After inadvertently teasing the existence of a new Chromebook Pixel last month, Google is today coming clean and announcing the new laptop. The new Chromebook Pixel has asimilar boxy design as its predecessor(including the fancy light-up strip on the lid), but it has upgraded internals, better battery life, and a new price tag. That new price tag is still steep — at $999, it’s by far still the most expensive Chromebook you can buy — but it’s a few hundred dollars less than the Pixel was two years ago. If you really feel the need to splurge, Google is also offering an “LS” (which, yes, stands for Ludicrous Speed) version for $300 more that has even higher-end components.
The standard Chromebook Pixel is no slouch, however. It has a new Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. The LS model steps that up to a faster Core i7 chip, 16GB of RAM, and a 64GB SSD. If the LS model didn’t exist, the regular Pixel would easily be the most powerful Chromebook ever made. The original Pixel’s namesake 3:2, 2560 x 1700 pixel touchscreen display remains largely unchanged in the new model, though Google says it has a wider color gamut than before. Oddly, Google doesn’t seem to be offering an LTE version this go around, or at least it’s not talking about it today if it’s planning to.
The original Pixel was a fantastic machine save for its middling battery life, but Google says the new model will last for up to 12 hours between charges. Google also says you can get two hours of use from just 15 minutes of charging. The other major new feature is the inclusion of two USB-C ports, which can be used to charge the laptop, transfer data, or connect to an external monitor or TV. You can even recharge the Pixel’s battery with a USB battery through the new ports. Unlike Apple’s new MacBook, however, the two traditional USB ports are still present (now they are USB 3.0), as is a full-size SD card reader and standard headphone jacks. The only thing omitted is a full-size HDMI port, though Google says you can just use an adapter with one of the new USB-C ports to accomplish the same purpose.
Other improvements include a stiffer hinge for less “bounce” when you use the touchscreen, an improved trackpad and keyboard, and a wider-angle camera. Google also says it’s cleaned up the design of the Pixel to hide any visible speaker grilles, fan vents, or screws. If you’re paying nearly a thousand dollars for a machine that does little more than browse the web, that extra attention to detail is appreciated.
TWO USB-C PORTS HANDLE CHARGING, VIDEO OUT, AND MOREBoth versions of the new Chromebook Pixel are available to purchase starting today from Google’s new web store, store.google.com. For more thoughts, impressions, and overall feels on the new Pixel, be sure to check out our full review.