Google’s relationship with its personal Chrome OS hardware has been a peculiar one. Whereas different OEMs commonly push out new Chromebooks for customers with numerous budgets, Google continues to refresh its hardware simply every year. Till now, these updates have produced luxurious Chromebooks with various levels of recognition: 2017’s Pixelbook gained many hearts with its distinctive design, versatility as a convertible, and stable efficiency, whereas 2018’s Pixel Slate pill was a determined flop.
For 2019, Google is once more making an attempt one thing just a little totally different: the $649 Pixelbook Go, a extra modest Chromebook with a beginning worth that many will discover simpler to abdomen than the Pixelbook’s $999 price ticket. Whereas the Pixelbook Go might not be a luxurious system, it isn’t a dirt-cheap Chromebook both. It sits in a class of higher-end Chromebooks that is getting extra populated as firms together with Acer, Asus, HP, and others make extra succesful units.
The largest draw of the Pixelbook Go is that it is made by Google, and since we noticed the corporate carry a lot to the desk with the Pixelbook, it is honest to imagine that the Pixelbook Go would supply one thing inherently Google-y that different OEMs cannot match. The corporate is hoping that X issue (together with a extra reasonably priced beginning worth) will carry Chrome OS lovers flocking to the Pixelbook Go. However after utilizing the Pixelbook Go for nearly per week, I discovered that, like most issues within the client tech world, the truth isn’t that easy.
Feel and appear
Chassis and show
Specs at a look: Google Pixelbook Go
13.Three-inch FHD (1920 x 1080, 166ppi) touchscreen
13.Three-inch FHD (1920 x 1080, 166ppi) touchscreen
13.Three-inch 4K (3840 x 2160, 331ppi) touchscreen
Intel Core i5
Intel Core m3
Intel Core i7
Built-in Intel GPU
Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2×2 (MIMO), dual-band (2.4GHz, 5.0GHz), Bluetooth four.2
2 x USB-C, 1 x Three.5mm headphone jack
12.2 x eight.1 x zero.5 inches (311 x 206.Three x 13.four mm)
2.Three kilos (36.eight ounces) (1.04kg)
Google Pixelbook Go
Amazon beginning at $649.99Greatest Purchase beginning at $649.99
(Ars Technica might earn compensation for gross sales from hyperlinks on this put up via affiliate applications.)
At launch, it was straightforward to check the Pixelbook Go to a MacBook in fashion, however Google’s new laptop computer feels noticeably totally different from Apple’s signature laptop computer. Each are minimalist in their very own manner, and so they share a shortage of ports—the Pixelbook Go solely has two USB-C ports (each of which assist charging, knowledge switch, and show output) and one Three.5mm headphone jack.
However the similarities cease there. Magnesium makes up many of the Pixelbook Go’s chassis, giving it a pleasing but unusual feeling in your fingers. It does not fairly really feel like metallic, nevertheless it additionally does not fairly really feel like a plastic laptop computer. It lies someplace in-between, however fortunately that limbo does not make it really feel low cost. Quite the opposite, the Pixelbook Go has a construct high quality that I might count on in a mid- to high-end laptop computer. The lid had a slight little bit of flex, however the chassis itself does not flex in any respect, and the distinctive texture of its ribbed backside retains the system in place on a flat floor with out being distracting.
Google outfitted the Pixelbook Go along with a 13.Three-inch 1920 x 1080p touchscreen that appears simply fantastic for a Chromebook like this at first blush. Nonetheless, a couple of issues might be improved or modified based mostly on our utilization—at the beginning being the incessant glare that seems when any quantity of daylight falls on the show. It was irritating to work on the Pixelbook Go in my dwelling workplace in the identical place I check different laptops as a result of that spot will get a lot pure mild. Additionally, the show has chunky bezels hugging its prime and backside that I want had been shrunk—doing so might have allowed a 16:10 or a Three:2 panel relatively than the cramped 16:9 panel we bought on the Pixelbook Go.
The show additionally did not have to be a touchscreen as a result of the Pixelbook Go is a laptop computer, not a convertible just like the Pixelbook. Admittedly, some customers might discover it simpler to navigate Android apps on a Chromebook utilizing their fingers, identical to they’d on an Android smartphone. Nonetheless, touchscreens simply aren’t as snug to make use of on laptops as they’re on convertibles and I typically discover no use for them on the previous units. It is also disappointing, and barely complicated, that the Pixelbook Go’s display screen can take enter out of your finger however not from a stylus just like the Pixelbook Pen.
The highest-tier configuration of the Pixelbook Go is the one one to have a 4K panel, and that is not the one perk that will increase the worth of the $1,399 mannequin. The specs on that mannequin are additionally higher: Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage—arguably extra energy than anybody wants in a Chromebook. However, other than the 4K show and inner specs, the top-tier mannequin is equivalent to all the opposite Pixelbook Go fashions in hardware design.
Keyboard, trackpad, and options forgotten
We’ll get into the implications of that truth after we talk about the keyboard and trackpad. The keyboard has a regular Chrome OS structure—the Launch key replaces the Caps Lock key and the top-right Delete secret’s barely smaller than I would really like. The web page navigation keys are additionally barely narrower than regular, however they will not influence most customers an excessive amount of.
Google claims the brand new, backlit keyboard on the Pixelbook Go is quieter than that on the Pixelbook, and that is true to a level. The keycaps have a softer sound whenever you click on them, so you do not get any satisfying click on noises out of them. However the Pixelbook’s keyboard wasn’t all that loud to start with, so I see this as a minor enchancment relatively than one thing that may have a large influence on the variety of individuals shopping for a Pixelbook Go.
The Google Pixelbook Go laptop computer.
The FHD touchscreen is marred by glare when positioned in direct daylight.
The laptop computer is simply 13.4mm thick, leaving room for a few USB-C ports on its edges.
It weighs barely lower than the unique Pixelbook at 2.Three kilos.
It has a Three.5mm headphone jack along with its USB-C ports.
Google redesigned the keyboard to make it quieter whereas additionally sustaining the core design from the unique Pixelbook that many cherished.
The underside has a ribbed texture that helps maintain the laptop computer in place.
The Pixelbook Go is available in “simply black” and “not pink” colours.
The Pixelbook Go begins at $649 for a Core m3 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage.
It appears Google tried to translate the Pixelbook’s uniquely Google-y design for a extra reasonably priced system, and I feel the corporate did so to a sure extent. The Pixelbook Go has the identical aesthetic because the Pixel four, which, relying in your private desire, might be an ideal factor. In the event you like thin-and-light laptops with few frills, the Pixelbook Go shall be proper up your alley.
It additionally makes for a stable mid-range system, however its validity as a high-end system is debatable. I am disillusioned that the top-tier configuration solely provides higher specs and a 4K show. I want Google gave customers extra for his or her cash and included extra hardware variations like pen assist or a fingerprint sensor (bear in mind the Pixel Slate had one?) within the $1,399 mannequin. Loads of Home windows laptops within the $799 to $999 vary embody such options—and even some competing Chromebooks in that worth vary embody them as properly.
Google’s rationale for that is that it wished to make the Pixelbook Go extra reasonably priced in each manner doable—not just for customers to purchase, however for Google to make. Doing so meant stripping out any options that Google felt have been pointless to on-the-go use and refactoring options of the Pixelbook that have been fan favorites, such because the keyboard. We may debate the usefulness of sure options on an ultraportable till we’re blue within the face, nevertheless it does not bode properly for the Pixelbook Go that different Chromebooks in the identical worth vary are extra succesful.
Take the Acer Chromebook Spin 13, our present favourite luxurious Chromebook—whereas it isn’t as skinny or mild because the Pixelbook Go, it may be outfitted with related specs, features a stylus that lives in its chassis, has an FHD+ show with a Three:2 facet ratio, and gives stable efficiency all for round $725. You may get extra to your cash, in the event you can sacrifice a bit within the design division, than you’d in our $849 Pixelbook Go evaluate unit.