Chromebook Pixel with LTE cannot step down to 3G

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.

TOPICS: Mobility, 4G, Google, Laptops

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.

00 Open running
(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, 4G, Google, Laptops

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  • It isn't even out yet.

    This article is nothing more than speculation.
    • Speculation?

      The manufacturer stating that the device can't step down to 3G is speculation? I would call that a firm statement.
      • I'm using one

        I've been using one with LTE for a month so no speculation. Plus read the article. It was confirmed by Google.
    • It says in the article Google confirmed it

      So I suppose there is no speculation.
  • Google really makes some strange hardware choices in their devices

    No 4g in its phone, no sd card in its tablet, no 3g in its $1,500 laptop appliance.

    The other limitation of the Pixel is that it only runs a web browser. ;)
    • Strange Choices

      Here's another: The Pixel's 12 V power supply uses a 4.5 mm barrel connector. I have searched and searched, and while 12 V power supplies are available with a 5.5 mm connector, there appear to be none for this odd size. Even odder, the hole in the case is 5.1 mm in diameter, so they could easily have made it another .5 mm larger, and gone with an easier to find 5.5 connector.

      If only the EC would come down on laptop manufacturers with a standard connector requirement, as exists for cell phones (micro USB — except for "think different" Apple). It's such a freedom to have multiple devices that use Micro USB, and know that I can charge any of them from the same power source.
      • I can get a 4.5mm barrel connector over the counter.

        Walmart and Radio Shack both have them and Radio Shacks allows setting 6 different voltages and polarity.

        Getting the EC involved in something this design oriented is crazy. They would eliminate connectors like the MagSafe and set charging ports back 15 years.
        • Mandating USB chargers was a step forward.

          It solved the problem of having to carry around multiple chargers around. One of the few good things the EU did in my view.