With all of you, ladies and gentlemen, the best Chromebook in history. Which, by the way, changes its name and is called Pixelbook, in a burst of Googlerian pride. That makes this convertible the most ambitious of all Chrome OS-based computers.
It is of course a team that attracts by design and features, but which can also be found some buts. In fact, there are almost as many arguments in favor of this team as against them: let’s see which ones convince you the most …
Any past Chromebook was worse
As it happens with its new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Google wants to differentiate from its traditional partners with a Chromebook totally oriented to the high range. There are no half measures, neither for benefits nor for price.
That price – which starts at $999 in the United States, one of the few countries where it will be sold – is undoubtedly the one that quickly serves to establish a point of reference, because the market of convertibles, increasingly animated, makes suddenly we have many alternatives to the Pixelbook. None, yes, based on Chrome OS, which is probably what Google has wanted to achieve with this product.
In fact everything we had seen in the past seemed to guide Chromebooks towards a “modest” sector in needs such as education. Chromebooks did not need the latest in hardware or design to convince: they had become in their own right the successors of netbooks, cheap but functional equipment, and also benefited from the strengths of Chrome OS in terms of security and fluency. the interface.
In this Pixelbook the bet is different. Google does not intend to raise a team for students: the Pixelbook wants to eat all those who are ahead, either in the office or at home. The doubts about their potential to do so, however, are relevant, and that is that Pixelbooks have as many lights as shadows. Or maybe not; let’s go over them
In favor of the Pixelbook …
We start with the reasons that of course help convince you that the Pixelbook can be a great purchase . It’s a shame that at the moment we can not access the equipment, which will only be offered for sale in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, but of course the advantages are there.
Those advantages have a lot to do with the conception of a team that also comes with new strengths thanks to that convertible format and the total integration of the total Google assistant.
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Let’s see what are those arguments for the purchase …
1) Design and power: Other equipment is thin and light, but the Pixelbook takes that maximum to new limits with its thickness of 10.2 mm and its 1.1 kg of weight. That has not prevented them from being able to integrate powerful Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, which incidentally brings us to the second virtue of these devices.
2) Fanless: Goodbye to the fans, even in the most powerful model with the Core i7 and that hides another small but important secret. Neither more nor less than an SSD unit with NVMe support, something that the inferior models do not have and that makes the difference in the read and write speeds of data in that unit.
3) Pixelbook Pen: This accessory may not be for everything or everyone, but here Google is at the height of the best in terms of latency (10 ms) and pressure levels, which theoretically will offer a fantastic user experience both to the time to take notes as to draw.
4) Chrome OS: Google’s operating system for its laptops and convertibles is not perfect (in fact we also include it as a disadvantage), but it has evident virtues. The conception of this system makes it especially safe and fluid, and if you have already adapted to work and leisure in the cloud, the advantages of these use scenarios are clear.
5) Google Assistant: The integration of the Google voice assistant can be a remarkable point of interest in this product. In the Pixelbook we even find a dedicated key to invoke it (in the traditional position of the block key), and we can also launch it when using the Pixelbook Pen.
… and against
Those arguments in favor are nevertheless overcome (at least in number) by those who make us think that buying a computer like a Pixelbook is not a good idea right now.
It is not just a problem of a product that is not entirely perfect: it is also that we have an excellent market for laptops and convertibles that, in spite of continuing to slow down, continues to amaze us with increasingly versatile and powerful bets.
1) Screen frames: Google has made many good design decisions, but it has not been applied with the Pixelbook screen frames, which are simply huge. There, of course, you have to see that behavior as a tablet (the grip changes), but if you use the computer mostly in portable mode, the problem is there.
2) Processors: Although the presence of the Core i5 and Core i7 makes it clear that we can face any task, the non-use of the new eighth generation models is a disappointment, especially because of the efficiency and savings in autonomy they would have contributed.
3) Wasted power?: Doubt consumes us. Why integrate an entire Core i5 or a Core i7 into a computer that is basically dedicated to running a web browser? Does not it seem like an exaggerated choice? Maybe here the support of Android applications, perhaps more demanding in resources, explain that choice, but that would automatically make inferior Chromebooks not guarantee a good experience in this case. The absence of native applications in Chrome OS makes that decision strange, although we are sure that if it is still possible to install Linux through Crouton the thing will change. In fact there is also another scenario, that of software development, which can benefit from this power.
4) Connectivity: As with the criticism of MacBook and MacBook Pro, this unique commitment to USB-C ports causes us to suffer from the chaos of #donglelife that makes adapters necessary to connect “old” devices. Here we also include the absence of an SD or Micro SD slot that would have alleviated at least part of the problem. Yes, at least we have minijack for headphones.
5) Android applications: This should be an advantage and not a disadvantage, but the little we have seen of Android application support in Chrome OS has not convinced us. It is assumed that with the Pixelbooks this changes and that feature is no longer in “beta” mode, but in the event of Google there was hardly any convincing data except for the comment that Adobe and Microsoft were working to reinforce that support.
6) Chrome OS is not Windows or macOS: This is the main one but it can be put into a convertible with which Google wants us to do everything. It is true that many tasks are already done from the browser, center of the experience of Chrome OS, but there are many other scenarios in which the native applications of Windows or macOS are critical for certain workflows. We could even talk about a similar bet, that of the iPad Pro, which thanks to iOS 11 are managing to convert that mobile desktop to a much more traditional desktop with success.
7) Price: The new Pixelbooks are not exactly cheap, especially when you compare them with the products of an increasingly fierce competition. The latest convertibles of Microsoft, Apple, HP, Samsung or Lenovo (to name a few) show a price / performance relationship that of course raise many questions when choosing one or the other.