Google’s Chromebook Pixel may be the ultimate Chromebook. It’s easily the most effective, capable, and beautiful Chromebook. But at $999, it’s also an impractical product. Even if you’ve got the money to burn, spending so much on a notebook computer that lives and dies by the net browser is a difficult sell. I’ve got great news, though: other Chromebook makers are needs to approach the Pixel’s premium feel, and they’re carrying it out for way less overall.
Dell’s Chromebook 13, which starts at $429, is a good exemplory case of this yet. Its fit and finish are what you’d expect from a notebook computer costing hundreds more, performance is excellent, and it’s got a battery that goes and goes. I’m convinced that may be the new standard where other Chromebooks will be judged. Thanks for leading us here, Google, however the Pixel is needs to feel pretty unnecessary.
Dell’s strong first impression commences with exterior design. The Chromebook 13’s lid is wrapped in a soft-touch, carbon fiber weave coating that feels great. All of those other laptop computer includes a magnesium alloy construction that’s plenty strong and leaves zero worry about occasional, unexpected bumps. Apart from Google’s Chrome emblem and an Intel sticker, there’s nothing colorful about the Chromebook 13. It’s all a variety of black and dark gray, but which means the notebook blends in in the office equally well as at the restaurant. The premium build easily outranks other Chromebooks I’ve recently tested just like the Asus Chromebook Flip – and that one’s also got a metal chassis. The main one trade-off is weight; the Chromebook 13 isn’t particularly light at 3.23 pounds, nor would anyone ever call this thing thin. But unless you’re especially looking for an air-light Chromebook, it’s worth trading somewhat of heft for just how this notebook computer feels. There’s no creaking or flexing or any other common symptoms of a cheaply made Chrome OS machine. The Chromebook 13 is merely solid through and through.
There’s one slight annoyance that is included with such substantial construction; the Chromebook 13’s lid is nearly impossible to open single-handedly. You’ll conclude pulling the whole notebook computer up along with it, but at least that demonstrates the hinge’s strength. Set the screen where you want to buy, and it’s not likely to move even slightly. As soon as you do open it, you’ll be met with a fairly great 1080p display. The machine I tested includes a matte finish, but Dell offers the Chromebook 13 with a glossy Gorilla Glass-covered screen in higher-end models. I’d probably recommend the matte option, though. Reflections will be the devil, which eliminates them in practically any working environment. You’ll oftimes be taking this Chromebook everywhere, to ensure that overall flexibility really proves valuable. The display is sharp, bright, and colorful, although white balance leans somewhat warm for my taste. Sharpness is one area where in fact the Pixel still dominates other Chromebooks, nevertheless, you may possibly also argue that it’s extreme overkill. For editing Google Docs or repeatedly watching the Star Wars trailer in 1080p on YouTube, Dell’s panel gets the work done.
The base houses an outstanding backlit keyboard that’s second and then the Pixel regarding comfort and usability. Key travel and spacing felt no not the same as my 15-inch MacBook Pro, which allowed me to feverishly type away with nary a typo. And oh, that trackpad. Dell’s brought over the glass trackpad from its XPS notebook computer line, and it’s just one more thing which makes the Chromebook 13 feel a lot more premium than its price lets on. Swiping through Chrome is effortless, and the trackpad reacts quickly to gestures. It’s accurately what you’d want.
On the Chromebook 13’s left side you’ll find the energy input, headphone jack, a full-size HDMI port, one USB 3.0 port (a slower USB 2 port is on the contrary side), and a microSD slot. I question Dell’s logic in choosing microSD here, since a full-size SD slot would’ve been a lot more convenient for virtually any scenario. My suspicion is that hardly any persons will work with the Chromebook 13’s expandable storage. Internally, it includes 16GB of flash storage and 4GB of RAM. You could pay more for 32GB of space and 8GB of RAM, but honestly, the $429 base model is absolutely enough for what most of the people can do with a Chromebook.
That base configuration is powered by Intel’s Celeron 3205U processor, and again, I see little reason to pay more for the optional Core i3 or i5 SKUs. I threw tabs and tabs as of this thing, and it kept humming right along without the dips in performance or noticeable stuttering. The Chromebook 13 hopped between Spotify, YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and numerous other websites pretty effortlessly. Think about all you use a notebook computer – er, a browser – for, which will do all those things just fine. And it’ll do them for a long period. When charged the night time before, I never once were able to exhaust this Chromebook’s battery in one day. It’s just something you don’t need to worry about. Be thankful for that, as the Chromebook 13’s charger is obnoxiously big and a genuine burden to lug around. It’s pretty great knowing you’ll do not have to, and the notebook can be quick to fill up; a complete charge takes roughly 90 minutes.
So then we’re left with Chrome OS. And right now, the complaints I’m going to rattle off are likely to appear to be a broken record. Google’s Chrome browser is properly able to handle most productivity and entertainment tasks, but we’re still not at a location where you’ll be editing photographs or a video timeline on any Chromebook – even the Pixel. And if you’re offline, there’s still little reason to power one on. The web remains Chrome OS’s lifeblood, so when you’re from Wi-Fi, the items that can be done with a Chromebook remain not a lot of.
But the operating-system all together is evolving swiftly. I’m a major fan of the Expose-like multitasking view, and I find myself actually using the function keys on Chromebooks, specially the the one that switches between fullscreen mode and back. I still see Chromebooks as an ideal secondary computer, despite the fact that they have the ability to check off 95 percent of everyday tasks. I’d take this over some underwhelming $500 Windows notebook in a heartbeat. Dell makes great Windows machines, and today it’s setting the bar for Chrome OS.
With the Chromebook 13, Dell has were able to create a stunner of a Chromebook, and unlike Google, it’s done that while sticking with sane, attainable pricing. It ranks best in class on practically every front, even in comparison to favorites from Toshiba, Asus, Acer, and Samsung. Truthfully, you can spend less overall and get yourself a capable Chromebook from those companies. And yes, the $1,000 Chromebook Pixel technically bests the Dell. But with everything that’s here – the top-notch build, an excellent keyboard / trackpad combo, and marathon battery life – it’s worth saving up the excess couple hundred bucks and obtaining the Chromebook 13 over its lower-cost competitors.