New display details about a Qualcomm-powered Chromebook that’s been circulating through the Chromium Gerrit under the codename ‘Cheza’ have been spotted in the repository. The device is currently thought to be little more than a reference platform for OEMs to follow if they want to release a Chromebook with a Snapdragon 845 under the hood. The new details themselves highlight exactly how high-end Qualcomm expects its displays to be by showcasing exactly which screen is being used for testing.
The display model number as listed in the repository points to an Innolux p120ZDG-BF1 panel. That’s a 12-inch IPS LED panel with a Pixelbook-like 3:2 screen ratio set at a similarly high-end resolution of 2160 x 1440. For color and contrast, the listing shows support for 16.7 million colors and a ratio of 1000:1, respectively. Wide viewing angles are touted as well as a maximum brightness of 450 nits.
How does Cheza stack up to the competition?
For a more direct comparison with some of the best Chromebooks around, the newly spotted panel's 450 nits of brightness is higher than the 421 nits found on the Google Pixelbook. Google’s newer Chrome OS gadget, the Pixel Slate, tops out at 337 nits, while Cheza has a full 47 nits of brightness over HP’s Chromebook x2. What that means is that if OEMs follow the reference device closely, Cheza should be noticeably brighter than most of the top available Chromebooks.
The resolution is a similar story, with the reference device falling just short of the Acer Chromebook Spin 13’s QHD 2256 x 1504 or the Pixelbook’s 2400 x 1600. Conversely, the Pixel Slate falls in with a resolution of 3000 x 2000, but the resolution stemming from Cheza -- at least in its reference design for testing -- will be more than serviceable and crisp.
Cheza's 3:2 display ratio also fits neatly among other Chromebooks as that becomes effectively a standard for high-end devices.
What we know so far mostly matches Qualcomm’s standards
In February of last year, Qualcomm’s statements on Chromebooks indicated that it would not even consider launching for the Chrome OS platform until some relatively high standards were met. Specifically, it pointed out that the devices still had too low of an average selling price, making development on the platform infeasible by its own standards.
Whether those statements were meant only in terms of how much profit the company could rake in or not, the Cheza reference device currently seems to mostly tick all of the right boxes. It's even been speculated to arrive in a completely detachable hardware format.
As noted already, a wave of premium devices in the $600+ range has launched since Qualcomm issued its statement and work on Cheza has picked up speed in response. Starting with premium features, the Cheza is currently expected to bring LTE-connectivity via the Snapdragon 845’s up-to-1.2Gbps Snapdragon X20 LTE.
The power efficiency of that chipset, coupled with its Adreno 630 GPU, could push the battery life of Chromebooks built on the platform forward significantly. Windows PC’s operating with the Snapdragon 845 SoC have seen as much as 20-hours of use between charges and Chrome OS is substantially lighter. That would add yet another premium aspect and keep pricing above the desired point.
The primary downside to the reference device, at least initially, appears to be on the performance front. Early benchmarks for the platform showcase scores that are comparatively dismal, even relative to mobile handsets using the same chipset.
Those problems will almost certainly be addressed and may already have been since being spotted last year. Manufacturers themselves may take optimization further to ensure great performance too and benchmarks aren’t the end-all of testing methods. So those early tests aren’t likely indicative of final gadgets. Regardless of which price bracket it happens to fall in, with the new information now available, Cheza is shaping up to be a real contender in the Chrome OS arena.