Google Pixelbook Review: Our Verdict:
The Google Pixelbook is the chief Chromebook deserving of attention; alongside the most high-end Windows and Mac devices. From its premium design to its extensive software enhancements; this is the soundest Chromebook by far, bar none. Let’s dig deep into the details of its features and specs in our Google Pixelbook review.
Google Pixelbook Review: What We Like?
- Sublime design
- Full Android app support
- Awesome keyboard
- Excellent stylus support
Google Pixelbook Review: What We Don’t?
- Pen sold separately
- Poor audio performance
- No biometric login
Highlights Of Google Pixelbook Review
Before we move further towards the specs and other details, let’s have a brief look at the highlights of Google Pixelbook review.
- What is the Pixelbook? In short, it’s Google’s idea of what a laptop should be in 2017. It follows the Chromebook Pixel both in its stunning design and eye-watering price.
- It runs Chrome OS, but it isn’t just a fantasy, overpriced Chromebook. At least that is what Google wants you to believe. The company says that what people need is a device that’s the best of a laptop, tablet, and smartphone and that the Pixelbook is the solution.
- There are three designs, with the Core i5 / 8GB / 128GB version costing £999 in the UK. If that’s not satisfying for you; you can pay £200 to multiply the storage or an extra £700 for an i7 processor (a Y-series) 16GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD.
- The Google Pixelbook has a satin convertible design. Its sharp touchscreen is vivid and colourful. Performance is fast, lag-free and smooth. The dedicated Google Assistant button is useful.
- It’s pricey. The stylus is marketed separately. It has the very built-in constraints for other Chrome OS systems.
- The Pixelbook has high-end hardware and a comprehensive hybrid design, but it’s still difficult to justify paying so much for a Chrome OS laptop.
Google Pixelbook Review: Detailed
Chromebooks have a reputation for being cheap; both in cost and construction. However, a handful of premium models have always challenged that preconception; from Samsung Chromebook Pro ($507.99 at Amazon.com) and HP’s Chromebook 13 to Google’s own Chromebook Pixel standards. Recasting its flagship Chrome OS device as a two-in-one hybrid; Google is placing the new Pixelbook ($875.00 at Amazon.com) as the peak of the Chromebook food chain.
The fundamentally metal Pixelbook is an exceptional daily work device for those massively dependent on Google’s set of apps. Like most recent Chromebooks; it also has access to the Google Play store; implying it can download and utilize a wide range of apps; just like an Android phone or tablet. The laptop’s convenient convertible design; which can be propped up like a canopy; flipped over like a stand or wrapped back like a tablet; scores to the overall usability and efficiency.
Google Pixelbook Review: Key Specs:
Here is the Google Pixelbook configuration sent to us for Google Pixelbook review:
- CPU: 1.2GHz Intel Core i5-7Y57 (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 3.3GHz)
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615
- RAM: 8GB LPDDR3 (1,866MHz)
- Screen: 12.3-inch QHD (2,400 x 1,600, 235 ppi) LCD touchscreen (400 nits, 72% NTSC color, 3:2 aspect ratio)
- Storage: 256GB SSD (eMMC)
- Ports: 2x USB-C 3.1, headphone/mic jack
- Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi (2 x 2 MIMO), Bluetooth 4.2
- Cameras: 720p webcam (60fps)
- Weight: 2.4 pounds (1.1kg)
- Size: 11.4 x 8.7 x 0.4 inches (290.4 x 220.8 x 10.3mm; W x D x H)
Google Pixelbook Review: Design:
The Pixelbook is undoubtedly the beautiful outcome of years of effort on Google’s end in polishing a unified scheme across its hardware offerings. But, the Pixelbook could also be regarded as an advent of age for Google’s Chromebook design basis.
This is, without a suspicion; Google’s most beautiful and well-conceived computing machine by far. From the whisked aluminium frame with flush points to the rubberized palm rest and bottom; every design detail has reached style and matter in equal degree.
Of course, anyone who hasn’t purchased a laptop in the last several years might want some modification to get used to possessing just two USB-C 3.1 ports. But, at least it’s set for the future. Talking of which; the webcam is relatively ready for a frequently video-centric tomorrow; with a 720p resolution and 60 frames-per-second capture rate.
Wistfully, the likewise can’t be spoken for the audio performance. As it has become the increasing trend in the slimmest and lightest laptops; Google jammed the speakers underneath the keyboard, and the result is poorly tinny sound. Favorably, there’s a 3.5mm audio jack here that enables you to pin up the Pixelbook to outer speakers or a pair of headphones.
On the upside, the glass trackpad is a joy to use; tracking super smoothly and correctly both with single- and multi-touch movements. However, we noticed that the trackpad doesn’t like us relaxing our thumb on the trackpad to click; while tracking with our index finger – a frequent use case, but not this editor’s personal preference.
Furthermore, the Pixelbook keyboard is among the best we’ve ever experimented. The backlit keyboard’s keys are well-divided, and the 0.8mm travel is a joy with sufficient feedback. We also acknowledge the subtle; intensely gratifying clicking racket the keys make – it’s different from every laptop keyboard we’ve examined in Google Pixelbook review, and now we’re going to anticipate it everywhere.
The ‘Pixel’ in Google’s eponymous laptop gains its name when it arrives at the 3:2 Pixelbook display. At 235 pixels-per-inch (PPI) and precise colour reproduction; this display challenges some of the best around; Chromebook or not; such as the 267-PPI Surface Pro and 227-ppi MacBook Pro (13-inch).
The panel runs well for movies and photos; not to name photo editing. The 400 nits of brightness benefit hugely with this, but it’s, however, a glossy display and as such doesn’t hold up to focus sunlight all that well. At any pace, the screen is also distinctly accurate to the touch; particularly when underneath the Pixelbook Pen.
Google Pixelbook Review: Pixelbook Pen
Optionally, you can purchase the Pixelbook Pen; an active stylus that was finished with Wacom. It has a 10ms latency; 60 degrees of angular experience and 2000 levels of pressure sensitivity. And you’d assume all that for £99.
The Pen is powered by an AAAA battery and can be employed for transcribing notes, sketching or even to immediately choose an area on display to capture as a screenshot. If you’re performing presentations, you can turn it into laser pointer mode – it doesn’t have a laser – so your conference can see on the vast screen which area you’re pulling attention to.
The barrel is made from aluminium, and there’s a button which you can press before circling something on the screen.
Google Pixelbook Review: Google Assistant:
Google Assistant has its own dedicated key on the Pixelbook’s keyboard. It’s on the bottom left side corner, positioned in-between the ctrl and alt keys, and holding it launches Google Assistant.
After pressing the key, the Google Assistant window pops up on the bottom left-hand edge of the screen. You can then keyboard out what you’d like to search.
Google Assistant can analyze your screen as soon as it launches and offers successful search results based on what you are looking at, comparable to Android phones.
The feature can also be directed by saying “OK Google” out loud. It understands voice searches, but don’t expect the Pixelbook to replace a Google Home ($129.00 at Jet.com), because you can’t talk to it like a smart home speaker.
Google Pixelbook Review: Software
Credits to the point that Android apps now work on Chrome OS; the Pixelbook makes a lot more sense than it would have done.
Some big-name apps have been optimized for the huge screen, so you can connect Netflix and download episodes to see during your travels. Others incorporate Adobe Lightroom, Evernote, AutoCAD, and Snapchat.
Though, there are still a shed-load of the apps which will present as they would on a smartphone screen or sped to permeate the screen. This absence of tablet-specific apps is yet an issue for the Android tablets too, and it’s an enigma that Google has grappled with for years.
And when you start exercising those big-name apps you’ll see they don’t have the complete feature set of their ‘real’ desktop versions.
They do run well on the Google Pixelbook, thankfulness to its powerful hardware, but the fact we are even considering this isn’t enough: Android apps on Chrome OS have stayed in Beta for ages. While, over on the iPad Pro, implicitly all apps are tailored for the huge screen, and a lot can be employed in split-screen mode.
Another problem you’ll encounter when working with the Pixelbook is determining whether to utilize the Android or web version of an app. It may be that you’ll apply the web version in the laptop-mode and the Android variant in tablet-mode. But this isn’t hugely convenient, and you also have to decide which version to get notifications from.
Google Pixelbook Review: Performance
It still seems like a separated system. Not that Android apps are like second-class residents but that they’re not yet completely integrated.
Moreover, if you’re considering of supplanting an existing Windows PC or laptop, you won’t certainly find all the software you want in the app store so verify this first before you purchase and ensure your printer is compatible with the Chrome OS if you want to print stuff.
It’s also worth having in mind that not all the apps which operate with the stylus support Google’s Face Ink feature which decreases latency. There’s a notable exception when taking notes in Squid (which does support it) to a drawing app which doesn’t.
Given that the Google Assistant is built in, and it’s simple to interact with it on the Google Pixelbook. When the keyboard is folded away, you can say “OK Google” and ask it whatever you want.
Performance is great. Unlike some cheap Chromebooks, you can open as many browser tabs as you want without anything slowing to a crawl. Games work smoothly with little to no buffing, and even under load, the Pixelbook continues silently because there are no cooling fans. It becomes heated, but not hot to the touch.
Chrome OS is updated unevenly every six weeks, too, so you’ll get different features and security patches frequently without having to do anything but wait a few minutes for the updates to download and install.
Google Pixelbook Review: Battery Life:
As for how long lasting this Chromebook is, be ready for the shorter survival numbers than you’re habitual of seeing on even lower-powered Chromebooks. Google guarantees up to 10 hours on a single charging, a number that was relinquished based on “a mix of standby, web browsing and other use,” according to its product page for the Pixelbook.
In our battery test for Google Pixelbook review; which detects the device loop a locally-stored 1080p movie at 50% screen brightness and volume with the keyboard backlight and Bluetooth disabled, the Pixelbook endured for 7 hours and 40 minutes. That’s majestic in its own way, but the Samsung Chromebook Pro served 8 hours and 43 minutes on the same test; while the Asus Chromebook Flip lasted a whopping 10 hours and 46 minutes.
We chalk up the contrast to both devices running lower-power Intel Core m3 processors that consume battery life more slowly, as well as the Chromebook Flip’s lower-resolution display. Regardless, we expect the Pixelbook to last a bit longer on a charge during real-world use – plus, it outlasted the Surface Pro and 13-inch MacBook Pro by 50 minutes and over an hour, respectively. Not to mention that just 15 minutes hooked up to an outlet gets you up to 2 hours of use, thanks to USB-C fast charging.
Google Pixelbook Review: Our Take On:
While we have examined the Google Pixelbook here to competing premium Chromebooks for what should be clear reasons, we could have just as simply put it up against the Surface Pro or even MacBook Pro. That should deliver volumes as to how affected we are by the Pixelbook, and how considerably Google has taken the Chromebook platform since its conception.
More from Google Pixelbook review, it is the first Chromebook worthy of consideration alongside the most high-end Windows and Mac laptops and 2-in-1 devices. That singly should tell you everything you want to know about the Google Pixelbook: this is the best Chromebook to date, bar none.
That said, this is probably not the Chromebook you’re likely used to. If you were expecting an affordable laptop that the Chromebook name has become synonymous with, there are plenty of places to look elsewhere. If you want to get in on the ground level of what very well may be the future of Chromebooks in the premium space, look no further – you won’t be disappointed.