Chromebook Pixel with LTE cannot step down to 3G

Summary:While most 4G/LTE devices can step down to a 3G network when out of the 4G area, Google's laptop is stuck with only wi-fi.

The Chromebook Pixel with long-term evolution (LTE) will be shipping in just a few weeks, and while it's not likely that many will be buying such an expensive chromebook, those planning to do so should be aware of a limitation it has.

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Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

Looking at the specifications of the LTE Chromebook Pixel, I found it odd that Google very carefully indicates only LTE capability. Most devices with 4G LTE capability also have 3G radios allowing the device to step down to slower 3G when out of a 4G-covered area.

Pixel LTE
Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

I reached out to Google for confirmation of the Chromebook Pixel's limitation to just 4G LTE connections and the company confirmed it.

While this isn't a tremendous limitation, since LTE is so much faster then 3G, those living in fringe areas of 4G coverage should be aware of the lack of 3G in the Pixel. If you live or frequently travel to an area on the edge of 4G coverage with Verizon and your phone drops often to 3G service, be aware that your Chromebook Pixel will not do so. You will be restricted to wi-fi only in such areas.

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Topics: Mobility, Google, Laptops


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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