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Melanie Pinola

What Is Chrome OS? and Is the Chromebook Pixel Worth It?

By February 25, 2013

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Chromebook PixelToday I had to update an article I recently wrote about Chromebooks to correct the (previously true) summary that Chromebooks are inexpensive, value-oriented laptops great for travelers/students/mobile users. Now that Google has introduced the $1300 Chromebook Pixel--a Chromebook with a stunning display and powerful Intel Core i5 processor--that "affordable" proposition is dirt.

The Chromebook Pixel is a puzzle. With the desktop Intel processor, it's more powerful than any Chromebook before, but probably unnecessarily so, since Chrome OS is designed specifically for web-based (low-resource) application. It also has a super-high-resolution display (2560 x 1700 pixels) and more storage space than other Chromebooks, but, then again, Chromebooks' MO was cloud storage and web browsing. If the Chromebook Pixel could run desktop applications (e.g., Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite) or do something the other Chromebooks could not, this $1300 price tag would make sense. But it can't, because it runs Chrome OS, which only features a browser and a few essential local apps, directing you to the web for everything else.

Chrome OS, based on Linux and with a minimalist user interface, is a great platform for those of us who work mostly in the browser. Buying the Chromebook Pixel just for that, however, just seems like overkill--especially for at the same price you can buy an Ultrabook (or two), a Windows 8 touchscreen PC, or a Macbook.

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