Google’s Chrome OS devices are in a weird position now, after the disappointment that was the Pixel Slate, the company has shifted focus away from tablets and more on laptops.
While Google’s Pixel Slate missed the marked, their Chrome OS device for this year, the Pixelbook Go has mostly ticked all the boxes when it comes to a laptop in 2019 but there are a few features missing.
Design & Hardware
The Pixelbook Go is a great looking device, magnesium body to its 13.4mm thinness. The device has a 13.3-inch LCD touchscreen display with a 16:9 aspect ratio and either Full HD 1080p or 4K Ultra Resolution.
The lid of the device has a subtle Google “G” logo in the top left corner and the bottom of the device has a ridged almost washboard design that makes it easier to carry around.
While having a touchscreen is great an all, I didn’t see a real point to having one especially since there’s no stylus (like the Pixelbook Pen) that is compatible with it. I’m not entirely sure why Google wasn’t able to make the Pixelbook Pen compatible with the Pixelbook Go but that’s just how it goes.
My review unit was equipped with the 1080p option which still looks great and is a bit better for longer battery life. The left side of the device has a USB-C port and headphone jack while the right side has another USB-C port.
The USB-C ports on the Pixelbook Go can be used for both charging and display output. The keyboard on the Pixelbook Go is one of the highlights of the device, with its full-size layout and 19 mm pitch.
Typing on the Pixelbook Go is great with a good amount of travel and very tactile response. The keyboard is also backlit with different levels and there’s also a Google Assistant key between the Ctrl and Alt keys.
Either side of the keyboard is front-firing speakers for surround sound along with 2 mics for improved noise cancellation. The trackpad on the Pixelbook Go is great and supports multi-touch gestures.
Powering the Pixelbook Go is the 8th Gen Intel Core processors with either an m3, i5 or i7 processor. It’s a little strange that Google is using the same processor as the Pixel Slate while Intel has released its 9th Gen and 10th Gen processors.
The model I had was the 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8200Y processor with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. I had no issues using the Pixelbook Go and every task I threw at it was fairly quick with no noticeable slowdowns.
The Full HD version of the Pixelbook Go comes with a 47 Wh battery while the 4K display version has a 56 Wh battery. Google says you can get up to 12 hours of battery life and there’s also fast charging support to get you 2 hours of battery in 20 minutes (via the 45W USB-C charger).
I was able to get around 9-10 hours of usage with a mix of watching YouTube videos, photo editing and writing articles.
The Pixelbook Go comes in two colours, Just Black and Not Pink.
Canadian Pricing for the device is as follows:
- Intel Core m3, 8GB of RAM, 64GB of Storage – $879 CAD
- Intel Core i5, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of Storage – $1,149 CAD*
- Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM, 128GB of Storage – $1,349 CAD
- Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM, 256GB of Storage – $1,849 CAD
*The model I tested
While the Pixelbook Go is cheaper that the Pixel Slate and Pixelbook that came before it, it can get pricier when choosing between different levels of specs. LIke for some reason it costs $500 between the 2nd most top-end version and the highest specced option when the only difference is the amount of storage.
Since using the Pixelbook, then the Pixel Slate and now the Pixelbook Go, I haven’t been the biggest fan of Chrome OS. While it looks good on the surface, you can start to see the issues with it over time.
Chrome OS is essentially Google’s Chrome browser but expanded to be an operating system. You can run the usual suite of Google apps like Google Calendar, Google Drive, Gmail, etc. But you can also run Android apps on the Pixelbook.
Everything you run on Chrome OS is run from the cloud, so you’ll need an internet connection to take full advantage of the OS but there are some apps and services that you can run offline such as Google Docs and some Android apps you may have installed.
In recent years, Google has added support to run Android apps on Chrome OS and while that has opened up the possibilities to what you can do on a Chrome OS device like the Pixelbook Go, it hasn’t always worked out well.
Android apps aren’t just that well optimized to run on Chrome OS devices since they were made for mainly Android smartphones.
Tasks such as light photo editing are possible on the Pixelbook Go using an online photo editor or Google’s Squoosh web app. I still found myself needing to go back to my dedicated laptop (a MacBook Pro) for heavier tasks.
On the flip side, Chrome OS is the perfect operating system that wants to just browse the internet, watch some videos and maybe get some work done.
Chrome OS does have its own file manager, video player and quick integration with your Google Drive. The Google Assistant is also present in Chrome OS by pressing the dedicated button or saying “Hey, Google”.
I didn’t find myself using the Google Assistant on the Pixelbook Go as often since I already have my smartphone or Google Home nearby.
Overall, the Pixelbook Go is a great Chrome OS laptop that offers long battery life, a comfortable keyboard that is good to type on and can run most Android apps.
- Great battery life with fast charging support
- Comfortable keyboard
- Solid Performance
- Good display (with 4K option available)
- Thin & light design
- Chrome OS can seem somewhat limited
- No biometric login support
- Weird pricing on the higher-end models
- The touchscreen seems kind of pointless with no stylus support