Two years is eons in tech time, and that’s how long we’ve had to wait for a new Chromebook Pixel, which Google announced Wednesday. Yes, this is a new version of the super-premium, high-priced flagship that debuted to oohs, ahhs, and why?s in early 2013, when most Chromebooks were little cheap plastic things, and desktop applications dominated. Not everyone saw the potential of a high-priced browser box.
Fast-forward two years: Chromebook sales are strong, and we’re living more in the cloud than ever. As “Pixel 2” rumors swirled in recent weeks, we honestly wondered how much more this machine could have than it already does.
Now we have our answer. There's no sign of tablet-like functionality as rumored, but this new Pixel is once again touting a vision of greater online things to come. While we work on our full review, here’s a closer look at the newest, fanciest Chromebook ever.
Mostly subtle changes on the outside
If you hefted the new Pixel, as I did, you might notice it’s slightly lighter than before (3.3 pounds compared to 3.35 pounds) and even a scant millimeter thinner (15.3 compared to 16.2). Otherwise, it has the same sleek aluminum shell and gorgeous high-resolution display as the original, and its other outward changes are mostly subtle. Perhaps that’s why Google chose, confusingly, not to give this new generation of its flagship a serial number ‘2.’
The important changes are under the hood, and the biggest is the CPU. The first model’s Intel Ivy Bridge chip had plenty of power but disappointing battery life—five hours by Google’s spec, but barely more than three hours in our review of the original Pixel. Two years later, Intel’s new Broadwell processors offer performance and battery life to spare. Here’s a peek at the performance we’re seeing so far.