The Pixelbook Go is Google’s latest attempt at a high-end Chromebook
Speed, Simplicity, and Security: This is Google’s motto for Chrome OS, its Linux-based operating system for laptops. Google has gained a foothold in the education market thanks to the low system requirements of Chrome OS, leading to a proliferation of cheap Chromebooks among students. However, Google has struggled to expand the appeal of Chrome OS outside of this market. They hope to change this with the Pixelbook Go.
With features like Android and Linux app support and high-end hardware like the Pixelbook, Google has tried to market Chrome OS as a viable alternative for enterprise users. While the Pixelbook was met with praise from reviewers, its successor, the detachable Pixel Slate tablet, suffered from underpowered hardware and poorly optimized software. Google isn’t abandoning high-end Chromebooks, though, as they’re showing with the Pixelbook Go.
Google is going for a more traditional laptop form factor with the new Pixelbook Go. You can’t flip the device to use it in a tent mode, and you can’t detach the screen to use it as a tablet. It’s a pure laptop through-and-through. Google designed this laptop for consumers who want to work while on-the-go (hence the “Go” in the name), so the Pixelbook Go has a grippy, ribbed texture on the back to make it easy to hold on your lap or in your hands. The laptop has a smooth, matte finish on the top, too, so that’ll also increase grippiness when holding it in your hands.
Since the Pixelbook Go is so compact, it lacks a full-size USB port, but it does have two USB Type-C ports, one on each side, accompanied by charging LEDs. There’s also surprisingly a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left side, which is absent on the Pixel 4 smartphone. When the laptop is open, you’ll see a 2MP camera (up to [email protected] video) above the display, two front-facing speakers, two far-field microphones for Google Assistant hotword detection, a 13.3-inch (16:9) display, a standard laptop keyboard without a Numpad, and the trackpad. The keyboard has a Google Assistant key on the bottom-left but is otherwise similar to what you’ll find on most other Chromebooks.
Oddly, Google has decided to forego the fingerprint scanner and Pixelbook Pen support with this model. Perhaps they saw that not many people were using either feature, or they weren’t able to add support without increasing the bulk of the laptop.
Google made a mistake with last year’s Pixel Slate by offering an Intel Celeron processor in the entry-level model, but it seems they’ve learned from this mistake as the Pixelbook Go starts out with an Intel Core M3 and 8GB RAM. Other configurations include an Intel Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and either FHD or 4K resolution. All models come with Google’s Titan C security chip for protection against malicious attackers trying to load tampered or outdated software.
You’ll be able to buy the Pixelbook Go in either “Just Black” or “Not Pink” colors starting at $649. Pre-orders open today in the US and Canada, and they’ll start in January in the UK.