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TMCNet:  Review: Google's Chromebook Pixel offers stunning features -- once it starts running

[February 22, 2013]

Review: Google's Chromebook Pixel offers stunning features -- once it starts running

Feb 22, 2013 (San Jose Mercury News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Our review of Google's (GOOG) new Chromebook Pixel laptop got off to a bumpy start when the thing wouldn't even fire up.

A Google spokeswoman initially diagnosed the problem over the phone as a faulty "power brick" because the barrel end of the power source that plugs into the Chromebook Pixel didn't light up green as it's designed to do.

So while we waited for a new power source -- and laptop -- to arrive from Google headquarters in Mountain View, we spent the time passing the Chromebook Pixel around the newsroom and comparing it to one of Google's main competition -- my 11-inch, MacBook Air.

Where the MacBook Air has rounded edges and a shape reminiscent of the old "clamshell" Apple (AAPL) laptops of old, the new 12.85-inch Chromebook Pixel has the sharper edges and muscular look of an F-117 stealth fighter.

While it's slightly narrower than my MacBook Air, the Chromebook Pixel sits a good inch-and-a-quarter deeper and -- at 3.35 pounds -- is considerably heftier.

But the Chromebook Pixel's smoke gray, aluminum skin makes it look very slick and very cool.

Tim Chae, a lead Chrome OS tech, finally arrived from Mountain View just before deadline and said the power brick wasn't to blame after all. We received a bad laptop, which Chae said has never happened with the Chromebook Pixel.

After typing my gmail address into the new laptop as required, Chae quickly fired it up and put it through its paces.

The Chromebook Pixel's display is loaded with more pixels per inch than any laptop on the market, so images are stunning. And the Pixel's touch-screen capabilities make navigating the Internet and playing with apps a breeze. Keys on the top of the keyboard also allow easy maneuvering around the web.

There is no touch-screen keyboard, however, so you still need to use the old-fashioned keyboard to type in the names of websites and such.

With only enough time left on deadline for a quick test drive, the Chromebook Pixel showed enough pixel power to represent a step forward. But its sizable price tag -- $1,299 for 32 gigs of flash storage and Wi-Fi only, and $1,449 for 64 gigs of flash storage and the ability to connect to Verizon's 4G network -- represents a big enough price jump to give the MacBook Air another look. On the other hand, the Chromebook Pixel comes with a whopping 1,000 gigs of online storage.

Contact Dan Nakaso at 408-271-3648. Follow him at Twitter.com/dannakaso.

___ (c)2013 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Visit the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) at www.mercurynews.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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