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My first post from a Chromebook Pixel. Biggest issue so far is that the display resolution is 1280x850, which feels cramped compared to my MacBook Retina, which runs 1440x900 by default and which I take up to 1680x1050.

-> Postscript: I have a 15" MacBook Pro Retina. The 13" would be less display resolution that the Chromebook Pixel has, a bit. So on display, they compare well. Then again, you can still take the 13" up to much higher display resolution. 

What, I hear you say -- you thought the Chromebook Pixel had more pixels than the MacBook Retina? Maybe if you're counting pixel resolution, which means a clearer, sharper image. But display resolution is what you can see, how much you can see, as my CNET article below explains.

It wouldn't be a problem if you could change the display resolution on the Chromebook Pixel. That way, you could sacrifice a tiny bit of screen quality for more room. But that doesn't appear to be an option. I can't find any setting for this anywhere (the MacBook Pro Retina does allow this).

That leads to my next big issue, how terrible using Gmail is. I'm an Outlook user. I like that Outlook lists what's in my inbox, gives me plenty of space for the preview pane and if I want to reply, it's one click to get a fresh new window for plenty of space to compose.

-> Postscript: Offline Gmail might solve these issues for me.

For me, trying to use Gmail on the Chromebook Pixel in the same way is a nightmare. You can't adjust your various panes. You get a fourth people pane by default, and if you turn that off, you still have the space taken up, just the people don't show. If you reply, it's a tiny space you work in. The alternative is that you can pop-open an email into its own window, but then you have to hit reply again. Without Outlook, reply opens a new reply window automatically.

Since a huge amount of my time is spent on email, this is a productivity downgrade. If I could change my display resolution, that would help. If I could better configure Gmail, that would help. If I can't do either, and that seems to be the case, then learning new habits might help. But alternatively, just staying on a MacBook Pro Retina could perhaps be the better option :)

The testing continues....
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35 comments
 
Why don't you use Outlook.com on your Chromebook then?
 
It took me a huge leap of faith to leave Outlook +Danny Sullivan. But when I moved to a complete browser OS in January, 2009, I never lost a file again and it changed how I thought about software forever.

I have had 3 major crashes in 14 years online, one due to a lightning strike. All 3 times I lost a hundred emails in my inbox due to Outlook. The rest was backed up, but now I hold email in the cloud, on my domain too, since those files are the ones I can't lose.
 
You could at least try to be objective. All I ever read is: I want to do it that way but it doesn't work with product X. Please try to imagine how your readers would use said product. Everything else is a waste of their time.
 
+Benson Leung I might, but my email routes through Gmail. I'd have to forward it over to Outlook, which I could -- but the lack of IMAP and some other issues make it a pain.
 
+Chris Lang When you run Outlook in combination with Gmail and IMAP, you've got the best of both worlds. I never worry about losing my inbox. I also have a really mature email client.
 
+Danny Sullivan So if I understand it correctly, your critique is with Gmail's webmail interface in particular because you almost never use it. Normal day to day, you use Outlook as an IMAP client, but in this case, you're forced to use gmail.com proper. You'd have the same complaint if you had to use gmail in any web browser.
 
+Daniel Rose I objectively think that a $1,300 computer should let you change your display resolution. I've been doing that on computers since Windows 3. I think there are plenty of people who would expect that should be an option.

But also, no, I'm not going to be "objective" when I talk about how I'm personally finding a computer. That's the point of reviews. If you read what I wrote, there's plenty of qualification of me saying this is how it's working for me, or what my preferences are. Obviously, others may have different experiences.

There's no "wrong" computer for anyone, that anyone else can say, nor is there a "right" one. What works for you works for you.
 
Whats the deal with the resolution? I thought the pixel's resolution was double that? At least, that's what the website says
 
+Danny Sullivan Right, but we're also talking about a laptop that runs everything in a browser. You can just decrease the size of each webpage if necessary.
Edit: In a way, this is about the old question: Should I make it a setting or just use a default that I think is best. Settings add complexity. Chrome OS is about less complexity. Dilbert sums it up: http://www.dilbert.com/2013-02-25/
 
+Ramsez Stamper What +Danny Sullivan is saying is that the Chromebook Pixel's display resolution is 1280 x 850, which is correct. Since the web isn't designed quite yet for high-dpi, the approach that this laptop takes, as well as the retina iPad, iPhone, etc, is that they report a display resolution of 1/4 of the actual screen resolution. Everything is then scaled up 2x in both x and y axes (things like jpgs are scaled, text and other vector based elements are drawn at higher clarity). What this also means is that the Chromebook Pixel is roughly equivalent to a Samsung Chromebook Series 5 in display resolution. The size of UI elements, button, the tabs in Chrome, will be roughly the same size as the Series 5's 1280 x 800.. The Pixel will just render text and higher resolution pictures, videos, and vector art at 4x that resolution.

What +Danny Sullivan is saying he wants is a slider like the Mac has that allows him to scale it to something other than 4x to give him more room to work. The Mac does this. It doesn't actually change the real screen resolution, but it changes the way things are scaled.

This is fundamentally a software feature that doesn't yet exist on Chrome OS. Right now we do 4x.
 
Thanks for the explanation, it seems to me then that the pixel isn't worth the cost yet then. To me the high resolution appealed to me as being more real estate one the screen, but that's done away with scaling
 
Without me Googling it, can you tell us the screen size (in inches) of the ChromeBook Pixel +Danny Sullivan?

Everybody I know has a 11 inch Mac lappy. I can't use one since my 49 year old eyes don't do well with text displayed on such a screen. Hence I still run 19 inch 10 year old monitors. And bifocals LOL.

I have the same problem with phones too. Gotta pull out my glasses to read the text.
 
+Danny Sullivan  Have you tried using the Gmail Offline app on Chrome? The UI is really good...at least better than Gmail. I normally use that since I have the same complain as you for the left pane. If you are not worried about chat or Google+ notification the offline app is a good alternative. Am not sure how it would look in Chromebook pixel though, you can give it a shot.
 
+Ramsez Stamper Look at any high resolution smartphone/tablet. It's the same deal. People appreciate a sharper picture. Without scaling, the Pixel wouldn't be usable.
 
If you live in Microsoft products then you might find a Microsoft Slate better fits your needs. Learning a new email client can be like learning to walk again. Give it time. My suggestion is that if you live at the keyboard that you take some time to explore the keyboard shortcuts in gmail. The real power of gmail is in the filters and labels. If you really want to get geeky you can employ some Google script to automat tasks for you.
 
+Ramsez Stamper The resolution that Chromebook gives (and Apple does the same) is for pixel resolution or density, how many pixels the screen has. Until fairly recently, that was the same as display resolution (how much you can see). Chromebook uses effectively two pixel to draw each display point you see, giving you a sharper image. But you don't see more. And for either the Chromebook or the Retina, exactly -- you might decide the price isn't worth the higher quality. Though, having used both, if you an afford it, do. But the MacBook lets you have the best of both worlds -- more display as well as better quality, thanks to that slider that +Benson Leung was mentioning. My article attached to this also explains it more.
 
+Danny Sullivan Actually, that's four pixels to draw each display point. Two in each dimension.

Just out of curiosity, your MacBook Pro is a 15" Retina, not the 13" Retina, right? The 13" Retina, to my knowledge, has an effective display resolution of 1280 x 800.
 
+Chris Lang It's a 13" screen -- but I had to Google it. And I totally get it about the eyes. That's why I like it when you can adjust the display resolution.
 
+Gaurang Dave Very good call! Just fired that up, much, much nicer situation. Ironically, I might be using offline Gmail to do online Gmail.
 
CTRL++ is my friend +Danny Sullivan, seems the default CSS text size on sites gets smaller every day as designers seem to think everyone has a widescreen monitor.

And yes, I agree, anytime any machine or site design says "My way or the highway" I tend to get upset fast.
 
+Benson Leung I do have a 15" -- so you're right, the 13" at 1280x800 would have a smaller display size. But one of the reasons I feel cramped is because of all the space that Gmail effectively wastes (in my view). For general browsing use, it's not an issue. But the offline Gmail is looking nice. But also, apparently you can go as high at 1440x900 on the 13". That's similar to what I do on my 13" MacBook Air. Even 1680x1050 is possible: http://www.theverge.com/2012/11/1/3585082/13-inch-macbook-pro-with-retina-display-review
 
Does the Chromebook have a feedback mechanism in place like G+ so you can be sure your complaints get back to the appropriate people at Google   I think you are influential enough that the word will filtering back anyway, but direct feedback might also help.  I have a feeling that as more people report how they use the Pixel, Google will roll out updates to make it better.
 
+Joe Morrison Yes, press Alt-Shift-i or go to the hot-dogs menu (the control menu) and click on Report an issue...

There are also Googlers who work on Chrome OS reading posts on Google+. I'm one of them. I don't make the decisions for the screen resolution, but I'm in agreement with +Danny Sullivan that it should be more flexible and I can see who I can talk to.
 
I want a higher resolution display because I want higher resolution DISPLAYED. This is very troubling and pretty much a non-starter for me.
As for gMail... If you just cannot live without off-line email then a browser based computer will not satisfy you.
 
+Danny Sullivan Thanks for the feedback. Note that the resolution setting in MacOS involves an extra scaling step that impacts performance and quality (which is why they discourage its use). We do have something similar in ChromeOS - the default browser zoom setting. Set it to 50% and you can get the full 2560x1700px (note "px" it the logical display unit on the web, which we map to 2x2 pixels by default). This setting doesn't affect the Chrome UI, and browser zoom isn't 100% transparent to websites, so it can cause some behaviour changes. For these reasons I agree we should add a scaling option. We've been taking the time to really do it right and support non-integer scale factors, but that's hard (so much of our code assumes co-ordinates are integers, so rounding issues are everywhere). Perhaps we should just add a scaling hack like MacOS, but there's debate over whether the benefit compared to browser zoom really justifies adding another confusing and expensive scaling mode.
 
So, if I'm looking at an HD photo that is above the native resolution, how is it displayed? At the native resolution? or at the lower resolution and then x4 ???
 
+Brian Covey Chrome is smart enough to never downscale then upscale. So as long as the server supplies all the image data, Pixel will display it.
 
Ok, that makes sense. thanks.
 
I thought the display was 2560 x 1700
 
I have a 11 inch Macbook Air - I used to have a 17 inch MBP... with the HiRes screen - this was before Retina display was around. When I traded in the 17-incher for the Air, I honestly don't recall even KNOWING what the resolution was on the Air. I just checked - 1366 x  768... And as I type this in, there is a whole lot of white space next to the right of this comment thread... and pretty much anything readable on the web - google search, newspaper articles, etc.... so I am happy to sacrifice the horizontal pixels for some extra vertical scrolling viewable space...
 
Really?  The offline Gmail app looks absolutely dreadful to me... Well, different strokes for different folks.

And, there's a chance I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that there are Gmail Labs to cover pretty much all of the issues you've mentioned.  You can also change the "display density" in the settings menu to free up a bit of space.

Transitioning from one e-mail service to another is always a pain...
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