Well, the day has come and ‘Atlas’ as we’ve known it all this time is now the Pixelbook Go. With the official announcement a surprise to no one today at the annual Google hardware event, we now have not only a face to put with the Pixelbook Go name: we have some thoughts and impressions.
First up, the Pixelbook Go is exactly what we expected: a 13.3-inch laptop with a great screen, fantastic keyboard/trackpad combo and ultra-thin and light form factor. The units on display today were of both the black and pink variety and all were rocking the entry level Core m3 8th-gen Intel processors with 8GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. A couple variations will be available soon with Core i5 and i7 models on the way with either 128GB or 256GB of storage and 8GB or 16GB of RAM. For many users, the entry-level model will be plenty to take care of most tasks, especially if you operate in the cloud most often as there is no place for expanded storage on the Pixelbook Go.
The feel of this Chromebook is decidedly Google and very premium all around. Nothing feels cheap or flimsy. Instead, the Pixelbook Go instills confidence with every touch, pick up, and open of the perfectly-balanced hinge it houses. From the thin design to the approachable build materials, there is something so compelling about this Chromebook and I can’t help but be drawn in by it. Sure, it will have some stiff competition later this year, but at this moment I simply cannot wait to be using the Pixelbook Go as my primary Chromebook.
Other fun notables are the battery life claims of 12 hours on a charge and the inclusion of quick charging that can get you a two hours of charge in just 20 minutes. With a chassis that is only 0.5-inches thick and a weight that tops out at 2.3 pounds, those battery numbers are quite impressive and will likely hold up in real world use if Google’s past battery claims can be used as reference, here. Finally, Google says Adaptive Brightness is on board as well but we weren’t able to find the setting on the couple units we tested. With that setting, users can let the Pixelbook Go automatically adapt to the room without needing to mess with the brightness toggles all the time.
Earlier this week, we published a video betting on the fact that Google was finally becoming interested in a reasonably-priced, consumer-friendly device this year with its newest Chromebook. It turns out our hunch was right and the Pixelbook Go can be pre-ordered today for only $649. (We’ll be putting together a comprehensive list of where to find it online and in store very soon.) To put it into perspective, that is at least $350 cheaper at launch than any other Google-made Chromebook at launch. Sure, you could argue the Pixel Slate’s Celeron model was a tad cheaper, but that didn’t come with the keyboard and it was discontinued almost immediately, so we’ll leave it out of the discussion for now.
The clear path forward for the Pixelbook Go is to be competetive in the market Google has helped curate over the years. It is finally time for Google to sell its Chrome OS hardware to the general consumers now, and Pixelbook Go is that play. Sure, it comes with an 8th-gen processor and lacks cool tricks like a convertible hinge or fingerprint scanner, but Google says it made cuts where it thought it could do so after tests and studies that showed them the main things consumers really want.
If you are looking for a premium build, thin form factor, best-in-class keyboard, and lightweight design with gobs of battery life that won’t break the bank, the Pixelbook Go is likely worth your attention. If you want pen support, 360-degree hinges or detaching keyboards, this isn’t the one for you. But Google seems to be betting on the idea that, for the majority, it is delivering in all the right places people actually care about.