The Good The Google Pixelbook has a sleek convertible. Its sharp touch screen is bright and colorful. Productivity is fast, without delays and smooth. The Google Assistant custom button is useful.
The Bad It is expensive. The stylus is sold separately. It has the same built-in limitations as other Chrome OS systems.
The Bottom Line The Pixelbook has high quality hardware and great hybrid design, but it’s still hard to justify the cost of a Chrome OS laptop.
Chromebooks have a reputation for being cheap, both in cost and in construction. However, several premium models have always challenged this warning from Samsung Chromebook Pro ($ 595 on Amazon) and HP 13 Chromebook , for your own Google Chromebook Pixel models. By redesigning its flagship Chrome OS device as a two-in-one hybrid, Google is launching a new Pixelbook ($ 1539 at Walmart) as your top Chromebook power.
For the most part, the Metal Pixelbook is a great day-to-day machine for those who depend heavily on the Google suite of applications. Like most modern Chromebooks, it also has access to the Google Play Store, meaning it can download and use a wide variety of apps, like your Android phone or tablet. A useful convertible laptop design that can be raised as a tent, flipped as a stand, or folded back like a tablet adds to the overall convenience and usefulness.
The Pixelbook raises preliminary information for all Chromebooks and does it for the hefty price – literally. The laptop starts at $ 999 (£ 999), which is almost double that of the Samsung Chromebook, previously one of the most upscale Chromebooks around. We tested the $ 1,200 (£ 1,200) review test with a 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 256GB of memory and 8GB of RAM. In fairness, Google’s previous attempt to create a premium Chrome OS – the Chromebook Pixel ($ 449 on Amazon) , are even more expensive at startup.
There are no official prices or availability in Australia yet, but the price is around $ 1,275.
Google Assistant everywhere
Google Assistant has its own custom Pixelbook keyboard button. It is located in the lower left corner, located in the middle between the ctrl and alt keys, and Google Assistant is launched.
When you click the button, a Google Assistant window appears in the lower left corner of the screen. Then you can enter what you want to look for.
Google Assistant can analyze your screen as it launches and offer popular search results based on what you look like on Android phones.
The function can also be called by saying “OK Google”. He understands voice searches, but don’t expect Pixelbook to replace Google Home ($ 79 at Walmart) because you can’t talk to it like a smart home speaker.
Google Pixelbook Pen
The Google Pixelbook Pen is a stylus that works with Google Assistant. By design, it is closer to the Microsoft Surface Pen than the Apple Pencil, requires no charging, pairing or Bluetooth connectivity, and currently only works with the Pixelbook. Battery life should last about a year.
- 10ms of latency
- 60 degree angular awareness
- 2000+ levels of pressure sensitivity
- AAAA battery
Like the Pixelbook keyboard, the Pixelbook pens have their own Google Assistant button. It works by tapping it once and then using the stylus to circle the image or highlight text on the screen. Then Google Assistant searches for whatever you choose.
I found the image search function quick and convenient, though sometimes inconsistent. Text search needs some refinement. This was only useful when searching for a single word or very specific terms.
Otherwise, the Pixelbook pen was a convenient stylus for navigating the touch screen, as well as for taking notes, drawing and taking screens. Unfortunately, you can’t store a pen anywhere on your laptop. For people who often lose things like me, they may benefit from the extra cost of a clip for the pen. Unlike Samsung’s Chromebook Pro, there is a built-in stylus slot.
Chrome OS we’ve been waiting for
No longer is Chrome OS an unusual operating system that is virtually useless without Wi-Fi (though it is still limited in its offline capabilities compared to a Windows or MacOS computer). Chrome OS is still mostly centered around the Chrome Web browser, but now the Google Play Store is available with the latest version, which allows you to download, install and run millions of Android apps, like your Android phone or tablet.
You can dynamically change Android apps on Pixelbook, just like any normal window. They prefer the same size as the phone. Application windows move when using the Pixelbook as a laptop, but applications only work in full-screen mode when in tablet mode.
Most new Chromebooks can use Google Play apps. Performance, especially for gaming, depends on the ability to handle the device and graphics.
And if you think adding free Android apps to a previously very secure Chrome OS environment is a potential problem, you’re right. Fortunately, Android apps work in their own garden, separate from the main Chrome OS, so security issues are minimized.
Divine design combined with powerful performance
At just over 10mm and weighing just under two and a half kilograms, the Pixelbook is an impressive notebook that looks and feels well built. It’s fashionably slim, fanless and functionally portable. The minimal design ends with a cool glass panel on the back of the screen, reminiscent of Google Pixel phones.
Its convertible design is useful: I easily swiped from the keyboard to reply to an email before drafting it into a tablet so I could read the article easily. The screen responded quickly and flipped as you moved from one configuration to another.
The backlit keyboard, which has 0.8mm key movement, is quiet and easy to type. There are silicone pads on the keyboard deck that are comfortable for resting your wrists and palms. It also provides the device with some grip when used as a tablet or propped up as a stand.
In addition to the aforementioned Google Assistant key, there are a few more buttons on the keyboard that you won’t find on other laptops. Instead of the lock key on the left, it has a search key to search for your device or Google. Also in the upper right corner of the keyboard is a button that looks like three short lines that are facing each other. It launches a system menu that displays information such as Wi-Fi connectivity and volume.
The Google Pixelbook does what you expect a high-end laptop to do. It’s lightweight, light and smooth. Even with several apps open at the same time and more than a dozen tabs open, including HD video streaming, the Pixelbook has advanced as if nothing is happening.
- 7th Generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor
- 8GB or 16GB of RAM
- 128 GB SSD, 256 GB SSD, or 512 GB NVMe
- Two fast-charging USB-C ports
- Headphone jack
- 720p Front Camera
- Four microphones
- Two speakers
- Bluetooth 4.2
The entry-level model has 128GB of storage, much larger than 16GB or 32GB of storage, typically on a Chromebook. Increasing space allows users to save their files on a laptop, giving them plenty of space to download Netflix applications and videos for offline viewing.
The Pixelbook has a rectangular shape that is quite expressive, thanks to a 3: 2 aspect ratio. The screen is very bright and has wide viewing angles. I could clearly see it on the street on a sunny day, despite the inevitable glare.
- 12.3-inch LCD touch screen
- 2400 x 1600 pixel resolution
The laptop worked well for watching TV and movies, but I found the speakers slightly reduced. I preferred to connect to my Bluetooth speaker or headset to the Pixelbook.
Google claims that the Pixelbook can last 10 hours for a single full charge. When used extensively (working on Google Doc, broadcasting videos, launching multiple applications), the laptop lasted me about 6 hours. In our current video tests, this took 9 hours.
Google Pixelbook is pretty and powerful for a Chromebook
Chromebook crop cream
Not all Chromebooks need to be simple and cheap. They can also be powerful and chic, and Pixelbook is a leading example.
If your computer is rotated with a browser, Google Pixelbook is a great workbook or school notebook. It’s also good for personal combat such as movie watching and thumbnails. However, it is difficult to justify the Pixelbook price when there are cheaper, capable Chromebooks. Example, Samsung’s Chromebook Pro has a high-resolution screen, a stylus, a 360-degree hinge and access to Android apps, for about half the price. And while the Google Play Store continues to grow, support for Android apps on large-screen devices is still lacking.
And if you’re comfortable spending so much on a new laptop, high-end examples like the Dell XPS 13 or HP Specter ($ 600 on Amazon) you can set about the same price for similar features, as well as access to an endless world of Windows applications, including applications such as Photoshop or Premiere that require Windows or MacOS to run.
The Google Pixelbook helps high-performance Chromebooks, but its power and beauty are at a price that requires a leap of faith in Chrome OS.