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Google Chromebook Pixel 2 to launch next week

Google sets release date for the second edition of its premium Chromebook

The new version of Google’s luxurious Chromebook Pixel will go on sale in the UK on April 21, according to reports. Although still officially labelled as “coming soon” on the Google Store, T3 reports that the new Pixel will be launched in the UK next Tuesday. 

The device will be available both online and through Dixons retail stores. As previously revealed, there will be two versions of the Chromebook Pixel 2, with the cheapest model starting at £799 – significantly cheaper than the £1,049 price tag slapped on the original Chromebook Pixel in 2013, but still a hefty price for a laptop with very limited functionality. 

The 2015 model has the same 13in 2,560×1,700 touchscreen as the original, but the internals have been revamped. The £799 model includes a 2.2GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and 32GB of storage. Step up to the £999 model, and the spec is boosted to a 2.4GHz Core i7 with 16GB RAM and 64GB of storage.

Given that the Chromebook deals predominantly with cloud, rather than local, applications, it’s difficult to envisage the superior spec delivering anything other than a very slight performance gain, although the Chrome browser is gaining an unwanted reputation as a memory hog, which means that extra 8GB of RAM could come in handy for those who like to have dozens of tabs open at one time.

There was little wrong with the hardware of the original Pixel, especially that high-definition touchscreen, but the sticking point remains the limitations of Chrome OS. Although Google has made a greater push towards offline apps over the past couple of years, the device is still largely restricted to what can be performed in a web browser.

A Google beta project to migrate Android apps to Chrome OS could further boost the device’s potential, and provide a sound reason to upgrade to the 64GB version, although that project is still restricted to only four popular Android apps – Evernote, Duolingo, Sight Words and Vine.   

Given that Apple’s new 12in MacBook offers a comparable screen resolution (2,304 x 1,440), 8GB of RAM and a vastly superior 256GB of storage for £1,049 – plus the full desktop power of OS X – it’s still difficult to make a case for the Chromebook Pixel as a premium laptop, although we’ll reserve full judgement until our review unit arrives in the building. 

Like the MacBook, the Chromebook takes advantage of the new USB Type-C connector for charging and connecting peripherals. Unlike Apple’s laptop, however, the Pixel has two of the ports, as well as two regular USB 3 ports. Apple’s slimmer MacBook relies on just the one Type-C connector to do everything.  

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