MacBook Pro (Retina Display) vs. Chromebook Pixel on video

MacBook Pro (Retina Display) vs. Chromebook Pixel on video

Summary: The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display and the new Chromebook Pixel by Google have the best displays on any laptops. We put them side-by-side to show what may be the two best designed laptops currently available.


Apple shook up the laptop space with the introduction of the MacBook Pro with the Retina Display. This high-resolution display is fantastic, and Apple recently brought it to the 13-inch form. Google is aiming squarely for the Retina Display with its brand new Chromebook Pixel.

The 2560x1700 resolution display on the Pixel is breath-taking, and Google has added touch to it. The display must be seen to be appreciated, and while that must be done in person we've captured it on video side-by-side with the MacBook Pro.

See also: Chromebook Pixel hands on (photos) | Why I bought a MacBook Air | The Chromebook Pixel cost me a lot of money

The Chromebook Pixel is as well designed and engineered as the MacBook Pro, an accomplishment for Google. The Pixel is nicely fitted with performance components evidenced when you compare it to the MacBook Pro.

Hardware Specs (as shown) compared:

  MacBook Pro Chromebook Pixel
CPU Intel Core i5, 2.6 GHz Intel Core i5, 1.8 GHz
Memory/storage 8GB; 256GB 4GB; 64GB
Display 13.3-inch; 2650x1600 12.85-inch; 2560x1700; touch enabled
Trackpad Glass; multi-touch Glass; multi-touch
Construction Aluminum unibody Seamless aluminum
Connectivity Wi-Fi; Bluetooth Wi-Fi; Bluetooth; 4G LTE (Verizon)
Price $1699 as shown $1449 as shown

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Google, Laptops

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  • are you kidding

    chromebook pixel is a joke. comparing anything with it is a stupid.
    • Not true, if it can run W8.

      Why has no one tried this yet?!?
      x I'm tc
    • In any case, it isn't one of the best two

      "The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display and the new Chromebook Pixel by Google have the best displays on any laptops"

      That is a joke. Both displays are outclassed by ...

      ... the 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

      Which has substantially better resolution than either of them
      Henry 3 Dogg
  • Wha???

    EQUALLY specced? Are you kidding?
    How can they be equally specced when one is i5 1.8, and one is a 2.6?
    The MBPro Retina does NOT ship with 4 GB of RAM, it ships with 8. There is no 4 option. The Chrome with 4.
    The MBPro ships with a minimum 128 GB of storage, the chrome with MAXIMUM of 64?
    The MBPro ships with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt, the Chrome with USB 2.0.
    The MBPro supports SDXC, the Chrome just SD
    The MBPro is Bluetooth 4.0, the Chrome is 3.0
    The MBPro has 2 Thunderbolt ports, the Chrome no fast I/O
    The MBPro has a real operating system...
    Sure, the Chrome has a touch screen, and if you want to be tied to yet another contract (instead of using your smartphone's tethering or getting a portable hotspot which does not lock your laptop into one carrier) the Chromebook pixel has both, but most people getting either one of these will have some kind of smartphone already, and the benefit of a vertical rather than flat touch screen is debatable (Had the Chromebook Pixel been a convertible that could change into a tablet, then you could whistle a different tune...)
    This is the most ridiculous comparison I have EVER seen on ZDNet. To even pretend they are "Equally specced" or even "Similarly specced" is a joke. You should be embarrassed to have posted this...
    • WOW

      This is like comparing a Peach to an Orange. Way to go ZDNET...keep on accepting those checks from Google! Where's the PC comparison. C'mon now you have to throw at least one real computer into the mix!
    • Chromebook specs

      You are doing a comparison the way people used to compare macs to PCs, by direct hardware comparison. By that measure all Macs are overpriced compared to a similarly equipped PC, but the MAC also comes with Apple support and very nice build quality, a somewhat less quantifiable (but meaningful) benefit for the Mac. Similarly, the Pixel comes with the best possible integration with Google services, outstanding build quality, 3 years 1TB of cloud storage, 2 years of free mobile data through ATT (maybe it's Verizon, can't remember). One can argue (til the cows come home) that they would rather have 128gb of solid state drive (vs 64) than 1TB of cloud storage, or the Mac OS vs. Chrome, or even free mobile date vs. the ability to run MAC apps, but there is no doubt that both the Macbooks and the pixel offer a great user experience.

      I use Macbooks, PC laptops (and desktops) and the Pixel, and I can say that each has it's ideal uses. For running Windows apps, all three will work fine, for running Apple apps you obviously need the Macbook, but the Pixel is unmatched for web work, and will of course also do most office related stuff just fine (word processing, spreadsheets, presentations etc. is all easy with Google apps).
  • Plus....

    The author does not know his specs AT ALL. The 2.6 MBPro comes with 256 (the 2.5 comes with 128). All the MBPros come with 8 GB minimum. I must say, I cringed when I watched this video...
  • Macbook Air

    I thought the pixel was brought out to compete more with the Macbook Air?
  • Google vs Apple... come on kids

    The only fair comparison I see for the Chromebook Pixel would maybe to the Apple iPhone 4, not even a 4S... That ought to stir up something -
  • Chromebook Pixel or a Legacy Computer

    I understand Kendrick's need to try do a comparison between a Model T (MacBook Pro) and a Tesla (Chromebook Pixel). But frankly it's apples and oranges (sorry no pun intended). The Chromebook Pixel has better display (even Kendrick admitted this), connectivity (Chromebook 4G LTE vs. MacBook -0-), and storage (Chromebook's 1 TB accessible from any device vs. some local storage on MacBook); throw in the offline functionality of Gmail, Google Drive and Apps, and clearly the Chromebook Pixel is superior (except maybe for those stuck in "legacy thinking" or "incarcerated" in the Apple ecosystem). Computing is changing. The MacBook Pro is a good legacy computer for those who want to remain in the past. For everyone else: Chromebook Pixels!
    • @johnyah you are kidding, right?

      Screen better? I'll have to see it to believe it. In the video above I sure like the color gamut on the MacBook Pro more than on the pixel. 4G LTE is a gimmick, as pointed out, anyone can add that for the same amount of money with a dongle or a hotspot - with one major difference - you are not tied to the same carrier with your >$1000 laptop. The 1 TB is accessible only if you are within range of WiFi (or LTE if you have the LTE version) and goes to $50 A MONTH after the 3 years are up, let alone the costs to have the kind of bandwidth that would make the 1 TB useful (How the heck are you supposed to do that on a 4 GB LTE plan, assuming you have LTE?).
      You gloss over poor I/O, whether lack of high speed (no USB 3.0, no Thunderbolt, no SD/XC, no low power BT 4.0) and discount the offline features that are available on a laptop that does NOT require you to be connected to work. Maybe in 15 years, when bandwidth costs are cheaper, but currently, this machine is a joke...

      At @cashxx says, this machine is closer to the Air, and on that point it STILL has no high speed I/O (but CRUSHES the air on the screen). If he had compared this to the Air, he could have gotten away with "Similarly specced" (still not "equally specced") but as for a pro, he is just totally off mark....
    • don't go full retard man.. just don't..

      The pixel count is fundamentally the same.. If you put the retina factor in it.. You know who came out the other end victorious.. Better design on mbr.. (Don't say anything if you think otherwise...) 8 gigs of ram (compared to 4 gigs on pixel) i5 2.6 vs 1.8.. Specs don't lie.. Now lets throw in the apple experience (yes, the mountain lion)... Now the 1tb accessibility... Ahem ahem.. Lets say um on the d train going to manhattan from the bronx.. I need my shit done ASAP.. You got a pixel.. I got a mbr... Who is gonna have a more accessible source of storage??? Haha. Nothing today can beat a physical storage.. Nothing.. Would I use the 4g (and pay monthly to use my storage) on my LAPTOP??? Noooooo.. Hell no.. I can't think of any reason why I would pay 1300 for a hunk of ****... :/
  • Not exactly the same specs

    Apple device has a clear edge, but it for sure balanced with the higher price and the cloud storage offered with the pixel.
    For Google this will be more a showcase product, I hope others get inspired by the resolution and design, because let's be fair, most laptops have a miserable resolution and design must be the last thing taken into account by makers.
    Pixel is very expensive, but it looks a bit less on this side by side.
    • @AleMartin - not really "for sure balanced"

      Right, a CLEAR edge. An OVERWHELMING edge. Again, let's compare the base models. 1299 vs 1499. For $200 more you get:
      BT 4, Thunderbolt, SDXC, 8 GB vs 4, 128 GB storage vs 32, 2.5 GHz i5 vs 1.8 (and those are NOT the same i5s, check on it...), USB 3.0... I can go on and on. Don't tell me the cloud storage, that you need to really be on WiFi to use without paying a boatload. They just don't compare, not balanced, not close....

      Why doesn't the author do a comparison of the $1199 13" MBA to the $1299 Pixel? There you can contrast the cloud storage and the pixel display one offers, with the Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, and SD/XC, and 4 times the storage the other does? There you can find a balance, and the tradeoffs between one and another, for similarly priced machines? There you may be able to justify the extra 100 you pay for the chrome pixel, while losing other features, yet gaining Retina, cloud storage, and touch screen?
      • Don't forget cloud storage

        At market prices just the 1 TB alone would cost more than any of these devices.
        • So what -

          What are you going to do after 3 years - buy another Pixel? Pay for your 1TB storage IN ADDITION TO your LTE contract? On a computer that by then will be worth a fraction of a MBPr? That $250 difference will evaporate in a heartbeat.

          Oops - the $250 difference *already* evaporated in the specs difference between the computers. Battery life on the Pixel doesn't compare, to boot.
          • I don't understand your point

            Cloud storage costs money, it must be taken into account, as I do believe costs for it are just insane I was considering a huge devaluation compared with current market prices... but it has a cost.
          • I think the point being made is...

            1 TB cloud storage may be nice, but it is impractical as of now. The costs to RQEACH that cloud storage are where it fails, and 1 TB of storage for the home/laptop/external drive are cheap. (< $100 for life on a little portable 2.5" bus powered drive). But this unit is hobbled with slow I/O, and costly Internet communication.

            Maybe when Data costs are cheaper, the 1 TB of cloud based data makes sense. It does not now.
  • chromebook-pixel-best-google-laptop?

    read about it :
    Aviv Shalev
    • @Aviv

      I thought this was the worst review/comparison I saw for any product, ever. Then I clicked on your link..... Ouch.