Google Pixelbook announced, here’s what you need to know

After much debate whether or not there would ever be one after a two-year gap, Google announced a new Chromebook Pixel laptop named ‘Pixelbook’ at the private Made By Google 2017 event today in San Francisco, CA. In many respects, the Google Pixelbook has a similar feel about it compared with the original Chromebook Pixel. Here’s what you’ll need to know to consider buying this model. 

We thought we might never see this day again, but thanks to high demand, Google has done it. After leaking for the first time just two weeks ago, the high performance Google Pixelbook, or next-gen Chromebook Pixel, is official. With Pixelbook, customers are buying a well-made, complete laptop-style computer built around Google’s easy to use, well-performing ChromeOS operating system. It’s been over two years since Google has launched a Chromebook of its own, and on the biggest stage, Google made the call and introduced a new Chromebook under a new name, simply called ‘Pixelbook.’ Pixel has become common language when it comes to Google products, for what began with Chromebooks has now extended to tablets and even phones. Google has kept the Pixel branding around for Chromebooks, and the big ‘G’ logo is present on the top side of the company’s newest laptop. 

For 2017 and perhaps beyond, Google has given the Pixelbook support for a stylus namely the Pixel Pen, matched with a modern lightweight (1 kg), glass and metal plated build (the top is reminiscent of Google’s Pixel phones) and convertible tablet 4-in-1 design. There’s a back-lit keyboard that may be rotated around to convert the laptop into a full-fledged tablet, where the device can be used as a touch screen. There’s also a soft touch trackpad with palm rejection and precision accuracy. And with native support for running Android applications, this really is the book of both worlds. It’s the ultimate hybrid combining both the productive tools needed to get work done, with the multimedia tablet experience made for enjoyment. 

The Pixelbook is built from premium materials including metal with a glass palm rest. The display measures 12.3-inches and is of a Quad HD resolution (LCD) with some large bezels. The exact dimensions are 11.4 x 8.7 x 0.4 inches, making this device super slim at under 10mm and hence manageable and portable. The computer charges via a USB Type-C port and there are other ports along the device including a 3.5mm headphone jack for added connectivity and functionality. The battery is said to offer up to 10 of battery life on a single charge. The model uses an Intel seventh-generation chipset backed up by 8GB or 16GB of RAM, which is more than enough power for ChromeOS to run like butter, in fact it’s a little overkill, as is the case with most of the specifications we’re mentioning. Other notable specs include a front camera for video chats, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, dual speakers for high-quality surround sound audio, and on board security features including pre-loaded anti-virus software.

The Pixelbook Pen features a precise tip that is pressure sensitive. You can circle things with it on your screen and it even learns your handwriting through machine learning. From a software perspective, as a new Chromebook computer, the Pixelbook will be supported until at least 2022, as per Google’s Chromebook policy. The Pixelbook rocks stock ChromeOS, as you may have come to expect, although with that powerful chipset and plentiful of RAM, the Pixelbook is likely to perform very strongly compared with competing Chromebooks. The Google Assistant is on board (a first) in the form of a dedicated key. Pixelbook can be paired with a Pixel 2 to do more, such as ‘Instant tethering,’ which can connect your Pixel 2 phone automatically to use its signal when there’s no Wi-Fi around. And of course, Google’s Play Store is supported. Google is even working with developers including those who work for Snapchat, in order to bring better experiences for Chrome OS.

Unfortunately, as with the original Chromebook Pixel, the price is quite steep – the Pixelbook will be available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB storage capacities with pricing starting at $999 for the base model. And these price tags don’t even include the new Pixelbook Pen, which will be sold separately for an additional $99. This is not what most Chromebook interested buyers will consider. For that price, you could customize a whole high-end desktop computer or buy certain Macbooks. Furthermore, considering that most other Chromebooks are available for under $200, the Pixelbook is the outlier of all options, being the single most expensive choice – just as the first two generation Chromebook Pixels were at their times. Perhaps Google is targeting something a little out of range for a ChromeOS device. 

Google appears to be using the Pixelbook as something of a showcase for the ChromeOS platform. It’s difficult to justify the high price for a Chromebook, when something with a similar amount of functionality is available for a lot less. Still, the Pixelbook is probably not meant to be justified on these grounds, but instead it’s designed as a niche product to the more affluent Chromebook fans and hardcore Google users out there. If it’s a must have, it’s a must have, but we can’t give you our recommendation right now and won’t unless something crazy and revolutionary is discovered in our testing.

Older Chromebook Pixel models will seemingly remain on sale, but production is likely to be ceased. Expect a reduced price tag for these going forward. As for Pixelbook, Silver is the only color option (with matching pen). It’s available to pre-order today and will ship beginning October 31 once available in stores. This goes for customers in the US, Canada and UK, with more to gain access in the near future. It will be available in a lot of places including many retailers. 


We’re covering Google’s hardware event in its entirety; stay here at Droid Turf for coverage throughout the day.

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About David Steele 234 Articles
David has been using smartphones since the start of the industry but found his home with Android back in 2011 using an early Dell Stream device. Today, he uses the Nexus 5X and Sony Xperia Z Tablet as primary devices, but you'll also see him with his coffee cup and Chromebook.