Google Goes Pro With Chromebook Pixel Laptop

Google has decided it wants to be a part of the high-end laptop market, so it made one. And made it with a touchscreen because, eh, why the hell not? Meet the Chromebook Pixel.

Let’s start with the screen, because it’s ridiculous. Remember the 3:2 aspect ratio all laptops used to have? Google does! Arguing that it’s better for viewing things on the Internet, as it grants more vertical space, Google gave its Pixel what amounts to a squarish screen. For contrast, the laptop you’re likely viewing this on is in 16:9 aspect ratio.

And it’s a touchscreen, with Gorilla Glass, because, really, while you’re here… Oh, and it has a 2560×1700 resolution, giving 239 pixels per inch, a noticeable boost over the Macbook Pro’s 227 ppi. It’s also got some impressive videoconferencing features, with three mics for noise canceling and a 720p camera.

It’s also got an SD slot, handy since with a 32 or 64GB solid-state drive, you’ll likely need some extra storage, and it’s backed by an Intel i5 processor. And yes, it has WiFi and optional LTE.

So, what’s the drawback? Well, this is Google, so, it only runs on Chrome OS. While this has its advantages, Chrome OS’s biggest problem is that it basically breaks the second you lose contact with the Internet. Considering Google wants a heart-stopping $1300 for the 32GB version, and $1450 for the 64GB WiFi version, that’s a fairly severe minus.

If that seems a jump, it very much is: Chromebooks to this point have been dirt-cheap little devices. This is Google’s bid both for some cachet and to step into what it not unreasonably suspects will be a gap, as Apple moves to mobile devices. It’ll be interesting to see what happens, but Google’s going to have to make a pretty compelling argument to make this seem more interesting than a tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard.