Chromebook Pixel: the laptop Microsoft wishes its OEMs would build
The Chromebook Pixel is a gorgeous piece of machinery. I am in full agreement with David Pierce — this is one of the best laptops I’ve seen in a very long time. The stunning display, the sleek anodized aluminum unibody design, and the futuristic light bar give the Pixel a sense of taste and class that, in my opinion, very few companies managed in recent notebook design history. I also expect that this device will be a massive flop, it just isn’t going to sell a significant number of units because of its lackluster software. Chrome OS, while a valiant effort from Google, just feels underpowered and convoluted to use. As much as Google and Eric Schmidt try to convince you otherwise, the fact remains the world isn’t ready for an all browser-based workflow.
While playing with David’s review unit it hit me: what if this beautiful device didn’t run Chrome OS? What if this were a Windows 8 laptop, or even a new MacBook running OS X? The thought of this device running a real OS intrigued all of the Verge staffers here at MWC. The Pixel is more than capable of handling a real operating system and, apart from its limited flash storage, is equal to most modern laptops. We can argue for ages whether the Pixel will satisfy every user’s needs but I think if you consider how many apps you need — other than Chrome everyone would have to make at least some compromises to use the Pixel on a daily basis. Windows 8 is a powerful operating system that will run every app you throw at it; including the single app Google’s laptop currently runs — Chrome.
When I’m making up my mind on whether to buy a computer or not I look at how many checkboxes the device ticks. The Chromebook Pixel ticks most of my boxes — a feat that no Windows 8 laptop has managed as of yet. Every Windows 8 laptop I’ve played with has a deal-breaking flaw, be it an ugly display, an unresponsive digitizer, a poor trackpad, shoddy keyboard, or the disappointing performance often encountered. The Chromebook Pixel has a great display, a sturdy design, a fast processor, enough memory, perfectly usable keyboard and trackpad, and of course its touch-enabled. Google has built the laptop no Windows OEM has managed to achieve. In a world where Microsoft is trying to get people to adopt its new version of Windows, it needs to offer hardware of this stellar level. The question remains: why don’t they!?