So it finally arrived, so excited, similar to when I was a kid unwrapping a Christmas present containing a Commodore Vic 20 (for those too young see picture below).
Having gone through a succession of PC’s, Macs, Surface Pro 3 and two Toshiba Chromebooks 2013 and 2014, of which you can read those reviews on this site if you are interested, I finally had the pinnacle in my hands – the LS version of Google’s Pixel laptop.
So after a couple of weeks here goes……
From the moment I picked this Pixel up, I knew it was beautifully crafted. The solid all-metal body is a joy to hold – at 3.3Lbs it isn’t the lightest yet that is re-assuring and not in “brick” territory. The lid can be lifted with one finger yet is stable when using the gorilla glass touchscreen along with a glass trackpad that is responsive and lovely to use – it screams quality.
The screen is an unusual ratio 2560 x 1700 at 12.85” however this allows web pages (and this machine is built around the Chrome browser so makes sense) to be viewed with a better experience than normal size laptop screens. You will though have to put up with letterboxing when watching movies but it’s a small price to pay and for does not affect my movie watching enjoyment.
The keyboard has a nice travel and well laid out in the now familiar Chrome OS configuration. Keyboard lighting is only active when you are using it and lighting levels require the illumination – saving on battery.
Speaking of which, the battery is beyond great – 10 hours of normal use which is in a real world context not an out of the air benchmark. The two USB type-C ports either side of the laptop allow quick charging – 2 hours in 15 minutes – yet Google sensibly left two USB 3 ports as well as the headphone jack. USB Type-C ports will become dominant over the next few years not just in laptops but in smartphones and tablets so carrying one charger for all your tech will become a reality!
Google have even located a quick battery indicator on the lid (you tap it to show you battery level) and have broken the charger down it three component parts one of which converts it into a travel-friendly charger – little touches count for a lot even at this price!
Performance wise this thing is packing an i7 chip with 16gb of Ram – how do you think it performs? Like lightning is the answer! Probably no surprise really, however, one thing I did not expect is the Pixel’s ability to perform well even in patchy WiFi coverage areas – an unexpected bonus!
The Chrome OS feels significantly better compared to previous Chromebooks I have used, it is an OS that is maturing well although better printer support is required, something noted as a negative against the OS for some time now.
However I use these sites on a daily basis and with the Pixel they just fly and look gorgeous-
So I guess the last question to answer is it worth the price?
Value for money is subjective therefore I can only answer that from my own viewpoint. The Chromebook market is maturing and there are some excellent machines now – there are reviews on my site saying as much, however, the Pixel is a class apart.
For me to be able to use the “best in class” hardware is a joy so for me it is worth the price and why I rate it as the best laptop (or indeed piece of tech) I have ever owned.