There’s a new Chromium OS ultrabook in town, and it beats the heck out of the last one from two years ago. Google today announced a refresh for the Chromebook Pixel, its flagship laptop running its homegrown operating system. With upgrades in almost every way, the new Pixel costs a few hundred dollars less than its predecessor – a great sign for folks who want Chromebooks to take a bigger piece of the PC pie.
There are two versions of the Chromium Pixel – one standard, and one “LS,” which stands for “Ludicrous Speed.” The standard version costs $999 and boasts an Intel quad-core i5 CPU, 32 GB of internal storage, 8 GB of RAM, and a 12.85-inch touchscreen high definition display. Another $300 nets you doubled internal storage and RAM, with an i7 CPU as well. Both computers will provide up to 12 hours of battery life, says Google.
It’s a really smart move on the part of Google, and shows that it’s not above learning from its mistakes. And let’s be clear: the first Chromebook Pixel was most definitely a mistake. Its most basic configuration cost $1299, and it was less powerful and less energy efficient. In short, you were paying a lot of money for not very much computer. By contrast, the new Pixel is a much better value. It’d still be nice to have a beefier SSD in there, but with two USB-C ports and two more USB 3.0 ports, not to mention an SD Card slot, there are no shortage of options for expanding the Pixel’s hard drive space.
Best of all, web apps and Chrome Apps are growing in their sophistication and abilities. Maybe you can’t run Photoshop on this – but you can use Autodesk’s Pixlr web-based image editor without any trouble. And as we saw last year, Chromebooks were growing as PC sales had slowed. This new Pixel is still a little expensive, but at least you get a lot more performance for your money this time around.