Macbook Vs. Pixel Chromebook: Four Rounds For Glory – By Gavin Muirhead

With the Google I/O Keynote came the Pixel Chromebook. Gavin sees if this supposed, “best laptop possible,” is truly what it claims to be.


The treasure of the entire I/O Keynote would have to be the Pixel Chromebook. Touted by Google as “the Best Laptop Possible” the new Chromebook is certainly setting the bar for itself high. That’s all fine and dandy, just know that ‘best’ is a strong word…

$1300, for those wondering, is the cost of the entry level Pixel with an LTE version selling at just under $1500. If you’re keeping score that is in the territory of a 13” MacBook Air.

Let The Battle Begin.

In the Blue corner, weighing in at 3.35 pounds, hailing from San Francisco California – The Chomebook Pixel.

In the Red corner, weighing in at a slender 2.96 pounds from Cupertino California – The MacBook Air (13”).

Both contenders enter the ring with roughly a 13-inch screen, but the Pixel destroys the MacBook Air with a resolution of 2560 x 1700 at 239 PPI (Pixels Per Inch) when compared to the MacBook Air at 1440 x 900 (native) and ~120 PPI, the Pixel is already ahead by one hell of a haymaker. Resolution is the way to my heart, but what about functionality and performance?

Things can’t just look good, they need to run and perform up to expectations.

Round 2 of this ‘Laptop Thunderdome’ consists of processing power, and internal memory.

The Chromebook Pixel comes loaded with:

• Intel® Core™ i5 processor (Dual Core 1.8GHz)

• Intel® HD Graphics 4000 (Integrated)


MacBook Air:

• 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with 3MB shared L3 cache

• Intel HD Graphics 4000

• $1399 model – dual-core 2.0GHz Intel Core i7 4MB shared L3 cache.

• 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3L onboard memory – Configurable to 8GB.

It comes down to punch count for Round 2, and the MacBook will edge out due to the ability to expand the Ram and Processing power.

Round 3 – Storage.

What good is a laptop if you can’t use it to store your pirated goodies?

The ChromeBook Pixel has a unique outlook on this, the supply you with a 32GB solid state drive (64GB on LTE model) and One terabyte of Google Drive cloud storage for three years.

The MacBook on the other hand, goes the more traditional route of 128GB flash storage on the $1199 model, and 256GB on the $1399 model (upgradeable to 512GB)

Winner – MacBook Air. Why? Simple. The Pixel gives you 32GB of starting space, before the OS and any other bloatware is loaded on to it, meaning you might be getting 26GB of space on the entry model, and ~54GB on the LTE version. The Terebyte of storage sounds nice, but you need to be on Wi-Fi to access your files, or have the LTE connection which is limited to 100mb per month from Verizon, meaning you will probably never be able to use that space to its fullest.

The MacBook wins here because its simple, old fashioned storage space. No gimicky cloud features, and isn’t dependant on a data connection to access a file.

Round 4 – The Final Round.

So far each unit has its highs and lows, with the MacBook slightly edging out the Pixel. What about all the fun stuff you need in a laptop?

Thankfully, plenty of goodies exist for both.Both units have a five hour battery life, but the MacBook Air offers an upgrade to seven hours for extra cost. Both have 720p HD web cams, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, SD Card readers, and power buttons. The MacBook Air does have a Thunderbolt connection, which can be very useful for exporting HD files quickly if you want to spend the extra money for the cables to do it.

The ringer here, is the Pixels Touchscreen, with the amazingly vibrant resolution that it is capable of, the Pixel puts the beauty of the world right at your finger tips. Literally.Overall, both are very nice pieces of hardware, but for an off the shelf option – the Pixel wins. At $1500 for the fully loaded unit, it will do everything a fully loaded MacBook Air will do, without the need to upgrade every part of it first.

said from my iMac, with love.

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