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Google Chromebook Pixel review

Wed Feb 27 2013, 17:04

Battery life
Google claims that the Pixel's 59Wh battery will keep going for at least five hours of active use before running out of juice. In our tests, we found that the Pixel's battery drained from fully charged to completely dead in approximately 5 hours and 20 minutes of intermittent use including browsing web pages, writing with Google Docs and viewing Youtube videos.

Google Chromebook Pixel back detail

Surprisingly, this was 20 minutes more than Google's estimate. However, we had our screen brightness set at 50 percent during use. This was because we didn't need to set it any higher, because this level seemed fine for general use indoors. Set at full brightness and performing more intensive operations, such as playing music or especially watching video continuously, we can imagine that the Pixel's battery would last for less than five hours.

The Pixel's battery levels were recorded as follows: Powered up with 100 percent battery life at 10:45; 72 percent at 12:15; 47 percent at 13:39; 20 percent at 15:07; 9 percent 15:39; 5 percent at 15:50; powered off at 16:05. It took approximately two hours and 45 minutes to then charge back up to 100 percent.

Google Chromebook Pixel lid hinge

Though the battery life did match Google's claims, five hours of battery life from a laptop isn't the best compared to many ultrabooks on the market that offer around seven hours of battery life on one charge.

In Short
Google says it designed the Chromebook Pixel "to inspire future innovation" and we believe this is what the Pixel does, offering fast performance on a new operating system. However, that doesn't mean that this is what people will want to spend their hard-earned cash on.

Though the touchscreen is quite responsive to commands, with touch commands being fluid, we don't really see that much of a need for it on the Chromebook Pixel. Unless Google is planning to launch a number of programs that will work better with touch, it seems more like a gimmick.

Google Chromebook Pixel view from below

Saying that, the screen is brilliantly vibrant and displays exceptional quality, and it sets the bar higher for laptop makers. The keyboard, too, is another one of our favourite features on the Pixel, as it is a pleasure to type on and thus makes us more productive.

The concept of the Pixel is a very exciting thing, and it gives us insight into the direction personal computing is heading - an always on slimline device with most of its storage located on the cloud. But perhaps the Pixel has arrived just a little too early, as the apps and programs we all know and rely on are missing, making its usefulness limited. We can't imagine who would spend this much on a laptop that is so restricted in terms of software. Nevertheless, the Chromebook Pixel does look and feel like a high quality laptop, and better still, it foreshadows a revolution in computing, and that alone is a very exciting thing. µ

The Good
Brilliant screen display, good touch response, great keyboard, excellent design and build quality.

The Bad
Rather heavy, expensive, not everyone will like the 3:2 aspect ratio display, battery life could be better.

The Ugly
There's nothing ugly about the Pixel, except perhaps the face you'll make after you try to install your favourite applications after paying over £1,000 for a laptop with a limited OS.

Bartender's Score




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