Google's new beautiful, $1,000 Web browser

Which $200 laptop is right for you?
Which $200 laptop is right for you?

Are you a Windows person or are you a Mac person?

For decades those were basically the only two options. And whenever I test drive a Chromebook using Google's Chrome operating system, I have to ask myself why I'm taking the time to abandon the all-so-familiar Windows or Mac to take on a completely new operating system.

I'm reminded in an instant when I boot up the new Chromebook Pixel: it literally takes just seconds to start up Chrome OS.

Google's (GOOGL) second generation Pixel looks rather similar to a MacBook with its silver and black trim. It's even about the same weight: (3.3 lbs. compared to the MacBook Pro's 3.48 lbs.)

The touchscreen monitor is breathtaking with its noticeably high pixel density. If you haven't yet experienced a touchscreen laptop, there's something pointlessly novel about getting your fingerprints all over your laptop screen.

chromebook pixel 2
Google has made a gorgeous new Chromebook Pixel 2 device, but it costs $1,000.

The keyboard's backlit keys have a cool feature that makes the keys dim when you move your hands away. They light back up when you bring your fingers back to type.

A subtle color strip on top of the laptop tells you how much charge is left, so you can know your battery level from across the room. Google says the battery lasts a lengthy 12 hours. But even if it runs out, it has ultra fast charging capability which should get you two hours of power in just 15 minutes. Several smartphones have that feature today, and it's nothing short of a miracle.

The new super-thin, reversible USB-C ports are conveniently located on both sides of the Pixel. The USB-C port is slightly larger than a smartphone's micro-USB slot. USB-C not only charges faster, but also lets you transfer data faster and power up another high-resolution display. (It's the same port that serves as the only connector to Apple's new 12-inch MacBook).

Is Apple crazy for dumping USB ports?
Is Apple crazy for dumping USB ports?

The major tech manufacturers, including Apple, HP, Dell and Google, are on board to make USB-C the new industry standard cord. But the Pixel also has two standard USB ports, so you don't have to throw away all your old cords and buy new adapters just yet.

What holds many people back from buying a Chromebook is that the Chrome operating is limited to the Internet. It's literally just a Web browser. That used to mean that you had to be connected to the Internet for simple tasks like typing a document. Google has since made all of that available offline.

Most of what we do now is online anyway, so you hardly notice that you're using a non-Microsoft (MSFT) or Apple (AAPL) operating system. The only time that's a problem for me is when work tools are only available on blast-from-the-past Internet Explorer. Chrome is the only browser available on Google laptops.

chromebook pixel 2 alt

The selling point for Chromebooks is usually the extremely low prices -- I use one that costs around $200.

The new Pixel however, starts at $1,000 and its big brother which is even faster will set you back $1,300. With that price tag no one expects it to end up in everyone's lap. Pixel is more Google's way of saying to the other manufacturers of their Chrome OS, "Hey! This is best and brightest of what can be done with our operating system."

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