Chromebook Pixel revisited: One of the best laptops I've used

Chromebook Pixel revisited: One of the best laptops I've used

Summary: Google's expensive laptop generates a lot of knee-jerk reactions in discussions, and rightly so. It's worth pointing out that for this writer, it is one of the best laptops I've ever used.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Google, Laptops
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(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

"Who'd pay $1,500 for a browser?"

"No one in their right mind would use one of those at any price."

"You'd have to be crazy to use any chromebook, much less one that expensive!"

These are the typical statements I hear and receive in email in response to any discussion about the chromebook in general and the Pixel in particular. Folks can't get their head around the Chrome OS, and really can't understand the existence of an expensive chromebook like the Pixel.

I've been using a Chromebook Pixel for months, and I can state with confidence that it is one of the best laptops I've ever used. That is based on a combination of how well Chrome OS works for me, and the superb hardware Google has used in the Pixel.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Chrome OS is not for everyone by any means. Those with particular platform needs or who need to use special apps not available on Chrome should keep looking the other way. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't believe that there are others like me for whom it is nearly perfect.

Imagine that you use one app almost all the time you are on a computer. Now imagine that an OS existed to make that app work better than it does on all other platforms. That's the beauty of Chrome OS for me.

I spend over 90 percent of my work time in the Chrome browser. That is unusual compared to many, but is the way it is. That's why Chrome OS works so darn well for my work. It takes my main app/platform, Chrome, and optimizes to work as well as possible. No, that's not for everyone, but I am fortunate it is the case for me.

I've used several chromebooks, and while all offer the same good Chrome experience, the Pixel adds the hardware to make it vastly superior. The sleek, powerful hardware takes Chrome OS to a whole new level of goodness. The Pixel's operation is pain free and pleasant at all times. It is as if the hardware and OS get totally out of my way while I am working, and that is a phenomenal thing to experience.

No, Chrome OS and the Chromebook Pixel are not for everyone. It may not be for very many, truth be told. But for me, it is a nearly perfect solution for my needs. And that makes me a very lucky guy.

I hope ZDNet's Jason Hiner is correct in predicting that we may hear some information about the Chromebook Pixel at the Google I/O conference now underway. Especially if it's about a new Chromebook Pixel that is even better; cheaper would be icing on the cake.

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Topics: Mobility, Google, Laptops

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42 comments
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  • Now that you've had a long 'relationship' with the Pixel, just one question

    How long does the battery last from a single charge? I understand that you value long battery life with any mobile device, James, because your work habits predispose situations where an electrical outlet may not be available.

    Just curious, really, since I've found my Surface Pro (with basically the same Intel processor) gives me 4.5 to 5 hours of service - more than sufficient for my mobile needs.

    In a similar fashion, would 4.5 to 5 hours from your Pixel supply you with sufficient time to accomplish your mobile needs with it?
    kenosha77a
    • 5 hours

      That's the only thing I wish was better but then that's a factor in the processor, similar to your Surface Pro.
      JamesKendrick
      • surface pro is still cheaper

        surface pro is still cheaper compared to this
        Mac_Win
        • And...

          you can do a hell of a lot more with it
          thekman58
      • So why is the screen so important to you when you just use it for

        browsing and google apps? Neither of those really need or use a great screen to the tune of $1000 difference over the $300 chromebooks. Seems like you could have had the same adequacy for your work for a lot less money.
        Johnny Vegas
  • Best 'LapTop'

    Don't call it a Laptop, call it an overpriced browser toy for fools. (No offense meant to James K).
    OwlllllNet
    • Owlllllnet is the biggest fool - by far

      Simply too stupid for words
      D.T.Long
      • D.T.Long....your wrong on this one

        Owlllllnet is NOT the biggest fool - by far = that distinction goes hands down to Loverock Davidson............
        Over and Out
        • OK, I stand corrected.

          But Owlllllnet is running a very close second. :-)

          Owlllllnet is a more prolific poster however, so it just FEELS like he is the biggest fool.

          It is quite the contest however.
          D.T.Long
          • Oh Look, there are two baffoons now.

            .
            OwlllllNet
          • Four, actually.

            You're all buffoons.

            I'm just the biggest one for pointing it out.
            ForeverCookie
    • Question

      If he can get his work done on it, how is it a toy?

      It's a nice tool for what -he- does.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • Get a clue.

      Sad to see this posting... uninformed for sure. Do you call a Surface just an IE device... good lord, wake up and read. Chrome is not "just" a browser. How would you categorize an RT device?
      littlebokey@...
  • Even If I Could Get Past Google's Horrific Privacy and ToS

    I don't understand why anyone would use Chrome OS on an machine with an Intel x86. Web Apps are unacceptable with HTTP response time and quirky javascript. Windows, or even Linux, will have more Applications.

    I'm not sure I call myself "lucky" to be able to use a Chromebook. I need a REAL computer to do REAL work. I already have a useless iPad.
    Patrickgood1
    • Sell me your worthless iPad

      I love folks like you who claim their iPad is worthless, but still hang onto it. Probably because you don't have one, D'oh!
      GoPower
    • I need, I need, I need ................

      Are you trying to make a point?

      I don't think anybody here gives a rats a$$ about what you need. James was writing strictly about HIS needs and HIS preferences.

      What part of that did you not understand?

      Sheesh
      D.T.Long
    • Nobody is forcing you to buy a Chromebook

      Grow up. If it doesn't fit your needs, don't buy it. The Pixel clearly fits the author's needs. Right tool, right job. The author even states in the article it isn't for everyone.
      broonsby
  • Who is going to save Chromebook?

    Let's list all the cons:
    - lousy sales (worse than Surface RT)
    - no start button
    - too expensive (even more expensive than Surface)
    - can't run Win 32 programs

    Clearly someone needs to save the Chromebook or Google will go bankrupt.

    Come on James, you should be able to milk this for at least 10 posts.
    toddbottom3
    • toddbottom3....Your not as FUNNY as Loverock Davidson

      It has taken Loverock Davidson way over a decade to earn the right to ba called Zdnets number one class clown.....keep on trying and you'll get there some day.
      Over and Out
    • Start-me-up

      Samsung sold out for months off one commercial of babies dancing in highchairs.

      Every other commercial on TV is people dancing with the Surface dance accessory and still low sales.

      A burrito truck with one ad in a newspaper that sells 40 burritos a day can be a "success". When the same burrito truck is advertising every other commercial on TV with people dancing with burritos and still only sells 40 burritos a day, it will not be considered successful.
      slackdragon