers not only have to hack Google (let's say), but they have to hack each and every encrypted Cloud based user and even the NSA has a hard time doing that. Because they don't know who you are until they hack Google first and then hack you. This is the primary reason for Cloud Computing in the first place. Your computing is done locally, but all stored securely in the Cloud among a myriad of other encrypted users..... so YOUR SECURITY IS ACTUALLY ENHANCED and GUARANTEED!

So there you have it..... somebody could hack your new Chromebook Pixel locally, steal it or break it, etc, but it really doesn't matter. Because all your data is stored remotely totally encrypted on top of that anonymity. You never lose your data and so even if the system crashes, your data is still SAFE! .....and yet you never lose even one single key stroke. Because Chrome OS has it all saved securely in the cloud for your instant retrieval! ....Chrome OS using Chrome as it's GUI is totally irrelevant!!!

JC713 JC713 said:

It is still not worth 1300 bucks out of my pocket. Heck, I feel like this could be a step in the wrong direction but could also help push high resolution in the PC market. Maybe if they lower the price tag next version, make it slimmer and more stylish, maybe give it an i3, and increase its functionality. I would probably pay at most 800 for a chromebook, and that is a bit too much.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I am confused... where did ya get 3k by 4.5k? Isnt it a 2560 by 1600 resolution? Also yeah, it isnt for gaming, but if you use a Mac for professional purposes, making a video or image at that resolution will be tough without 2GB of VRAM
This is partly due to the fact I steer well clear of Apple's product and Apple's hype.

To the best of my knowledge Apple is calling their "Retina Display", in the iPhone, a "retina display" because it has the same resolution as the human eye, which ostensibly, (at least according to Apple), is 300dpi.

If they've decided that that is no longer the case, or if they've chosen to call lower pixel per inch "retina display" as well, I'm not aware of it. Or if they're not calling the Mac Book Pro a "retina display" I'm not aware of that either. Any calculations I put down, were based on the iPhone BS.

From my point of view 2GB of Vram isn't necessary (? ), at the anticipated refresh / framing rates, which in the case of this notebook, should be nearly the same. (60 FPS).

I understand that that high end gaming cards have huge amounts of Vram, but their game framing rates can be in excess of 200FPS. In the case of the stated resolution of the Mac Book Pro, the video is only going to scale standard 1080P to the 2500ppi, not run a game at that actual resolution. When playing a 1080P source, does the Mac Book have black bars on the screen?

As far as the "retina display" concept goes, I continue to think it's nonsense. The smaller you make a pixel, the smaller it's angle of emission becomes. As that happens, the worse its off angle viewing becomes. I suspect the quickest way to resolve that, it to engineer light leakage between the cells. And doing so, kind of defeats the purpose. (IMO, of course).

JC713 JC713 said:

Interesting, thanks for the explanation.

ikesmasher said:

This is for people with their heads in the clouds all right...

Its for people that have everything in the clouds.

C wat I did thar

And yes I am aware this article is ~10 months old. but TS did just link to it.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.