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Google Chromebook Pixel review – hands on

We've wrapped our eager mitts (and eyeballs) around Google's latest pixel-packed Chromebook. Click on through for our first impressions

Google Chromebook Pixel – speed and power

The Pixel is, like previous Chromebooks, extremely fast to start up. You open the lid and you’re in business. There’s a very strong immediate impression of smoothness and speed, which comes from the Core i5 chip easily coping everything Chrome, the least demanding desktop OS, can throw at it. The only thing interfering with this incredibly slick experience is that Google has decided to play the Killers at its press event.

Google Chromebook Pixel – design and build

Build quality is really nice, on a par with the best Ultrabooks. The aluminium doesn’t have the nice cold feel of some, but the keyboard is really something. Both it and the trackpad are among the best we’ve used. Google has foregone labelling the ports with icons, because if you don’t know what an SD card slot looks like then a £1000-plus laptop is not for you. The high screen is lovely for flicking through the Web, but it does feel a little top-heavy. As we type this, it’s nodding slightly to the Snow Patrol track that Google is now subjecting us to.

Google Chromebook Pixel – display

Oh God. Snow Patrol finished for a minute there and we thought that was it, but now it’s Keane. They’re playing Keane. Still, the Pixel’s astonishing screen does much to distract us. Take your pic of the specs – 2650 x 1700, 239PPI, 4.3 megapixels, 400nits – this is one absolute corker of a display. 1080p movies will play with black bars, of course, but still on more pixels than other laptops.

More screen-flicking and the display doesn’t seem to be picking up any grease or sweat, which is impressive, because our hands are now sweating heavily with the kind of sad, acrid sweat one’s hands produce when you’re made to listen to Take That’s And The World Comes Alive at high volume.

Google Chromebook Pixel – keyboard

After about half an hour of constant use, the Pixel does start to get a little warm on the lap. It does have a fan for its i5 chip, but it is definitely (and unsurpisingly) hotter than the ARM-based Samsung. Have we mentioned how nice the keyboard is? If you spend your life on Google Docs, this is going to be a seriously tempting proposition.

Google Chromebook Pixel – weight

It’s light, too – we didn’t bring our scales, but it’s certainly a lot lighter than the Ultrabook we brought with us. If the battery does last the rated five hours with a display this sharp and bright (and given that it’s an open test, we expect it to), then we’ll be even more impressed. But Google has just played Kings of Leon track followed by Coldplay, so we’re going to leave before our inner ears crawl out of our heads and attack us in a show of violent retribution.

Google Chromebook Pixel – first impressions

In conclusion, then: Google has made a very beautiful laptop that we find extremely impressive on first go. But it has worse taste in music than Microsoft. And that is really saying something.

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