In the past couple months, we’ve been a bit overwhelmed with new Chromebook models left and right. From HP, Dell, Google, Lenovo, and Acer, the new mid-to-high-end Chromebooks have been great and we’ve really enjoyed working through reviews for each.
As excited as we’ve been by all these devices, there is a new frontier we’ve been waiting a long time for and it seems the beginning may nearer than we already thought.
If you recall, just a week before the announcement of the Google Pixel Slate, GeekBench scores began cropping up left and right. Those scores gave us a head-up on the models we eventually ended up seeing a week later at Google’s hardware event.
‘Cheza’ – the reference Snapdragon 845 Chromebook – is a bit of a different beast. As we were tracking ‘Nocturne’ (the Pixel Slate), we knew that it was a board meant for a single device. We knew it would be Google’s next flagship Chromebook.
With ‘Cheza’, we are quite certain we’re looking at a reference device that will spawn many future Chrome OS devices, so we aren’t really sure exactly what form we hope to see ‘Cheza’ show up as. From a very credible source, we are certain ‘Cheza’ physically exists and we are very hopeful that we’ll see it at CES 2019, but we can’t be certain.
All that being said, we are now seeing someone, somewhere, is beginning to run benchmarks on the device. On November 30th, it appears two benchmarks were run on a device called Google Cheza.
While we could infer that this means an imminent release is happening as we saw with the Pixel Slate, I don’t see that as the case here at all. Again, ‘Cheza’ is a much different baseboard than most. There are many baseboards we never see in the wild and we never expect to. With Qualcomm, however, we do hope to see ‘Cheza’ at CES as a display of what we can expect to see down the road with Chrome OS devices based on this chipset.
Let’s Talk About That Score
Now, we need to chat about that score up there. As many of you undoubtedly have already figured out, those scores are simply terrible. For reference, the Pixel 3 XL with the same chipset gets a single-core score of 2400 and a multi-core score of 8800.
Do I think that ‘Cheza’ is 4-times slower? No. We can only assume at this point that the software still needs some work. With Chromebooks not being just Android devices, there are quite a few bits that can get in the way of a general benchmark running as it should. Remember, Android is simply a container inside Chrome OS, so if everything isn’t finalized on a device from a software perspective, you can expect very poor synthetic benchmark scores.
Even for Chrome OS and it’s dedicated hardware, there are multiple stages of development that have to happen before a device gets released to consumers. The Acer Spin 13 was basically unusable in New York back in May when we got our hands on the hardware. Just because hardware is finalized, it doesn’t mean everything is finalized from the software side.
But, just like with the Acer example, I’d wager that Qualcomm has enough kinks worked out to show us something at CES next month as a prototype. We’ll be on the ground there and making a B-line to the Qualcomm booth in hopes of landing some hands-on time with ‘Cheza’ if it does make an appearance.
The Snapdragon 845 should, in theory, be a massive boon for Chromebooks, bringing great performance, insane battery life, and simplified LTE connectivity to a platform that is truly set to take advantage of it all.