Just a couple days after Google’s hardware event in New York wrapped up last week, our very own Pixelbook Go showed up in the office and I’ve been using it off and on ever since. As timing would have it, I’m in the middle of 3 other reviews right now, so I’m splitting time between quite a few devices, but if I’m just being honest, all I want to do is use the Pixelbook Go: it’s that good! Let me tell you a few reasons why.
Before I do, I must preface this quick look with one very important fact: there are way more than 3 things I love about this Chromebook. With a device that I feel is this important, however, I want to give the proper amount of time to it to form complete and thorough opinions about it. I’m not bashing the myriad of blogs, YouTube channels and news sites that will drop their full reviews today: I just want to take my time a bit more on this one. With that out of the way, here are my initial thoughts
Right out of the box, the quality of the build on this Chromebook will impress even the most critical consumer. As you pick it up, the magnesium alloy chassis is thin, light (just 2.3 pounds) and comes with a satisfyingly soft and grippy finish. Think about the back of the Pixel 3 and you get a sense of the feel of the entire body, At a shade under 0.5-inches thick, everything about this Chromebook feels top-tier. The body is impossibly rigid and the screen hinge opens with a single finger, adding that extra premium touch on top.
Every seam, every subtly-rounded corner, every open of the hinge all scream premium, and the grippy bottom not only steers clear of feeling strange: it actually helps a ton in making this Chromebook feel supremely portable. As well put together as the original Pixelbook and Pixel Slate are, this Chromebook easily jumps to the top of the pile from a build standpoint.
Keyboard & Trackpad
You know me, I’m a sucker for a great keyboard and I’m a bit of a stickler on the trackpad. Thankfully, the Pixelbook Go delivers on both fronts. Actually, delivers is far too pedestrian a word for this one. Let me try again; the keyboard and trackpad simply knock it out of the park here. Not only do I not have any complaints, I’m actually ready to put this combo at the top of my favorites list. Let’s talk about them separately.
The trackpad is glass, of course, but is also extra wide, smooth as butter, and has a click mechanism to die for. Precise, accurate, and easy to use; this trackpad hits all the right notes. Sure, the Pixelbook Go is equipped with a touchscreen, but I find I don’t feel nearly as compelled to use it simply because the trackpad is such a great input experience.
This exemplary trend continues with the keyboard. Imagine the travel, click, and feel of the original Pixelbook keyboard (which I maintained was my favorite keyboard for nearly 2 years), refine it a bit and then add the Hush Keys from the Pixel Slate. What you get is hands-down the best keyboard I’ve ever typed on: quiet, assuring, clicky, and accurate. Oh, and the backlighting is perfect, too (at least on the black model we’re testing). No light bleeds out around and instead only illuminates the numbers and letters of each key. This keyboard is a master class in refinement and excellence.
Finally, the speakers in this Chromebook are simply ridiculous. The upward-firing, machined speaker grill holes look as if they should produce decent audio, but once you actually queue up some media to play, you are met with sound that seems nearly impossible from a device this small, light and thin. It is truly remarkable.
Last year, I was pretty mesmerized by the speakers on the Pixel Slate, but we compared those side-by-side with the Pixelbook Go and there’s simply no comparison. The Pixelbook Go produces the most enjoyable, rich, full, and stereo-separated sound I’ve personally ever heard on a laptop. Granted, I’ve not heard every laptop ever made, but I have listened to speakers on nearly every Chromebook in existence, and I can confirm these are the best by a long shot.
I watched TV shows like Mr. Robot, YouTube videos, movie trailers and more on this thing the past week and kept getting blown away by how enjoyable the experience was. Apart from the feel of this device, the speakers were the thing that I showed other people most often. More times than not, their eyes simply lit up when the speakers kicked in. There’s something special about that kind of sound coming from a package so light and thin and Google has absolutely crushed it with audio playback on the Pixelbook Go.
More to Come
Again, I want to reiterate that these aren’t my only thoughts or my final thoughts on the Pixelbook Go. We have to talk about the screen, internals, battery, performance, price, models, and the handful of features this devices shrugs off to get down to a realistic price tag. Those things will all be covered in the full review, and I promise it will be coming soon. But at a starting price of $649 (and I can confidently recommend that model, not just the higher-priced ones), I can already tell you that if a clamshell, touchscreen Chromebook is anywhere on your radar, there is a very good chance that the Pixelbook Go is absolutely the one for you.