Display

When the original Chromebook Pixel launched two years ago, its big selling point and the source of its name was its 239ppi 2560x1700 display. At that time, the only other laptops on the market with HiDPI displays were Apple's Retina MacBook Pros. Chromebooks have typically aimed for the low-cost segment of the laptop market, and so it was quite a surprise that one of the earliest HiDPI laptops was a Chromebook. Although the Pixel had the highest pixel density of any laptop display at the time, it fell somewhat short when it came to color reproduction due to its narrow color gamut and lack of calibration. With the new Chromebook Pixel, Google has advertised coverage of the sRGB color gamut, along with a maximum brightness of 400nits.

To see whether or not Google has hit their mark, we turn to our standard display testing workflow. As usual, all measurements are performed using SpectraCal's CalMAN 5 software along with X-Rite's i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer, with the exception of black level measurements which are performed with an i1Display Pro colorimeter.

Display Brightness - White Level

Display Brightness - Black Level

Display Contrast Ratio

CalMAN - White Point Average

Due to the evolution of our display workflow as time has gone on, I don't have results to compare the new Pixel to the original for certain categories. The result for maximum brightness is certainly in line with Google's advertised 400nit brightness, while the black levels and contrast ratio are what you would expect of IPS panels. The white point is noticeably more blue than the ideal D6504 target, which contrasts with the original Pixel which was very slightly too red. The blue/green tint in white and shades of grey is also more obvious than most other devices with similar average white points, which I elaborate on further below.

CalMAN - Grayscale Average dE 2000

CalMAN - Gretag Macbeth Average dE 2000

CalMAN - Saturations Average dE 2000

CalMAN - Gamut Average dE 2000

The new Pixel improves significantly upon the original in the gamut and saturation tests. It has a much wider gamut than the original, although it misses in magenta and yellow. Saturation improvements follow the improved gamut, as colors of 80% and 100% saturation no longer look identical. Despite these improvements, there hasn't been much progress on greyscale and color mixture accuracy. As noted earlier, the Pixel has a fairly obvious green/blue tint to the lighter shades of grey and white. As you can see in the gallery below, this is due to the reduction in red and increase in blue components of luminance as the shades of grey move from black to white.

I don't expect that many Chromebook users will be doing heavy photo and video editing that requires a perfectly calibrated display. Many $999 laptops ship with displays that are much worse than the one on the new Pixel, and I think that most users will be very happy with the Pixel's display. It's just a shame that Google doesn't seem to have put the same amount of care into display calibration with the Pixel as they have with the Nexus 9 and other Google branded devices, despite it having the highest price point of the devices they sell.

Introduction CPU and WiFi Performance
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  • peterfares - Monday, March 16, 2015 - link

    What Microsoft needs to do with the Surface is release another, larger keyboard for it that has a laptop-style hinge. Reply
  • chlamchowder - Monday, March 16, 2015 - link

    It's called 'Surface' for a reason. A larger, hinged keyboard would kind of defeat the design concept.

    Also, Galaxy S6 running Windows 10....someone needs to port Prime95 to ARM. I want to know if it has overheating problems.
    Reply
  • fokka - Monday, March 16, 2015 - link

    it would still be detatchable and nobody would be forced to buy it, but to me a proper keyboard-base would make the surface much more buyable, than having to deal with that flimsy type cover and that awkward kickstand, which is simply a lesser workaround to a normal screen hinge. Reply
  • retrospooty - Monday, March 16, 2015 - link

    "32GB on a laptop this expensive is just..................offensive"

    - Any Chromebook this expensive is just..................offensive".
    Reply
  • fokka - Monday, March 16, 2015 - link

    a surface laptop you say? you've got my attention! Reply
  • edhburns - Monday, March 16, 2015 - link

    Every review of the Pixel gets the exact same comments. It's like the same people just follow reviews of this device for the express purpose of saying that it is not an option for them. Spoiler! This device is not for you. And I don't say that like the Apple people do. The Pixel is a limited production device that is produced primarily for Google Chrome OS developers. Everyone knows that this is too expensive for the average consumer. Even Google knows this. Very few of these devices will ever be made and the vast majority (~80%) will end up in the hands of Google employees. Reply
  • Flunk - Monday, March 16, 2015 - link

    There are very few people who it is an option for. You need to both own a real computer in addition to this and want to fork out $999 for another, toy computer. Reply
  • edhburns - Monday, March 16, 2015 - link

    As I said in my comment, this is not for normal people. It is for developers who work for Google or the very small subsection of a subsection of linux users who want a very well built laptop to run a linux build and don't mind the small storage cap. Reply
  • melgross - Monday, March 16, 2015 - link

    Bah! This is not for developers.

    This is to establish Chrome as a high end computing OS, something that no one yet believes (for good reason). Like it or not, for something to succeed and be profitable, there needs to be a more expensive device out there. Keeping Chrome at the $/50 and below level isn't goi g to do that. It's just another race to the bottom, and that's how people will look at it; something to buy if you don't want to buy a slightly more expensive Windows device, or an even more expensive OS X device.

    So people will look at these (Google hopes), and think of them as genuine competition to Windows and OS X, which it's really not.
    Reply
  • Hanoveur - Monday, March 16, 2015 - link

    Then you have people who don't use Chrome OS who think they know everything about Chrome OS. This was a machine given to people at the Google's developers conference. They made them available for sale on their web site. Do you see any keynotes or major ad campaigns trying to sell these? Would you have known about it if it wasn't for this review or other reviews on the web? I think the tech journalists are making more of a deal about this machine than Google is.

    BAH! lol.

    BTW: I'm writing this on a Chromebook. I don't need an entire Windows installation to cruise the internet. That's like buying an entire car just because you needed a spare tire. If I need access to a PC, I just RDP to my machine upstairs. That's very rare though.
    Reply

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