The Chromebook ‘All-In-One’ project pt. 2: The Pixel versus the Samsung

Pixel_front_whiteI’ve been loaned a Chromebook Pixel for the next several weeks, (from Google) so I am going to be giving it the same treatment I did with the Samsung model. For a month I used the Samsung almost exclusively (or at least for a great deal of work) and reported on what I found. If you didn’t know, I cover games for a living so I had to find browser-based MMORPGs and other games that worked on the smaller device that is essentially a non-touchscreen tablet with a keyboard. In the end, I found the Samsung model to be a joy to work with and still use it daily. I cannot recommend it enough. Once you get one, you will see why Google has advertised it so heavily.

But, what about the Chromebook Pixel? This newer device is definitely a concept vehicle, but it is also definitely worth the price of 1200 – 1500 US dollars. I only say that IF you live in the Google environment as it is now, and if you need a machine that does what a Chromebook does (as well as what it does not do.) I’m not going to try and go over everything that the ‘Books are good for, and instead I will be comparing the cheaper Samsung model ($249) with the much more expensive Pixel.

First of all, the Pixel is the superior machine. No one will argue that. Its screen is amazing (why they called it the Pixel) and offers resolutions and pixel density that you will not find anywhere else. So far, that is. I’m fully aware that one day we will look back on its stats and giggle, but for now it’s an amazing piece of machinery. Not only does it offer an amazing screen with 4.3 million pixels at 2560 x 1700 on a 12.85″ screen, making the sight of a pixel impossible, but it’s fully touchable and works wonderfully. It’s powered by a core i5 processor and 4 gigs of RAM, so everything runs smoothly.

It offers a few different slots, from two USB 2 slots, a SIM card slot and — oddly enough — a mini display port. On the Samsung model I get a full HDMI slot that easily plugs into my big screen TV and allows for desktop sharing. I’m guessing that the idea is that users of the Pixel will love the display so much that they will not need to plug into a larger display as much, but I beg to differ. One of the best abilities of the Chromebook series — or really any light laptop — is to plug into a large display to watch NetFlix or to share photos or videos for the whole family during the holidays.

So, while the Pixel is definitely the better device and I would be happy to have one, the Samsung is the better deal pound for pound. For $249 you get a very light, portable and capable multimedia internet machine with a pretty good screen and decent speakers. I am rarely away from WiFi, but there is a 3G model available for $329. My experience with the 7″ Google Nexus 3G/H tablet has convinced me that the speeds are perfectly suited to doing stuff while on the road. We use the Nexus tablet all the time, so I can only imagine how much I would us a Chromebook with the same option.

So, while the Samsung is easily the best little web machine you can get, the Pixel is a pleasure to use. It’s just a beautiful screen and if you are a Google fan (as I am) then you will find everything you need in the device. The price is hefty, but I imagine that you are paying for the incredible screen more than anything.

I’d like to warn that the Pixel does get very hot, quite often. There is a fan but it’s not as loud as other reviewers would make it out to be, but the fact that it sits flat and has no visible vents means that the sucker will start to burn up quickly. It’s not uncomfortable but it’s definitely not something you’d expect from a device that costs between 1200 – 1500 dollars.

The touchscreen is not enabled by default as well, which is odd. I had to go the settings and enable it. When do you use a touchscreen? I can only speak for myself, but I use the pinch and zoom to quickly increase the size of text or to look at a picture or detail. As you zoom in you’ll see just how much the Pixel rules in the reading department. I live on websites, so the pinch and zoom works well. Otherwise, I use the touch when playing games and to push big, obvious buttons. It’s hard to explain but you’ll find yourself using the touchscreen more on certain sites than on others. The screen does wobble a bit when you touch, so you won’t be pounding on it by any means.

I’m going to do some more comparing but the lighter, cheaper and in many ways comparable Samsung Chromebook is the better device. Now, I won’t lie to you and say that I would pick a free Samsung over a free Pixel, but if we’re talking value, the Samsung is the best. The Pixel is a pleasure to use and surf on, and to do many of the things like gaming and watching videos on, but the excess heat and price point make it only for those who want an incredible build and screen.

I’m a bit torn, both devices are wonderful. Be warned that I am a Google fan boy and use Google products like crazy. I live within the Google universe and use all of their products every single day. The Pixel makes that experience amazing if not for the heat.

Want to buy an extra laptop or three for your household, even for those power users? Get a few Samsungs.

Want a laptop with a beautiful quality build and a screen that will make it an immense pleasure to work with, get the Pixel.

Then again, I need a few more weeks with this.

Be sure to follow my Massively.com blogs to check out how gaming works on the device. See you soon!

Beau