Google Pixelbook, touch-up: the “Pixel look” and a very attentive Assistant feel very good to Chrome OS

Chromebooks have been renewing and much has passed since the last, and with those airs of renewal Google introduced the Pixelbook. And in addition to being able to touch the new Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL we were also able to make a contact with the Google Pixelbook and the Pixelbook Pen.

This is how the Pixel surname is postponed in another range of Google products, extending the family with a stylus of its own and further marking the house seals: that denomination, certain lines of design and, of course, the software of the house . Although what is striking is the fine and light it is, which we could check beyond the numbers, and has other interesting features, but also limitations.

Google Pixelbook, technical sheet

SCREEN 12.3 inch touchscreen LCD with QHD resolution (2400 x 1600, 235 ppi)
PROCESSOR Intel Core i5 / i7 7th Generation
MEMORY 8 / 16 GB
GRAPHICS Intel HD Graphics 620
STORAGE 128/256/512 GB SSD (NVMe on 512 GB drive)
CONNECTIVITY WiFi 802.11ac (2×2), Bluetooth 4.2
PORTS 2 x USB-C 3.0, 3.5mm earphone jack
BATTERY 10 hours of autonomy
OTHERS Backlit keyboard, optional Pixelbook Pen ($ 99)
DIMENSIONS 289.6 x 221 x 10.2 mm
WEIGHT 1.1 kg
OS Chrome OS
PRICE According to RAM and processor configuration:
$ 999 / $ 1,199 / $ 1,649

Bikini operation and overdose at right angles

The design is unfamiliar to us if we think about that Chromebook Pixel, although in a way follows an approximate pattern in proportion and angles of the edges. Nevertheless the Pixelbook is something more striking and with a different aesthetic, perhaps very conveniently by two aspects: remember more to the one of the phones Pixel and remembers less to the MacBook Pro.

Thus, it seems that progressively Pixel designation bury low-cost nomenclatures, materials and options in both smartphones and computers, because just as we saw with the phones the new Pixelbook opts for aluminum and glass, thus obtaining a higher quality result (or better feeling) than a plastic chassis.

The Pixelbook is very light, which is essential for that versatility they want to sell, as well as their thinness. This is very well observed if you look at the audio jack (which has it) and the very thin layer of material that lies between the hole and the surface.

One of the corners (if we have the face, the bottom left) in tablet mode. You see the microphone (right), a USB type-C, the audio jack and more left the volume buttons.

Thus, like the old Chromebook the edges cut at right angles. This is what we may not like so much, especially with the metal tend to be more pleasant to grip the edges with a slight curve, especially if we are going to be playing with the different positions that facilitate the hinges of almost 360 degrees ( where the speakers are, by the way).

It is not annoying to excess and seems to keep some harmony with the lines of design that seem to take the devices with Google display, but if we come from a device like the ASUS ZenBook Flip S, the Samsung Notebook 9 or even a Surface (also with edges at an angle) is not too pleasant to grip at least at first.

Leaving this aside, as we commented the construction gives us a feeling of quality in terms of materials and the finish is minimalist and sober (and does not slip). The passage from laptop to tablet takes place naturally and without hinges resisting too much resistance.

Do not stand out physically, stand out in sensations

Something that draws attention to other proposals for convertibles or laptops is a keyboard that barely protrudes from the chassis. Here we come across the preferences of each one given that it is not always preferred that it be so, but the truth is that it is in the right measure to identify the keys blindly and that the pressure is adequate. We tried to type and without problems, nor did we miss the height of the keys or sensitivity to pressure.

The touchpad is somewhat smaller in proportion than the one we see on laptops like the MacBook or the Flip S, and it also conveys a lower quality feel. It works well for both clicks and gestures, but the touch sensitivity is somewhat inferior to other computers like the others that also opt for aluminum (and does not integrate fingerprint sensor).

The screen is also tactile and in this sense we had good experience. Good sensitivity and good response in general regarding the automatic brightness adjustment, and when we put the tablet mode the keyboard is deactivated immediately avoiding accidental touches.

A fourth interaction we have with the Pixelbook Pen (which we remember is not included with the Pixelbook). The experience with it is satisfactory, being very sensitive to the different degrees of pressure and without experiencing lags or exaggerated latency, although what is striking is the “intelligence” when interacting with Google Assistant, for example identifying elements of a photograph.

A SUV with a leash?

Unfortunately a touchdown does not give to thoroughly test performance and autonomy, but at least we can have a snack of this first. Starting from a graph without dedicated memory (and that we are in Chrome OS) neither expect to be able to try heavy games, but we tried to “make it suffer” a little with the time and resources of what we had.

The Pixelbook behaved well, not only to open and maintain without closures, lags or other problems the apps we were running, but because we did not notice warming at all the time. Whether it was with games like Asphalt 8 or running photo-editing apps, all of them and Chrome OS were moving well and without stress on the computer, with the plus of (being in an environment without as much decibel as that) there is no noise from fans (because there are none).

The Pixelbook has a unique Google Assistant key.

Of course, to keep in mind is the fact that as usually happens with such light equipment the ports of entry and exit are limited. We only have a pair of USB-type C, so according to our use (reading SD cards, etc.) we may have to pull some adapter (which will lose some of the essence of these convertibles).

The Pixelbook goes very well but the thinness is paid and we only have a pair of USB-type C.

And another aspect that we must not forget is that not all developers are betting on Chrome OS to release versions of their apps, and that according to our needs this can be a bottleneck although on the hardware side and probably leftover. Something that not only happens to us in this case (for example, iOS in the iPad Pro can also be), but we must remember because in the medium and even short term not everything is power and fluidity.

A good upgrade, but also for committee petit

In general we had a good experience with the Pixelbook: it is light, it goes very well, it does not get hot and Assistant seemed to be as attentive as they promise. In the absence of checking that autonomy of 10 hours, the versatility in the day to day of a somewhat more demanding user, the power and quality of the audio or how it bears the camera and the screen in other scenarios better illuminated, for the moment we seems an interesting and attractive proposal for those looking for a lightweight equipment without sacrificing power or a “real” keyboard.

The frames of the screen fail us a lot in aesthetic compared to all the update that has had the rest of the design

We have frames left on that screen that we found adequate in resolution, contrast, brightness and color. We miss a lot on the aesthetic level compared to all the update that has had the rest of the design, especially when we put it in tablet mode (although it is a way to heal in health with accidental touches in this mode).

Although the true limiting factor is the distribution, given that the Pixelbook will be sold in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom without knowing if they will reach a country in Latin America or Europe. The price is also not advantageous if we see other convertibles of the competition, so we will see if the experience Google in a single kilogram of weight manages to seduce in the coming months.

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Vaibhav Mishra

Fan of new technologies and player since small, I do not move without at least one smartphone in the pocket to always stay connected ... and keep some games at hand.