I’m typing this post right now on arguably the most popular, most notable, most well-made Chromebook ever: the venerable Pixelbook. We don’t actually have one of these lying around the office (which feels like a bit of a crime), so when the opportunity arose to get one in my hands once again for a bit of testing, I jumped at it.
Here’s the idea: we’re getting close to finishing up our reviews on the newer Chromebook Plus models and have a new one coming in the next day or two. But with this opportunity to revisit one of the most important Chromebooks ever built, I immediately wanted to sort of re-review it to see how it stacks up in 2024: about 6-and-a-half years since it arrived on the scene and took our collective breath away.
The process begins
I have a few thoughts I want to share today simply to start the process of re-reviewing this device. I looked back at my original review and, you know what? I stand by much of what I prognosticated about this impactful device. Mainly, the Pixelbook is responsible for moving the overall Chromebook market forward in important ways. It served as a torch-bearer for well-made, convertible, Android-running Chromebooks that we have plenty of at this point. Case in point: the Pixelbook experiment worked.
And as I was handed this gorgeous Chromebook, I was once again struck by how well manufactured this device is. Like I said, it’s been a bit since I held one, and I’d forgotten the precision and thought that went into the Pixelbook. Simply as a laptop, there’s just nothing quite like it. From the rigid-but-wildly-thin chassis to the way the glass portion and silicon/trackpad sections mirror one another aesthetically, nothing looks or feels like the Pixelbook, even all these years later. It’s a true shame there was never a follow-up.
I’m also struck by how nice this keyboard is, even though the crazy-thin chassis necessitated a very short travel. Back then, low travel keyboards were all the rage thanks to Apple, and the Pixelbook follows that trend. Still, typing this post right now, I’ve had no issue getting up to normal speed with this keyboard, and the glass trackpad – while small by today’s standards – is just as silky smooth as ever. It’s an impeccable combo.
I’m also immediately impressed by how quick it still is. Remember, this is the 7th-gen Intel Core i5 that was built for mobile use and has no fans. I wasn’t expecting much, but so far things are moving quite well. It’s unclear how the battery will fare since the Diagnostics app shows it at 85% health. This particular Pixelbook has been in daily use for at least 5 years, so that’s a bit expected. I’ll be sure to try out that manual Battery Saver feature later today and see what I get, but I’m currently pacing around 7.5 hours while running my standard set of productivity tools across multiple virtual desks. Not bad!
Overall, I’m just oddly hopeful that this goes well. Chromebooks – especially expensive ones – should be solid until they run out of updates. The Pixelbook is slated to get updates until August of 2027, so this device still has considerable life left in it. What I’m certain many of you are wondering is whether or not you should consider one if you found it in good condition at a good price. That’s what I want to figure out while selfishly indulging in a bit of nostalgia. This is going to be fun!