The Chromebook Pixel, an ambitious and well-designed laptop that was ultimately too expensive, is back, and this time it might actually be something you’ll want to pick up. On the heels of Apple’s MacBook announcement, Google on Wednesday introduced a more improved model, one that not only sports faster guts, but comes with a more affordable jumping off point.
There were murmurs Google was working on a successor, and, well, they were true. Like the first model that was released back in 2013, the newest model is a high-end laptop focused more on its anodized aluminum design than software. And that’s OK, because the 2015 Chromebook Pixel is an impressively specced machine.
There are two different models: one runs an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage; the other model packs an Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Both models are available now for $999 and $1,299, respectively.
Certainly expensive machines, especially when you consider they’re still Chromebooks when all is said and done. But they’re notable if not for Chrome OS, but for their wonderful, high-resolution touchscreen displays and premium boxy designs.
They look a lot like the first model, which isn’t a bad thing at all. This time around, Google is promising much improved battery life—up to 12 hours between charges, which is tremendous longevity for students. But not only will the battery last longer; Google says you can charge it faster, and get about 2 hours of usage on just 15 minutes of charging with the USB Type-C port (there are actually two USB-C ports, one on each side).
Other than that, this is still at its core a Chromebook, with all of Google’s services (Chrome web store, Google Drive, Google Play Movies, etc.) built right in. If you’re deeply embedded in Google’s ecosystem, then you’ll feel right at home using the search giant’s Chrome OS.
Chromebooks still aren’t quite at the level of a MacBook or Windows computer, but it’s a nice filler for those who simply send email and browse the Web. If you do those things regularly, and nothing else, then a Chromebook isn’t a bad idea. Of course, there are many Chromebook options out there that are a lot cheaper than the Pixel. Google even lists one in its “see more like this section,” the Acer Chromebook 13, for $299.
Beyond mere aesthetics and internal improvements, Google says its new Pixel has an improved trackpad and keyboard, along with a stiffer hinge for greater durability. It looks great, seemingly performs great, and comes at a cheaper price. The new Chromebook Pixel is on sale and ships in 1 to 2 business days.