A Week With: Google Chromebook Pixel
This is the future of laptops… once you can get iTunes
Operating system: Google Chrome
Processor: Intel Core 1.8GHz
Memory: 4GB DDR3 RAM
Storage: 32GB solid-state; 1TB on Google Drive for three years
Screen: 12.85in; 2,560x1,700 at 239PPI
Battery: Up to 5 hours' active use
What is it?
The future of laptops, I believe, but until I get to that bit, it's Google's first proper computer. For two years, the tech behemoth has partnered with Samsung and others to produce cheap little Chromebooks. Essentially web browsers with keyboards, they do away with software, hard drives and sluggish start-up times. You do everything online and store your stuff in the cloud, where it's safe and accessible anywhere.
The Pixel does exactly this, too, but for the first time Google has created the hardware. The result is a device of startling beauty. Machined aluminium with sharp corners make it boxy yet also elegant enough to make my MacBook look brutish. The black, backlit keyboard is Mac-inspired but the search key in place of caps lock (hit both shift keys if you really want to SHOUT) is one of few marks of the maker. The design brief appears to have been: make it beautiful but let the screen do the talking. And, oh, what a screen. It boasts a record-breaking pixel density, and it shows, rendering everything as crisp as any Retina Display. You can touch it, too, to click, scroll or pinch to zoom, a feature curiously still absent from MacBooks.
Does it work?
Like a dream. There can be no device since the blackboard for which an instruction manual is so redundant. The Pixel fires up in an instant and asks for your Google Account details, which you won't need to enter again. The Chrome browser appears. Hook it up to the web and you're off. It's lightning fast and scrolling is beautifully smooth via the screen or the etched-glass touchpad.
The Pixel is also effectively impervious to viruses and includes 32GB of physical storage, plus a massive terabyte (about 1,000GB) of space on the Google Drive cloud (included for three years; you'd pay £30 a month to rent that space from Google otherwise).
I need one now, right?
Wrong. Because, for now, there are issues. You can't install software. No iTunes, Spotify, Microsoft Office. If you can't do it via a web browser, you can't do it on a Chromebook. The battery life is low at five hours; the machine is of limited use offline and has no 4G connectivity (the US model does); the screen doesn't fold flat to a tablet mode.
But the biggest deal-breaker? A Pixel will cost you £1,049, enough for five Acer or four Samsung Chromebooks, and £200 more than an 11in MacBook Air, which supports software, is lighter, has double the storage, and a slightly better battery life.
Google surely knows that a £1,000 web browser, however beautiful and lovely to use, will have a limited appeal. But the Pixel is a bold statement of intent. When Google can produce a cheaper model, when services such as Spotify and iTunes switch to the cloud, and when it has 4G, this is what laptops will look like. It won't be long, and I can't wait.
Life & Style blogs
Jennifer Lawrence nude pictures leaked: Reddit removes 'The Fappening' board dedicated to sharing naked pictures of celebrities
iPhone 'Wave': iOS 8 hoax claims you can charge your iPhone in the microwave - you can't
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
From Topshop to Burberry, London Fashion Week spring/summer 2015: Distraction could not disguise a distinct lack of focus
Exclusive interview with Jourdan Dunn: Mother, one of the world's best-paid models and ambassador for sickle-cell disease
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
- 1 All Blacks Aaron Cruden misses New Zealand flight after drinking session, has brilliant excuse
- 2 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': TV reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 Clothes store Joy angers mental health campaigners with Twitter exchange on bipolar disorders
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£15 - £17 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently r...