Google has announced the latest Chromebook Pixel, only a few days after Apple's new MacBook.
The two notebooks are among the first to offer USB Type-C ports, but how do they stack up against each other in terms of other specs?
It's difficult to pit anything against an Apple product in terms of design. The new MacBook is stunningly beautiful. It is extremely thin and simplistic, and offers Apple's new keyboard with enlarged keys. It looks like an Apple computer.
The Chromebook Pixel has a completely different design. It doesn't really deal with curves the same way that the MacBook does. Instead, it has defined edges and corners. It has a much more industrial design and looks far less classy. When closed, the computer looks like a gray rectangle, compared with the classic work of art that is the MacBook.
The new MacBook famously only has one single USB Type-C port, which supports charging, as Type-C does, and also supports connections such as HDMI, VGA, and of course standard USB.
The Chromebook Pixel, however, takes things a step further by offering two of these USB Type-C ports, future-proofing the device. It also offers two standard USB 3.0 ports, as well as an SD card reader. What this means is that the Chromebook Pixel is far more versatile out of the box as far as external peripherals go.
Both computers also offer a headphone jack.
Type-C is largely being hailed as the "way of the future." It offers a reversible plug, meaning that the days of not knowing which way to plug in a USB are gone. It also allows for enough power to be able to charge a computer, essentially meaning that universal charging cables will become the norm. Both of the computers take advantage of this.
Apple seems to be taking the future a step further, however, with the single port. Apple's vision is an entirely wireless situation, with files being stored in the cloud, eliminating the need for external storage. The Chromebook Pixel recognizes where things are going, however it understands that we're not there yet.
The clear winner here is the Google Chromebook Pixel. With an Intel Core i5 processor in the base model, the Chromebook has far more horsepower than the MacBook, which uses a Core M processor.
The use of a new Core M processor, however, essentially means that Apple can cut out the fan of the computer, making for a much slimmer design and a far lighter computer, highlighting Apple's emphasis on design.
In reality however, Apple might have gone the better route. However, neither of these two computers is for a power-user or a heavy gamer. These computers are aimed at those who need to take notes in class, browse the Internet, and use Excel spreadsheets. This means that they need to be portable. While there's no question that the Chromebook is far more powerful, sacrificing some processing power for a sleeker design might have been the way to go here.
Storage and Memory
Both the Chromebook Pixel and the MacBook offer 8 GB of RAM, which should be more than enough for the applications that these computers will be used for.
Onboard storage, however, is a different situation. Google is positioning its Chromebook series as a series of computers designed to work with cloud storage and apps. Whether it be through Google Drive's applications or other online solutions, users who purchase a Chromebook should make sure that they normally have an Internet connection. As such, the Chromebook only has 32 GB of flash storage.
In some ways it's a little ironic that the MacBook offers 256 GB of solid state storage. Remember before when we said that the fact that the MacBook only has one Type-C port highlights the fact that Apple is looking toward the future? Here, it's the other way around. While eventually we will run everything from the cloud, Apple recognizes that is not yet the case, offering plenty of storage for apps and documents, while pushing wireless and cloud storage through the Type-C port. Google, however, is quite clearly pushing online apps and storage, whether we're there yet or not.
Apple's new MacBook features a number of other great features, including a newly designed keyboard mechanism and an improved track pad for better response and more gestures. It's also important to note the fact that the Chromebook features a touch screen, which adds an extra method of input.
Both of these computers are computers of the future. The MacBook is, as mentioned, a work of art. It is a fashion statement. The Chromebook, however, is a little more powerful and able to take on more. Both of these computers are great choices, though the MacBook is better as an all-purpose computer with the storage that it offers and the access to Apple's App Store. For those confident that they will be connected to the Internet at least most of the time and who don't need to do anything beyond what Google services can do or what can be done through web-based apps, the Chromebook is a great solution. The MacBook starts at $1,299, while the Chromebook Pixel starts at $999.