Google introduces Chromebook Pixel premium ($1299) laptop with HD touchscreen display

Google is getting into the premium laptop space with the new Chromebook Pixel. It’s the first Chrome OS laptop designed and sold by Google. It’s the first model with premium features including a touchscreen display and a backlit keyboard. And it’s the first Chromebook with a 12.85 inch, 2560 x 1700 (239 ppi) high definition display.

The Chromebook Pixel is also the first Chrome OS laptop designed to sell for over a thousand dollars. A WiFi-only model is available starting today for $1299, while a Verizon 4G LTE model is coming soon for $1449.

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That’s a pretty steep price for a laptop that runs an operating system based on a browser. But this is by far the most powerful Chromebook to date.

Not only does it have a crazy-high resolution display, but it’s got a Core i5 processor, Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics, 4GB of RAM, and Google is throwing in 1TB of online storage at Google Drive for up to three years when you buy a Chromebook Pixel.

The notebook weighs 3.4 pounds and measures 0.6 inches thick. It has a Gorilla Glass display with a 178 degree viewing angle and 400 nit brightness, and features 2 USB 2.0 ports, an SD card slot, and a mini Display Port.

Google says the Chromebook Pixel should get up to 5 hours of battery life.

On the other hand, you don’t get a lot of local storage — the WiFi-only model has just 32GB of solid state drive space, while the 4G model has 64GB.

Chromebooks don’t generally need large amounts of local storage, because most of your data, documents, and media are supposed to be stored online. But most Chromebooks sell for under $450, which makes them cheap enough to think of as secondary computers. You can keep your movie collection on your main PC and use your cheap Chromebook on the go.

With the introduction of a $1299 Chromebook, it seems Google really wants people to start thinking of Chrome OS as a primary operating system for all their needs. Interestingly, this week the company just added support for file previews and for streaming videos uploaded to your Google Drive account.

In other words, that 1TB of online storage space you get with the purchase of a Chromebook Pixel might really be enough to justify giving up on having a computer at home where you keep all your media.

But the Chromebook Pixel will also be the first Chromebook to ship with QuickOffice software already built-in. Google bought the office suite makers recently, and the upshot is that you’ll be able to open, create, and edit office documents without an active internet connection.

Even at $1299, this is still the cheapest notebook you can buy with a Retina-like display. Apple charges an even higher price for a 13 MacBook Pro with a Retina display… although arguably you can do a lot more on a MacBook than you can on a Chromebook.

The Chromebook Pixel is already available in the US from the Google Play Store. It should be available soon from Best Buy in the US and Currys PC World in the UK.

If that demo video looks familiar, that’s because we saw parts of it in a promotional video that was apparently leaked by accident a few weeks ago.

  • http://rct.me.ht/ crashsuit

    Go home Google, you are drunk.

  • toronado455

    Is it possible to hack this? Access the BIOS? Install Windows?

  • nukeblitz

    Ubuntu and most linux distros are possible – don’t think windows is.

    You know, this strikes me as a pure showcase device. I don’t think even google’s planning to sell many.

    The design, hardware and price all point to that.

    I’m a chrome OS fan. It’s the right laptop for most of family but this chromebook makes no sense from the perspective of most consumers – except a very narrow class of professionals

  • PaxD75

    One thing I’ve read that really interested me was the 3:2 aspect ratio. I’m not a big fan of 16:9. For this kind of money, I’m curious why Google didn’t go all out and turn this into a hybrid. I looked over the clip of the engineers spending a lot of time focusing on the design aspects of the hardware (2 years) so they may have been committed (or locked-in) to producing a high-resolution laptop from the get-go.

    Aesthetics aside, it feels dated for a touchscreen solution.

  • Guest

    Never, not at that price…give me a better a better machine than the inexpensive stuff out there now with a next gen AMD APU keep it to about $400 or so then I will be interested, no way I will pay $1300 or more!

    • The Calm Critic

      +10. Any latest AMD APU or ARM Cortex A15 class SoC or even better maybe a Snapdragon 800 w/ 1080p screen. Slap a hybrid hdd and call it a day. A Chromebook with that high of a res are just ludicrous.

  • Alexander

    I’d buy one to run Linux if it were matte instead of touch.

  • ddevine

    The OS wouldn’t last a second with me, but I’d buy it for the hardware and run real Linux.
    On the other hand, I shouldn’t encourage this touch screen nonsense.

  • NathanExplosion

    Knock $800 off of that price and then we can talk.

    • gadgetfreaksta

      ^ this

  • http://profiles.google.com/nikcomp Tony Nicholas

    This is way too much for a Chromebook. I also don’t think using Intel processors is the wisest move. What the Chromebook should be offering is ultra light weight and ridiculous battery life. Granted a bigger screen is nice but the aspect ratio is like going back to 2005.

    • CyberGusa

      The aspect ratio has nothing to do with being old fashioned, but rather what’s more efficient for its primary usage!

      Wide screens are only useful for watching wide screen videos! It’s only because most consumers spend most of their time consuming content that this has become the dominant aspect ratio.

      However, for productivity, reading, web browsing, etc. the more 4:3 like aspect ratio is more efficient as it lets you view more without constantly needing to scroll or zoom!

      While the use of Intel has little to do with whether this could be a ultra light and provide good run times. A Clover Trail ATOM processor for example can provide better run time than a Tegra 3 and is also a SoC.

      Mind the upcoming Haswell update for the Core i-Series Intel processors will start pushing towards SoC like designs and offer much better power efficiencies than presently available.

      So, rather, it’s because this system is designed with a high performance chip that it doesn’t provide the features you suggested it should have but that may be the point Google was going for as this system may not be really intended for the general consumer market but rather could be a platform that they intend to help develop Chrome OS for the future.

      Since there are two things that hold back software from being developed for higher end usages. One is hardware capable of running more powerful software, and the other is developers willing to develop those higher end software… With this product Google now can offer the hardware and they just need developers to start making the software to take advantage of it.

      Mind, as technology improves over time the performance of this system will eventually become the norm for lower end hardware… so this could be a longer term smart move to get ready for that time… Just not a great short term move but it’s not like Google couldn’t afford to wait…

  • The Calm Critic

    All in all in terms of to market execution, this is probably Google’s worst since Wave..

  • http://twitter.com/stratoknight Paul Son
  • uncola

    I don’t see who this is for. Wish they had just included a quad core exynos a15 and maybe a lower res 3:2 screen and charged like $500