Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chromebook Pixel: Initial Thoughts

Ok, Initial Chromebook Pixel Thoughts:

1) The review sites either lied their asses off about the "poor battery life", or they were just dumb in how they calculated it. I charged mine up to full, I've been using it just like I used my last one for 3 and a half hours now, and it says I still have 3 hours left. It's easily beating my Sammy chromebook, and my last Macbook Air.

2) The touch screen is VERY good if you use it. I've been using it a lot when I'm laying on my back with the Pixel on my belly. Pinch to zoom is so nice to have on a laptop. It's very accurate too. If you tap a close widget decoration, it never fails. Scrolling is fluid awesomeness. The problem is that the track pad is also just outstandingly good, if that's even a problem. It's easily the best trackpad I've ever used. It's great that it even works through Chrome Desktop connections. I enabled middle mouse click in chrome:///flags for UNIX terminals, and it's flawless. 

3) This is the best keyboard I've ever typed on in my life. Period. The keys are solid and click and terminate with a very solid feel, but you can also barely tap them and they always register. They are solid but have a very slight, just perceptible give to them that feels wonderful. It's not like the rock hard chiclet keys of some other laptops that get downright uncomfortable after a few hours of typing. I could write a book on this thing.

4) There has never been a laptop made before with this build quality. Period. Hasn't happened. I'll explain what I mean. If you've owned say, an Apple product, they like to do "press fitting" of things. And while that's a great way to make things because it's cheap to do it, yet yields great results, you can get up close and look at the seams, and there will be just discernible irregularities. Own an iPhone 5? Look really close where the glass ends and the metal begins on the front of it. You'll see how that seam is ever so slightly crooked in places because of it being cheaply press fit. Same thing with the macbooks. There's none of that here. Everything looks like it was cut by a laser. Every seam is tiny, or near invisible, and they are perfect the whole way around. Like Lexus put it together. Every angle perfect. Every letter on every individually lit up key. It would stand up under a microscope. 

5) This is the best screen. There's really nothing more to say about it. There has never been a screen that looks this amazingly good. It's perfect for Chrome Remote Desktop. On my smaller Chromebook, I had to adjust my virtual machine to 1366x768 or it would look crappy. On this laptop, I can make the virtual resolution any size I want and it will look fantastic. Colors are amazing, but not oversaturated. All text is perfect. This display ruins you to lesser displays. The fact that it is also a touchscreen is just amazing.

6) Neither the surface or the screen attract fingerprints. Not sure how they managed that voodoo. 

7) Again, I'm amazed that I haven't once accidentally bumped the trackpad while typing. There has to be some sort of intelligence to it. Where they can tell you are typing and even accidental brushes do nothing to upset your cursor. 

8) This thing is hangout king. Hate wearing headphones for Google Hangouts? The three microphones will make sure you don't need to. You can just speak at the thing, and the people talk back. I had a VERY fun hangout earlier. 3 microphones ensure you have perfect noise cancelling. And those speakers. Jesus the speakers.

9) The Chromebook Pixel has hands down the best sounding speakers I've ever had in a laptop. They are loud and hidden under the keyboard. this means there's a very neat feeling "music through your fingers" effect if you are blasting music while typing. 


1) The screen is shiny. You will pick up some glare from lights, and have to angle it a certain way to avoid them. Thankfully the viewing angles appear to be "any". 

2) The hinge won't let it lay flat. That could have been useful. In the next version they should probably add this.

3) You can't buy a spare charger yet. People like myself will buy 3 chargers. One for home, one for work, and one for the laptop bag. Google REALLY needs to address this.

4) If you own and love ANY Chromebook, and you try one of these once, you will buy one. No question. You will sell blood, a kidney, your own child to have one. And the truth is the 250 dollar Samsung Chromebook is probably enough. This is just a high extravagance. That being said, I'd do it again. 

5) It will make you dislike your apple products. The hope is that they take note and we get even better apple products since google has shown them how it's done. 

So yes, it's very highly over-engineered.  Sure, they probably could have saved some cash going with cheaper keys, or a lower apple grade aluminum, or a cheaper build method, because this feels like it was put together by hand by a master craftsman. This doesn't feel like some Foxconn assembly line special in any way shape or form. It feels like it was carved from a solid block of metal, and the glass was born in it. 

In short, if you've ever wanted something made from the very best materials, with no corners cut, no expense spared, this is one of those things. Google really wanted to make a point with this thing. They've succeeded.

But you'd probably do fine with a Samsung 3 Series. Just saying.

Now, give me a few weeks of use to do another review where I'm not gushing like a preteen girl over justin bieber.