We’re going to talk about a few different bugs we’ve seen with the Pixelbook in the past week that seem to be affecting other Chromebooks as well. Bugs happen, especially with an OS that sees such frequent updates like Chrome OS. When bugs do inevitably crop up, there are basically two responses: get mad or do something.
Around here, we choose the latter.
So, let’s talk about the issues we’re seeing and how to do something about them.
First up, we have an intermittent volume issue. I haven’t been able to pinpoint what actually causes the problem, but when it pops up, the sound outputs basically disappear. When you click the tray, you normally see the volume slider there. Also, you should have an arrow to the right of that slider that allows you to select sources for both input and output. See below.
The bug issue basically keeps this slider locked to the left and renders the input arrow useless. It is almost as if the device no longer has access to audio I/O. For what it is worth, we saw this same bug crop up on the Samsung Chromebook Pro and Acer Chromebook 15 as well, so this isn’t just a Pixelbook issue.
Here’s the bug listed in the bug tracker. We’ll come back to that.
Second, the Pixelbook seems to be unable to utilize the screen sleep feature when in tablet mode. This was added to Chrome OS a few months back, but the gist of the feature is this: when in tablet mode, the power button acts like you’d expect on a tablet or phone. It simply puts the device to sleep immediately.
As it stands right now on the Pixelbook, when you are in tablet mode and click the power button, it behaves exactly like the power button always does. Hold it for a few seconds to lock the device and a few seconds longer to power down.
This isn’t what is supposed to be happening. Instead, when in tablet mode, we should have a one-click sleep function just like your phone or a tablet. I’ve confirmed this feature still works on the Samsung Chromebook Pro (still on Chrome OS 61), so this bug is likely something off in Chrome OS 62.
You can find this bug right here. Again, we’ll come back around to this.
Another intermittent bug I’ve come across probably 5 times so far concerns the new keyboard layout. The Pixelbook has a new keyboard layout that differs from every other Chromebook on the market with its Assistant key, menu tray toggle, and play/pause button. Everything works as expected for the most part, but I’ve had some issues here and there. Again, I’m unsure what causes this, but it seems the Pixelbook will go back to the old keyboard mapping when this bug rears its head.
The function keys are a bit shifted on this new keyboard, and I know the bug is active when those functions end up falling into their old places. For example, on older keyboards, F5 is the overview button. On the Pixelbook, that has shifted to F4. When the bug is active, F4 triggers full screen instead of the overview. As I go through the other function keys, it becomes clear that the old mapping is what takes over.
As with any of these bugs, a simple reset fixes things, but that’s no reason not to get this stuff fixed up. Here’s the bug listing.
This last issue has been around for a while (here’s the bug), but I want to continue drawing attention to it. The volume rocker on the side of the Pixelbook and the Samsung Chromebook Pro/Plus is great when in tablet mode. The rocker, however, doesn’t follow the orientation of the screen.
For me, when I flip into tablet mode or tent mode, I’d expect the side of the volume rocker pointing upward to be the volume up button. I am always disappointed when it most certainly isn’t.
I’ve become accustomed to simply turning the tablet over with the hinge side facing up, but that isn’t how I naturally use the tablet when I first convert it. I tend to leave the screen facing the same way it is in laptop mode. I’m not sure what others do, but I think the volume rocker should be able to flip based on the orientation of the device.
How To Fix These And Other Bugs
While most of us reading this aren’t on the development teams for Chrome OS (though we know a few of you reading this likely are), as users of the platform you have a unique ability to help development move along on issues that impact your daily use of a Chromebook.
That method is the Chromium Bug Tracker. You can look around all you want at crbug.com, but the most useful thing you can do is submit issues and star the ones that you’d like to see fixed.
To star an issue, you need to be logged in with your Google account. Once logged in, go to the bug you want to see fixed and click the star up in the top-left corner. Additionally, if you have some feedback, you can comment as well.
I’m going to re-link all the issues we talked about below and I’d encourage you to go and at least star these issues. We had a bug report added yesterday that is already seeing some traction thanks to people like you being proactive. If we start to see these type of issues get attention quickly when we bring attention to them on this site, we’ll continue leveraging our traffic to see issues get fixed in a more timely manner.
So, which response are you? Get mad or do something? I suppose we’ll see!