“I will do anything for love, but I won’t do that.” - Meatloaf
Yes, I have resorted to leading off with a Meatloaf quote. This not only cheapens the quality of this fine blog but also makes me hungry. But, before you complain too much or mumble to yourself about how lame that is, please note: there is a method to this madness. Mostly, it is to keep me from getting bored. Also, I’m secretly hinting to my wife that meatloaf might make a good dinner entrée. (Home by 7 honey!)
So, instead of writing a review, I’ve decided to list just some of the things the new Chromebook Pixel won’t do. But first, a little backstory. The Chromebook Pixel ($1299) is a marvel of engineering. It has a responsive high-res touchscreen (check), an elegant machined-aluminum chassis (check), a speedy processor (check), and Google (check).
Unless you’re a glutton for punishment (e.g., Windows 8), the Pixel is everything anyone would ever want in a touchscreen laptop and thensome. (It’s so awesome, I’ve invented the word thensome just for this post.) But it won’t do everything. And to prove it won’t do everything, I have decided to make up a few things it won’t do.
1. Pretend to be a hot plate
I’ve tried this one, believe me. The steps are fairly straightforward. You login with your Google password, then set the laptop on a hot driveway for about seven hours. My test results: Initially, I was getting some bubbling with eggs and my toast felt warm, then – nothing. I don’t mind some of the cracks, and I don’t think Google PR will either. (E-mail me if you can get yours to work like a hot plate, but I think the aluminum chassis might be designed only for warming up Pop Tarts and egg rolls.)
2. Run the original version of Doom
I have also tried this. It’s the first thing I did after the hot plate test. Now, for the naysayers out there (comments are disabled just for you!): I realize there are gaming portals that let you run Doom illegally in a browser. That’s like reading the new Al Gore book as a stolen PDF: boring and wrong. I’m talking about installing Doom from my original floppy disks. I’m not sure when I felt the most remorse: when I realized there wasn’t a floppy disk drive or when I realized no one knows what that is.
3. Perform surgery on a human
The Chromebook Pixel cannot perform surgery. While this is probably a good thing, you should know some of the limitations before you purchase one. You might be thinking: I have decided to buy a laptop that performs surgery. The Chromebook is not for you, seek medical help. Or maybe it’s a relief knowing this limbless Linux derivative (you did know Chrome is a derivative of Linux, right? I mean, right?) is not perfect. That should not be a barrier to entry. Not having a functioning appendix, that definitely is.
5. Telling you jokes and puns in a quirky robotic voice
I used to think this is important, back when I had a closer relationship with Apple Siri. We’ve grown distant latley. I now have a new artificial friend named Google Now. But does Google Now work on the Chromebook Pixel? Not really. (Post in comments if it actually does let you use Google Now. Wait, I forgot – comments are disabled!)
6. Stargazing on a clear night with someone you love
One of the delineating features of the original Android smartphones was that you could hold the little sucker up to the night sky and see star constellations. I mean, wonder of wonders! This feature alone made me question my iPhone purchasing habits. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be any way to do this with the Chromebook Pixel. You can use one to block the sun on your morning commute, though. I have already let Google know the whole Chromebook stargazing thing would be cool.
7. Solving world peace
The Chromebook will not solve world peace. I feel that’s a little less critical than the Photoshop problem I mentioned above.
8. Connecting pretty much anything by USB
Okay, harsh! But there’s this pesky problem that is worth mentioning to anyone who is confused: the Chromebook Pixel does not run Windows. I need to let that sink in a little. Wait for it. Okay – also, since the Chromebook does not run Windows, it does not run Windows drivers. So let’s say you own some amazing USB recording equipment and want to make an album. Or let’s say you have a fancy USB telephone system for your office. Or, anything USB-related. Good news: you can warm up your toast! (Disclaimer: Many printers, webcams, and toasters do work.)
9. Performing data-intensive experiments related to nuclear fission
Actually, it can do that.
10. Developing a complex Web site using Windows software
You remember that point I made about USB drivers? I know you’re still coming to grips with that. More bad news for you: a Chromebook Pixel cannot run complex Windows desktop programming software. Like, none. It does work perfectly fine for Joomla, WordPress development, most Java programming, some mild cooking, and recording cat videos.
That’s why God created Windows 8 laptops.
12. Chatting over Apple’s Facetime app
I know! I was surprised by this one, too. No Apple Facetime app at all. I repeat: Nada on Facetime. There’s a perfectly good webcam, too. If you try to do anything related to Facetime you just get a blank stare/screen. The webcam is only good for taking photos of kittens. Oh, and for stargazing in real-time once Google gets my message about that.
14. Microsoft Office, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote
Okay, like anyone really takes OneNote seriously. And, technically speaking, there are Google equivalents. Also, if you really need to use Word, you can use the Chrome Remote Desktop app and tap into a Windows computer. Or move on in life. Or dictate documents using Google Keep in 20-second intervals. Or write them by hand.
15. Time travel
I had high expectations for this one. I thought, hey – maybe the Chromebook Pixel does time travel? Or maybe it can tap into the multiverse? That would make up for the whole USB driver problem or the Photoshop issues I mentioned (twice). But the Chromebook Pixel does not do time travel or the multiverse quite yet. You can do experiments in nuclear fission, program complex Web sites, chat over pretty much everything except Facetime, warm your toast, and record a document by voice in 20-second intervals. Oh, and type up sardonic blog posts.