The high-end ultrabook market is heating up with the debut of the Chromebook Pixel. Google’s sleek, new laptop starts at $1299, just $100 more than a basic MacBook Air model (starting at $1199). So if you’re wondering how the two notebooks compare, here’s an in-depth rundown:
The touch screen is the showstopper in the Chromebook Pixel. Boasting 4.3 million pixels, and a 2,560 x 1,700 pixel resolution, the display is sharp and brilliant and could even give the retina display of the MacBook Pro a run for its money. While the MacBook Air screen is slightly bigger (13.3 inches) than the Chromebook Pixel screen (12.85 inches), the Air’s 1440 x 900 pixel density doesn’t match up to the Pixel’s impressive screen.
Boot and Resume Time
One of the standout features of the MacBook Air is how quickly it boots up – my 13-inch MacBook Air is up and running in approximately 20-30 seconds after hitting the power button. The Chromebook Pixel is even faster and it is possible to get online in less than 10 seconds. However, keep in mind that the Pixel is fast because there are no native apps or software slowing it down. Both laptops resume from standby almost instantly, so you never have to wait to resume what you were doing.
The MacBook Air pioneered the skinny and light laptop trend. Everyone who has upgraded from a regular laptop to the MacBook Air will agree that carrying the Air around is an unbelievable experience. You need to hold the Air, all 2.96 pounds of it, in your hands to get a feel for how light it is. The Pixel is slightly heavier weighing 3.35 pounds. Both laptops are incredibly thin and designed for portability.
The Pixel doesn’t compromise on performance. Both the Pixel and the Air are powered by dual-core Intel i5 1.8GHz processors. On my MacBook Air, the processor handles everything from Netflix, to YouTube to photo editing speedily.
The $1199 MacBook Air model comes equipped with 128GB solid state drive, while the $1299 Chromebook Pixel offers only offers 32GB solid state drive. The $1399 Air model comes with 256 GB SSD, while the $1449 Pixel offers 64 GB SSD. The more expensive LTE version does come with one terabyte of free storage on Google Drive for three years for those who rely on cloud-storage.
When it comes to battery life, the MacBook Air outdoes the Chromebook Pixel. My MacBook Air can last between 7-8 hours without a wire. The Pixel, on the other hand, lasts around 5 hours.
Bottom Line: As a primary laptop, the MacBook Air can’t be beat because it offers portability and all-round performance, which is complemented by its powerful operating system. While the Pixel comes close to the Air in terms of specs, its biggest drawback is the OS which does not let you download software. Ultimately, it is only useful for people who work and play only on the Web.