The Pixelbook was a great laptop. Google followed with the 2-in-1 Pixel Slate tablet, which was an increasingly risky task.
Is the New Pixelbook Go identical? Not so much. It’s a small, simple computer that doesn’t push Chrome OS to do anything that it can’t already.
Yet, the best thing is you buy this $649 Chromebook.
The Pixelbook original was cool. The unique aluminum and glass mix, which was accentuated by the two-tone color schema, wasn’t like so many laptops in MacBook these days.
I can’t say same about the Pixelbook. It has a flat design with very little decoration. The lid closely looks like the Pixel Slate last year with its strong color and Google’s subtle logo at the corner. Even the shape factor is much more conventional. It is fitted with a 13.3-inch standard screen in pure palette. The hinge doesn’t rotate all around while it has a touch screen. The Pixelbook Pen cannot be used with new Pixelbook Go.
Although the design is much less adventurous than the original Pixelbook, the Go is refined version. It is entirely made out of a few pieces of magnesium, all with a minimum number of panels. The thickness is only 0.5 inches and weighs 2.3 pounds, yet there’s no sign that you’re bending, cracking despite its portability. For most laptops starting at $649, that is not something usual.
A ribbed model along the bottom is the most interesting design feature. I like more than I thought that I’d like the ridged look. This is a smart way to easily transport the laptop while adding a unique look. This is always valued.
I’ve got two beefs with Go’s design Pixelbook. The first one is evident and includes my pet peeves: big bezels on display. The webcam and Google Assistant mics are thick, above all at the top. The Go look is outdated; there are huge bezels. This problem has been remedied by alternatives such as the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 and Samsung Chromebook 4+.
Then there are two colors available; “Not Pink” and “Just Black”. Both are appealing, but polar opposites. The model “Just Black” looks too formal, and the model “Not Pink” looks too loud. It would have been better for more variety.
Some may be deceived at the selection of the limited port. But two USB-C ports are sufficient for a laptop like this.
It’s got your eyes
The downfall of cheap laptops is often due to screens. This is not true for the Go Pixelbook.
It has a bright 1080p display. This is exactly what I want to see on a laptop that is affordably premium. The color is warmer than a Surface Pro or MacBook. But it’s nice to look at videos, web browsing, and all the other things that you can do on a Chromebook.
It is a step down from the Pixelbook at 1,920x 1,080. There’s a 16:9 aspect ratio now, too. I’d prefer 3:2 or 16:10 though. But Google wanted to keep the aspect ratio familiar. On the way is a model of 4K “Molecular Display.” When they’re actually going to launch it? No idea yet!
The surface to type is a “Hush Keys” called by Google due to short-travel keyboard. It feels more comfortable than typing on Dell XPS 132-in-1 or MacBook Pro. “Actuation” is softer and much quieter. It’s one of the quieter laptop keys I’ve typed into, actually.
Touchpad glass is responsive and smooth. This, in this price range is a big win for a laptop. And the display is a touchscreen, as mentioned, so that you can pull your finger over it whenever you want. Chrome OS is now supported by many Android apps, and when using a touchscreen, they feel more intuitive.
The quality of audio is a rare thing that we see in many laptops. But here the audio quality is great. The speakers are crisp, upward, and loud enough to fill a space and even have a bass. I set them next to MacBook Pro, the industry leader, and came away thinking it’s not better than Pixelbook Go. I have never gone far from a laptop review that wants to talk more about their speakers than about the Go Pixelbook. Google says the speakers have been tuned for a lot of time, and it shows.
It is fast enough
A laptop that comes in $649, is affordable, but Chromebooks are the world’s top-end laptop in this price. The typical $200-$300 Chromebook includes processors such as Intel Celeron and Pentium.
In the Intel Core m3, a dual-core 8th-generation processor, options start with the Pixelbook Go. It has 8GB RAM and a SSD of 64GB. That’s not inspiring, but remember, it’s a Chromebook. In contrast to Windows 10, Chrome OS dual-core processors can perform wonderfully.
The Intel Core i5 version was my review unit. It’s an 8th generation chip, too, that jumps to 4 core. In multitasking, I could not find the limit of it. The web apps and browser tabs flown through it.
Would Intel have done better with a 10th-gen chip? Perhaps. I would have liked Intel’s latest Iris graphs to see here. However, this is one of the strongest Chromebooks you can purchase. If you need even more performance, a Core i7 model is also available.
In comparison to the clunky, dated Windows 10 PCs which frequently are available at that price, I consider the $649 Core m3 model is a good choice for a student or anyone who needs a computer for travel.
Battery life is also helped by Intel’s efficient, fan-less processors. Chromebooks are renowned for their battery life, but the Pixelbook Go takes them to a different level. The Pixelbook Go lasted over 13 hours in both the local video loop and the web browsing. That’s 12 hours longer than Google claimed, and the best battery life I tested on a Chromebook. The long battery life helps to live the name of the Pixelbook. Take this on a plane or at school all day, and you’re not going to have any problem.
Maybe you think $649 or $849 is too much for a Chromebook for the Core i5 model. You’re right. On other Chromebooks you can achieve similar performance for fewer price too.
You still get what you’re paying for. The Pixelbook is stronger and more attractive than the competitors. The Chromebook performance is also at the top. It is true that when coupled with the right hardware, Chrome OS can work as a MacOS or Windows alternative.