Google released the original Chromebook Pixel a little over two years ago. At $1,299, the system didn't make a ton of sense for most but what it did was serve as an example of what a high-end Chromebook could look like (and hopefully influence the industry).
The search giant is now back with its second generation Pixel. At first glance, the system looks nearly identical to the original which isn't necessarily a bad thing but the real changes take place under the hood.
This year's Pixel is powered by Intel's Broadwell processors and comes with more memory and storage. Specifically, the base Pixel 2 includes a Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 32GB of solid state storage for $999. Those needing a bit more speed can opt for the $1,299 "Ludicrous Speed" variant that ships with a Core i7 chip, 16GB of RAM and 64GB of flash storage.
Both include a 12.85-inch touch-enabled display operating at a resolution of 2,560 x 1,700 (3:2 aspect ratio) and two USB Type-C connectors, the same that Apple debuted on their new MacBook earlier this week. It's still early days for the versatile Type-C port (there are legacy USB ports on the device as well) but it's clear that this is the future of USB.
Google rates the Pixel 2 at 12 hours of battery life and based on the reviews I've scanned just now, that seems about right - give or take an hour. And thanks to the aforementioned Type-C connector, the system can be fully recharged in about an hour and a half.
All agree that the machine feels very sturdy and well-built with an improved keyboard and trackpad. The screen received praise as well but don't expect to get much done outside under bright sunlight.
The entry-level model is still much more expensive than any other Chromebook and the general consensus around the web is that it continues to be priced too high to be a viable alternative to cheaper solutions. Chrome OS has come a long way over the past two years but the reality is, it still has a lot of work left to do.