Home / Chromebook Reviews / Pixelbook Go review: Google’s cheap laptop is too expensive (Update: Two weeks later)

Pixelbook Go review: Google’s cheap laptop is too expensive (Update: Two weeks later)

Article Contents

  • 1 Specs
  • 2 The Good
  • 3 The Not So Good
  • 4 Design and {hardware}
  • 5 Keyboard and trackpad
  • 6 Audio system and show
  • 7 Efficiency and battery life
  • 8 Do you have to purchase it?

    • 8.1 Purchase if:
    • 8.2 Don’t purchase if:
  • 9 The place to purchase:

In 2013, Google launched the Chromebook Pixel, a stupendous, bizarre, unabashedly high-end system meant to indicate different producers what Chrome OS may do with extra energy than it wanted. Google nerds had been into it, nevertheless it did not have a lot affect on the larger Chrome panorama. Following a 2015 {hardware} refresh and 2017’s equally expensive convertible Pixelbook, Google tried and didn’t catch extra mainstream consideration with final 12 months’s Pixel Slate, an overpriced, badly-optimized two-in-one that offered so poorly the corporate truly gave up on making tablets. This 12 months, Google is taking a distinct tack in making an attempt to promote to regular individuals with the Pixelbook Go, a daily ol’ Chrome OS laptop computer with common ol’ specs, beginning at $650. It is a very Google product, and I form of adore it — however for the worth, there’s nonetheless not a lot motive for most people to care.

Specs

CPU Eighth-gen Intel Core m3, i5, i7
RAM Eight GB (m3/i5); 16 GB (i7)
Show 13.3″ LCD touchscreen; 1920 x 1080 (m3, i5); 3840 x 2160 “Molecular Show” (i7)
Storage 64 GB (m3); 128 GB (i5); 256 GB (i7)
Ports 2 x USB-C, 1 x 3.5 mm headphone jack
Battery 47 Wh (m3, i5); 56 Wh (i7) — “As much as 12 hours of use”

The Good

Keyboard The best possible keyboard in a Chromebook, interval.
Efficiency The Core i5 and eight GB RAM in my evaluate unit make for clean crusing.
Audio system Loud, full, bassy. Positioned for good stereo separation.
Weight Gentle sufficient to neglect you are carrying it.

The Not So Good

Show Positively not dangerous, however a marked downgrade from the Pixelbook and Pixel Slate.
Value Beginning at $649, the Pixelbook Go is not very aggressive with similarly-equipped Chromebooks.

Design and {hardware}

Google Senior Product Supervisor of {Hardware} Ben Janofsky says the Pixelbook Go’s extra conventional type issue was chosen with a watch to affordability and longevity: 360-degree hinges and removable keyboards add price and scale back inside house that would in any other case be crammed with battery. The Go is not right here to switch the unique Pixelbook or the Pixel Slate, he says; it is its personal factor, meant to coexist with Google’s different Chrome choices.

The Pixelbook Go’s design language is peak Google.

Extra so than with these different Chrome gadgets, the Pixelbook Go bears a powerful familial resemblance to merchandise like the brand new Nest Wifi and final 12 months’s Chromecast. Like these, the laptop computer comes throughout as playful and unassuming to a level that borders on toylike. Its design language is peak Google, with rounded corners, a soft-touch end, and a needlessly enjoyable corrugated underside. The entire aesthetic is straddling the road of being a contact too Googley for my style, however the design selections aren’t impractical: the graceful edges are snug to carry and assist the laptop computer slip into luggage, and its painted exterior repels fingerprints admirably — a process the Pixel Slate’s anodized aluminum chassis wasn’t fairly as much as.

Talking of aluminum, you will not discover any right here. As an alternative, that matte paint job is utilized over magnesium. Magnesium is a very mild metallic, which is a part of why the Pixelbook Go suggestions the scales at a surprisingly ethereal 2.Three kilos (or 2.4, should you spring for the 4K mannequin with a bigger battery). That is about the identical as the primary Pixelbook, regardless of the Go being a barely chunkier system. This wasn’t by chance: Google says the laptop computer was expressly designed to be light-weight — therefore its identify. I admire how negligible its heft is in a backpack, however the mixture of the Go’s insubstantial mass with the paint that obscures the texture of its metallic physique lends to the impression that the ultimate product is not fairly as premium because it should be given its value. The Pixel 2 had a really comparable vibe, and simply as I used to be with that system, I am involved about how the Go’s end will age.


Very Googley.

There is a USB-C port on both sides for charging, information, and audio and video output, and a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack on the left edge (hooray!). That is it, so far as ports go — there is not any legacy USB and no micro SD card slot. Then once more, I did not actually anticipate there to be.

Zooming out, although, the Pixelbook Go is mostly a pleasure to deal with and work together with. It is mild sufficient to hold round all day, and its strains and end are pleasing to the contact. The hinge is fantastically engineered, too, with simply the correct quantity of resistance to permit for single-finger opening — a seemingly inconsequential element I at all times miss in convertibles just like the 2017 Pixelbook.

Keyboard and trackpad

Guys, let me let you know about this keyboard. It’s, with out query, the finest laptop computer keyboard I’ve ever used. It is simply… *chef hand-kissing gesture.*


🙌

Not like a number of my friends, I used to be by no means significantly enamored with the primary Pixelbook’s keyboard; it felt just a bit too shallow, and it usually didn’t register my keystrokes, particularly on the spacebar. The Pixelbook Go’s, however, does not have both of those points — or, from what I can inform, any points in any respect. It is backlit and full-size, with extraordinarily responsive keys which have simply the correct quantity of journey and resistance, and a satisfying bounce on the way in which up. They’re additionally tremendous quiet — Google calls them Hush Keys(™). I am unable to consider a single factor I would change.

With out query, the finest laptop computer keyboard I’ve ever used.

The trackpad {hardware}, by comparability, does not hit the identical transcendent highs, nevertheless it’s nonetheless superb. It is etched glass, and it is bought a nice texture that gives a snug degree of drag. Its click on is agency and satisfying, too. Chrome OS continues to have an annoying quirk with tap-to-click, although. With faucet dragging — the place you double-tap the trackpad and maintain, then slide your finger to tug an merchandise throughout the display — switched on, tapping to click on has a irritating delay between when your finger hits the pad and when the software program registers a click on. It makes the entire system really feel sluggish. Toggling faucet dragging off within the settings fixes it, however you should not have to decide on the usability of 1 function over one other.

Audio system and show

Final 12 months’s Pixel Slate set a excessive bar for on-board audio prowess, and I am happy to say the Pixelbook Go clears it. The audio system nestled on both aspect of the keyboard are loud and clear, and there is extra bassy oomph than a physique so slim has any enterprise mustering. With the amount cranked, I can truly really feel the vibrations in my desk. The sound will not fill your front room, nevertheless it’s about the most effective you possibly can hope for out of an ultra-portable laptop computer, and you will not really feel such as you want headphones for informal listening.


The show is tremendous reflective — and never simple to catch a flattering photograph of.

Google noticed match to stay a 1080p show in most Pixelbook Go fashions. Janofsky says this, just like the Go’s type issue, is about price and battery life — higher-resolution panels are dearer and extra energy intensive. Certainly, the forthcoming 4K model is spendy within the excessive at $1,400, due partly to each the higher-rent display itself and to the battery required to maintain it operating — the cell is about 19 % bigger.

From regular viewing distance, the decision is completely serviceable.

Usually talking, although, the 1080p panel is not dangerous in any respect. It is nonetheless a touchscreen, and it is bought vibrant colours and good viewing angles. Brightness tops out at 400 nits, which is an identical to the unique Pixelbook’s output and high quality for indoor use. It is not nice exterior, although — it could actually’t compete with even the softest sunshine, and it is tremendous reflective.

From regular viewing distance, the decision is completely serviceable; the one time I actually miss the older fashions’ higher-res shows is in multitasking. On the Pixelbook or Slate, even in tiny app previews, textual content is legible. The downgrade makes some duties — glancing at Slack, for instance — an ever so barely larger trouble. The Go’s display can be 16:9, a primary for the Pixelbook household. That wider side ratio fits me simply high quality, actually; it makes it simpler to make use of two apps directly, and I can match extra tabs on display at any given time than I can on the Go’s older siblings’ squarish shows.

Nonetheless, for as respectable because the show is total, and even in a tool that begins at $350 cheaper than the primary Pixelbook, it is onerous to not be disenchanted that the one possibility obtainable at something resembling an affordable value level is such a step again from Google’s older Chromebooks. I might’ve no less than favored to see 1440p shows within the mid-range trim ranges — at $850 and particularly $999, 1080p feels stingy. There’s additionally no Pixelbook Pen help; given the shape issue, that is smart, however loads of returning prospects might be left with an costly, ineffective peripheral.

Efficiency and battery life

On the mid-range mannequin I have been utilizing, efficiency is the whole lot you possibly can hope for in a Chromebook. I by no means really feel like I am ready on something, and even with a number of Android apps and extra Chrome tabs than I can feasibly take note of at one time open, the whole lot stays snappy. That is thanks extra to the inclusion of eight gigs of RAM than the Core i5 processor discovered within the $850 and $999 SKUs. The entry-level trim has the identical quantity of reminiscence paired with a Core m3, and that’ll completely fulfill most individuals’s Chrome OS wants. There’s little or no motive to splurge on any upgrades right here.

The poor Bluetooth high quality that plagued prior Pixel Chrome gadgets has lastly been addressed; no extra laggy, uneven audio with wi-fi earbuds. Different peripherals I examined — a mouse, a keyboard, and a gamepad — all carried out the way in which they need to, too. Bluetooth connectivity is outright embarrassing in Google’s older Pixelbook fashions, and it is nice that it lastly simply works within the Pixelbook Go.


That wavy texture is molded into plastic. It does not do a lot, nevertheless it’s neat trying.

Google pegs the Go’s battery life at “as much as 12 hours;” as you may anticipate, that is a bit rosy. Actual-world, I am seeing nearer to 9 or 10 hours with blended use — medium-high display brightness, some music, a pair movies, and loads of open tabs. It is not unbelievable that you just may get 12 hours of deliberately conservative use, however even 10 is nice for extra work than I would care to do in a single day, and it is fairly spectacular in such a slim bundle.

Do you have to purchase it?

Pixelbook Go


8/10

Sure, if the shape issue speaks to you and you are not nervous about getting the most effective cut price. Though the Pixelbook Go is positioned as Google’s entry-level Chrome OS {hardware}, there are different Chromebooks that provide comparable specs for much less cash, and even the Go itself will definitely see sale costs by the vacations. It is also vital to notice that the unique Pixelbook and Pixel Slate are nonetheless obtainable, usually at a reduction, and the Go is not essentially an improve over both. In case you’ve already bought a type of, this most likely is not for you.

However there’s so much to like concerning the Pixelbook Go: its immaculate keyboard, its svelte construct, its surprisingly sturdy audio system. On prime of all that, Google has turn into one thing of a tech designer model lately, and like its forebears, the Go appears to have been made for individuals who prize the corporate’s signature model over sheer practicality. If that is your jam, go for it — simply do not spend greater than it’s a must to.

Purchase if:

  • You just like the aesthetic and you do not care about convertibles.
  • A snug keyboard is your prime precedence.

Don’t purchase if:

  • You are on a price range. There are different Chromebooks that’ll carry out the identical duties simply as properly for much less cash.
  • You have already got a Pixelbook or Pixel Slate. The Go’s enhancements aren’t definitely worth the improve, and it truly has a worse display (except you need to drop $1,400).

The place to purchase:


Replace 1: 2019/11/08 6:45am PST by Taylor Kerns

Two weeks later

I’ve continued utilizing the Pixelbook Go as my main pc since this evaluate was printed, and I’ve solely grown fonder of it.

Chrome OS 78 has landed, and as Google promised, the bug that prevented the Pixelbook Go from precisely reporting its remaining battery life has been totally squashed. It wasn’t the largest subject to start with — the Go’s battery is borderline unimaginable to kill in a single sitting. Nonetheless, it was a grating little flaw, and never the kind of factor you must should put up with in a reasonably to very costly piece of {hardware}.

Efficiency has continued to impress; on this i5-equipped mannequin, I’m but to be inconvenienced by any deficiency in horsepower. A variety of Android apps don’t work significantly properly — Snapseed, for instance, is a complete mess. That’s extra Chrome OS’s fault than the Pixelbook Go’s, however you’ll be able to’t use every other working system right here, and it’s a drag.

I nonetheless suppose the {hardware} is nice, although. The audio system are superior and the keyboard is completely snug for hours of each day typing. And I nonetheless don’t thoughts the display a lot; coming from every other 1080p show, you received’t be disenchanted. Simply don’t anticipate to be wowed.

I’m an absolute sucker for thoughtfully-designed issues, and I’ve actually come to understand the Go’s appear and feel extra over time. It’s simply so nice to carry, and its trendy look makes it one thing I’m not itching to tuck away as quickly as I’m completed with it the way in which I’m with so many different Chromebooks (I’m form of a neat freak). Its painted end has been simple to maintain clear, and though it’s nonetheless trying like new after a couple of weeks, I proceed to fret about the way it’ll fare over a 12 months or extra of much less cautious use.

On the entire, my opinion hasn’t modified: the Pixelbook Go is a superb Chrome laptop computer that’s priced too excessive to be a sensible selection for many patrons. In case you can snag the Core m3 mannequin for $550 in a vacation sale, you’ll be getting a very reasonable deal — I simply want that was the traditional value.

About Taylor Kerns

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