"If Google really is serious about making its own hardware, a $700 riff on the Pixel would be a fascinating product. It would instantly be the best computer to buy for anyone who doesn't really want to screw around with tech."
Funnily enough, I read this story on the very computer the author wishes for. The Dell Chromebook 13.
I've been buying my mum Chromebooks for years now, albeit down the cheap end of the spectrum, and for a while now I've been mainly a Chromebook user myself. The Acer C720, for example, was a great device for the price, and it's great now that I'm old enough that I don't even want to have to deal with my own
tech problems, let alone my parents'.
But despite their other virtues, the cheap Chromebooks always did feel cheap. And honestly, I never liked the Chromebook Pixel either. It's surprisingly heavy, and although it looks like it's made of expensive materials, it looks like no design took place at all --- it's just a cuboid. Which is another kind of cheap. (Plus it's a visual reminder of how heavy the thing is.) Oh, and it costs $1k for the base model, which I think of as an upper bound for a laptop.
But Dell's Chromebook 13 looks great. I started seeing it at work. One woman from the ChromeOS team in particular always had one in meetings. After the fourth time that I caught myself thinking "nice laptop; what is that?" before realizing it was a Chromebook I decided maybe it was time to retire the C720...
The Dell Chromebook 13 it's a lot cheaper than the Pixel. I won't mention any specific price because probably the worst thing about Dell is that everyone pays a different price; there are always offers and coupons and if you work for a large enough corporation you can probably get a discount from them. The next worst thing about Dell is that they always offer too many options. There's actually a wide range of machines they'll sell you called "Dell Chromebook 13", and they all have different prices. But mine was about $600, has (iirc) an i3, 4GiB of RAM, and a touch screen.
I wish it was a bit lighter, and I wish it had one of those fancy new Dell screens that goes right to the edge (like the current XPS13), but it's still by far the best Chromebook I've ever used (including the Pixel), and even people who aren't existing Chromebook fans have said "that's nicer than my laptop".
I paid a bit extra for the touchscreen mainly on a whim, but I've found it surprisingly useful. Despite the fact that "desktop" sites really aren't designed for touchscreen use and this screen has a high enough resolution to make some of the targets pretty small.
I worried a little about getting the 4GiB model rather than the 8GiB one, especially because the processor is "only" an i3 rather than the i5 or i7 in the Pixel, but this is the first Chromebook I've owned where I never worry about performance. It's significantly faster than my work laptop and even my work desktop --- though to be fair the latter tends to have 32 clang processes rebuilding AOSP any time I'm surfing the web on it :-)
Anyway, yeah, the Dell Chromebook 13 might not be a cheap as the average Chromebook, but if a "$700 Pixel" sounds interesting, you should definitely check it out.http://www.theverge.com/2016/2/1/10884918/i-bought-my-mom-a-chromebook-pixel-the-divergence