Last night, I pulled out my Samsung Chromebook on ARM – the one I’ve been raving about for the past four months – only to discover that the LCD screen was broken. About a third of the screen is now largely unusable, and I’m not quite sure how this happened. It looks like it something hit it pretty hard, although it was in my ZeroShock III laptop case all day yesterday. Alas, it is what it is.
I’ve shipped it off to Samsung in the hopes that this, just maybe, might be covered under warranty. But now that I’m without a Chromebook for the time being, I feel almost as if I’m going through withdrawals. I’m back on my clunky Windows machine, and I keep finding myself searching for reviews and information on the Chromebook Pixel, almost obsessively.
Actually, this has happened to me before: my obsessive gadget googling led to my ASUS Transformer Prime and Transformer Pad Infinity acquisitions, and it’s what led me to purchase the Samsung Chromebook, too. But this time, things are different: instead of a $250-500 price tag, I’m looking at around $1,400 with tax, if I were to purchase the WiFi-only Chromebook Pixel. That’s a large chunk of change – and something I probably can’t really afford right now – which is why I’m asking you, dear readers, to please convince me not to buy a Chromebook Pixel.
Why I want a Chromebook Pixel.
Why would I spend so much money on “just a glorified web browser?” My response, in one word: hardware.
The Chromebook Pixel has a machined aluminum body, with vents that are almost impossible to find and no visible screws. The speakers produce rich sound for a laptop, and are hidden behind the keyboard, which is backlit and – according to all the reviews I’ve read – a joy to type on. Many reviewers even prefer the etched-glass touchpad to that found on the Macbook Pro, and multiple microphones work to cancel background noise as you’re using your HD webcam to video chat.
And the screen – that glorious screen with a 2560 x 1700 resolution, 239 ppi, 400 nit brightness, 3:2 aspect ratio for better web browsing and photo editing, and spectacular viewing angles. It’s the best laptop screen on the market right now, both on paper and in person. Oh, and it’s touch-enabled, too.
I’ve already moved my entire life into the cloud, too. I use Gmail instead of Outlook, Google Docs instead of Word, Pixlr Editor instead of Photoshop, Google Play Music instead of iTune … the list could go on. A Google employee also recently provided instructions that allow you to install Linux alongside Chrome OS, and seamlessly switch between the two. Gigaom’s Kevin Tofel recently demonstrated this (see the video below), so I’d still have access to those odd apps here and there like Skype and Audacity, on an as-needed basis. Additionally, since many Android developers tend to use Linux, I shouldn’t run across too many issues when trying to root my future phones without a Windows PC.
Why I shouldn’t get a Chromebook Pixel.
Obviously, cost is the biggest prohibitive factor here. As someone fresh out of grad school, with a mountain of debt I’m trying to pay down, who is already stretched thin financially, should I really drop $1,400 on a new laptop? Still, even as I type this, I’m racking my brain, thinking off all the old gadgets I have laying around that I don’t use anymore, trying to figure out if I could raise enough money to buy the Pixel just by selling all of them on eBay.
And even though I know that, between Chrome OS and Linux, I could do 99% of the things on my Pixel that I can on my Windows machine, there’s still that 1% I’m probably forgetting about now, that will creep up and catch me by surprise.
But I still want it anyway.
I’ve got Pixel lust. While I’ve collected my fair share of premium gadgets over the years, I haven’t ever splurged on a really nice laptop before. My Windows machine is aging, I don’t find Chrome OS as restrictive as other people, and most of my time is spent in the Chrome browser, anyway.
I know I could be spending my money on more practical things, like paying down my debts, but what fun is that? And if I consider this purchase to be a true replacement for my Windows system, then the cost does become slightly more reasonable. That being said, I still feel like I have an angel and a devil sitting on both shoulders, each giving me conflicting advice.
What do you think?