How would you like to pay $100,000 for a Lamborghini with beautiful gullwing doors and posh leather seats, knowing that you could only drive it around the parking lot at the local mall? Or would you prefer to spend $1,500 on a custom-tailored Burberry suit that you can only wear at White Castle?
Google’s Chromebook Pixel has a similarly ridiculous premise. For $1,299 you get high-end hardware like a 2560 x 1700-pixel touch screen, a Core i5 CPU and a sexy aluminum body, but all you can do is run the Chrome OS, which has a series of Web apps, only some of which work offline. At the same time, you can get high-end ultraportables like the MacBook Air or ThinkPad X1 Carbon for the same price or less, and a budget PC notebook for less than $500.
For $249, Samsung’s 11.6-inch Chromebook is such a great bargain that it justifies the trade-offs of running a browser-only OS. However, for more than $1,000, you should be able to run a versatile desktop operating system like Windows 8 or Mac OS X so you can use all of that Core i5 power in serious apps like Photoshop or Microsoft Office.