The Chromebook Pixel (2015) Reviewby Brandon Chester on March 16, 2015 8:00 AM EST
Despite its limitations, it's really hard to not like the Chromebook Pixel. Google has clearly put a lot of thought and effort into designing it, and what it does do it does really well. I think the move to USB Type-C is forward thinking, and makes the Pixel very versatile when it comes to connecting to both current and future displays and peripherals. The little details like tapping the top to see the remaining battery capacity, and the ability to charge on either side also help make it a very lovable laptop.
The Pixel's hardware is top notch. The build quality is every bit as good as what you'll get on a MacBook Retina, and both the keyboard and touchpad are comfortable to use. The CPU and RAM are completely overkill for running Chrome OS, but given that the Pixel has absolutely stellar battery life I'm not complaining about the additional hardware power. I think Google could have done more to calibrate the display, but in all honesty I doubt any users who buy the Pixel will be bothered by it, and it is still incredibly sharp.
The only big criticism I can really throw at the Pixel is the fact that its software is limited. But that is the entire point of how Chrome OS has been designed, and I do not know if it really makes sense to complain about something doing exactly what it was intended to do just because you wish it could do more. Chrome OS is definitely not the OS for everyone though, and although you can run other versions of Linux overtop, it's not exactly a real solution to the problem.
The final question is obviously whether or not someone interested in the Pixel should buy one. The answer is more complicated than a yes or a no. For anyone who wants to develop with Chrome OS in mind, the Pixel is the laptop to buy if it is within their budget. Other Chromebooks are definitely more affordable, but the Pixel is just so much nicer than any other Chromebook. I think that the Pixel can also be an appealing device for any user who can work within the limitations of Chrome OS, although I heavily stress that buyers make sure they know exactly what those limitations are before they spend $1000 on a laptop.
Google clearly doesn't intend for the Pixel to be a mass market item. It's quite expensive, it runs Chrome OS, and it's only sold in the US and the UK. There's clearly a small market for people that want a laptop like the Pixel though, and those are the people that Google are targeting. I am not one of them, and I do not know many people who are, but they do exist. In the end I find myself wishing that the Pixel could do more, because it's a genuinely nice laptop. I really like the Chromebook Pixel, but I personally just couldn't justify buying it.