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Google launches new, cheaper, Chromebook Pixel

New top-end Chromebook comes in two specifications and includes USB type-C connectors

Google has launched two new versions of its flagship Chromebook Pixel as it looks to entice big spenders with the most powerful Chrome OS devices on the market.

While the name remains unchanged and is still sold under the name Pixel (no number or year), Google has made specification changes across the board while still managing to cut the price by around £200. One specification that remains untouched is the showpiece 13in 2,560×1,700 pixel touch screen from which the device takes its name. With claimed 400cd/m2 brightness and wide gamut colour coverage, specification-wise it’s the best Chromebook screen on the market, although with Full HD Chromebooks slowly trickling on to the market, this headline-grabbing feature is slightly less important.

It also keeps the unmistakable angular and squared-off design as the old model and weighs about the same, too, at 1.5kg.

There’s a new 5th generation 2.2GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and 32GB of flash storage in the base, £799 model, and a £999 version running off a 2.4GHz Core i7 with 16GB RAM and 64GB of storage. Both models include Intel’s latest on-board HD Graphics 5500, speeding up basic 3D games and media consumption.

Hot on the heels of Apple’s new MacBook that has just one data port in the form of a USB type-C connector, the Chromebook Pixel has two USB type-C connectors that can be used as a power supply, display output and peripheral connector (or all three with an adaptor). Unlike the MacBook, however, Google has also included two USB3 ports for the rest of your peripherals. The new Pixel also has a fast-charge feature, with a quick 15-minute top up adding two hours of battery life. Total battery life is rated at 12 hours.

Further reading: USB type-C – everything you need to know

With a much lower price than the previous model, this new Chromebook has a chance to cater for a wider audience. It’s still by far the most expensive Chromebook on the market, though, so its appeal will be comparatively limited.

However, the age-old excuse for not buying a Chromebook is becoming less relevant, and while Chrome OS is definitely an extended web browser, the increasing presence of Chrome OS-compatible Android apps and the evolution of web-based applications both from Google and others, a powerful Chromebook with a high-resolution screen doesn’t seem quite as ridiculous as it did in 2013. The original device was applauded for its outstanding design and build but hammered by most reviewers, including ours, for its wince-inducing price.

The new Chromebook Pixel is listed on Google’s revamped hardware store, but it’s not yet available for pre-order in the UK.

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