There is a defining moment in the life of a new device purchase, especially for those expensive ones that you aren't quite sure you need when you decide to make the purchase, and it's called the return date.
I reach the end of my 15 calendar day return period for the Chromebook Pixel in a couple days and after two weeks of daily usage have made the decision (most readers will probably call it an irrational one) to keep the $1,000 web browser. Let me explain why in a bit more detail.
Chromebook as a productivity machine
My primary home computer is a Surface Pro 3 that I connect to a touchscreen Dell monitor via the Surface dock. The Surface Pro 3 is an incredible device that lets me perform my engineering work as well as my ZDNet writing without any real limitations. I need to focus on using it more as a tablet around the house though as it sits in the dock at home and then pops out when I hit the road.
Given that I already have one of the best designed laptops, is there really a place for the Chromebook Pixel? I am a huge fan of well-designed mobile gear and have gone through a couple of Chromebooks because I was never satisfied with the construction, display quality, and ability to blast through a number of open tabs.
As ZDNet's Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols clearly stated you will not find a better Chromebook than the new Pixel. Even after two weeks, I get excited every time I pick up the Pixel and begin to work. I think my Fitbit even shows my heart rate increasing during these moments.
The Pixel is blazing fast, the display looks fantastic, touch is useful at times, the trackpad is on the level of a MacBook, the backlit keyboard lets me pound out the words faster than my Surface Pro 3, the battery seems to last forever, it's a pleasure to just say "OK Google" and perform searches, and the speakers sound great. Unlike most of my other devices, there is nothing lacking in the Chromebook Pixel.
Most of my devices are connected and centered on the Google ecosystem so Chrome OS is a natural fit for me. I also appreciate the Chromebook extras, such as the 1TB of Google Drive space and 12 free Gogo in-flight access coupons. These both add value for me and I will be able to stay connected during my flights over the next year.
While I have both the Surface Pro 3 and Chromebook Pixel in my office, I have spent all of my time writing on the Pixel. It may be due to the new device period, but I find my writing flows a bit faster and smoother on the Pixel. The Pixel is much more comfortable and steady when used in my favorite chair while keeping an eye on March Madness.
I have been browsing the Chrome store and loading apps that help me edit photos, write ZDNet posts, enjoy music and movies, and get things done. The joy of opening the lid on the Pixel and jumping into a text editor in seconds just can't be beat.
Return date decisions
While I often get sent phones to review for a couple weeks to 30 days, I also have to purchase many of my review units. In particular, I have to purchase every Apple product as they do not send review units.
Sometimes devices are compelling enough that I decide to purchase them myself. As a result the return date is always looming in front of me when I make these purchases. One of the first things I recommend you do is check the return policy for the store and the state you live in since these return dates can vary quite a bit. Most of the time they are for two weeks, but some can be 30 days or longer if you purchase around the holidays.
Whether or not to keep an expensive mobile device purchase is a decision consumers have to make so I plan to make this a regular feature here where you can see what ends up staying past this date and what ends up going back.
Over the past year, several items have been returned for a variety of reasons so don't think I keep everything I purchase, even though that is always my original intent. I don't go into a purchase thinking I will return it, but sometimes you don't know if a device is going to work out just by reading about it and checking out online photos.