We get requests for versus videos all the time, but there are scenarios where these types of videos provide lots of interest and intrigue, and situations where they just don’t make sense. We try to pit very similar devices against one another in the hopes that it helps members of our audience make the best possible decision for each of them. Sure, all Chromebooks are the same in regards to each having a screen, hinge, keyboard, trackpad, processor, RAM, storage, ports and speakers. If we look at it from that perspective, we could feasibly make versus videos until we were blue in the face and still not hit every combo.
We choose, then, to focus on versus videos where there is a deeper link between two particular devices. In this case, that link is the #madebyGoogle moniker both employ in addition to the Pixelbook namesake attached to each. Though their outer similarities end at that point, there’s no denying the deeply-shared Google DNA that runs through both of these fantastic Chromebooks. Because of this, many are left wondering which one to go and buy and whether or not the sacrifices made on behalf of the Pixelbook Go are worth the lowered asking price. That’s what we’re here to help out with.
A quick note about these versus videos/posts: we basically stick to the 5-section approach we take with our reviews, pick a winner in each section, and then tally those for an overall winner. Regardless of how similar two devices are, we will always pick a winner.
It would be easy to make this one a tie. After all, both are designed by Google, both are beautiful pieces of hardware, and both are meticulous in their crafting. Make no mistake, though: the Pixelbook Go isn’t just an iteration on the original. Instead, Google took a very different design aesthetic and ran with it.
Because of this, these two laptops don’t look related at all except for the G emblazoned on the lid. Both feel great in the hand, look great on a table, and inspire the user with great confidence in their overall quality. Both have pronounced and unique aesthetics and both are as well built as I could possibly ask for in a laptop. So what’s the difference? Functionality.
The Pixelbook is quite a bit more versatile. Being a convertible, the Pixelbook can be used in clamshell, tent, presentation, and tablet modes. The frame is balanced and squared off in a way that makes each of these modes feel good, too, and even closed up in tablet mode the Pixelbook looks like it was made to be used this way.
Contrasted with the rounded, soft-touch feeling of the Pixelbook Go, the two couldn’t be more different when it comes to functionality. The Pixelbook go only opens up to about 135-degrees and carries no assumption of being anything other than a solid, sturdy, thin laptop. While I don’t mind this at all and generally use my Chromebook on a desk or in my lap in clamshell mode, we can’t negate the fact that the Pixelbook simply has more utility in its design, and thus it is the winner here.
Again, when we come to the screen on both, there’s a clear spec sheet winner. The Pixelbook go has a fairly standard 13.3-inch 1080p screen. It is about 300 nits in brightness, has great colors, wide viewing angles, and packs just enough pixels to keep things looking nice and sharp. Sure, I’d like to move up from the 16:9 aspect ratio to a 16:10 like we see in Macbooks, but I’ve come to enjoy this screen tremendously.
The Pixelbook comes equipped with a 12.3-inch 2400×1600 high-res panel that is significantly brighter at 400 nits and gives users the sought-after 3:2 aspect ratio. With those specs alone, it wins on paper. In real use, however, it isn’t quite so clear cut. The reduced pixel count on the Pixelbook Go plays a part in its lower price and better performance on lower-end chips, so we can’t discount that. The Pixelbook’s option for pen input also has to be mentioned as the Pixelbook Go completely skips this. Though the differences in their screens weren’t a massive consideration for me in real world use, there’s no way we can consider anything other than a total victory for the Pixelbook in this category.
Keyboard & Trackpad
So far, things are looking good for the OG. We’re about to move into the Pixelbook Go’s sweet spot, though, and it is here where the new kid on the block begins to flex its muscle. I’ll say it as simply as I can: the keyboard and trackpad on the Pixelbook Go are the best I’ve ever used. The backlit keys are quiet, clicky, accurate, and insanely comfy for lots of typing. The glass trackpad is large and solid and comes with a perfect click mechanism. I love this input combo and have no problem saying it is the best I’ve ever used.
That isn’t to say the Pixelbook keyboard and trackpad are bad. I’d put them in second place, actually, but the keys are a bit clacky and the trackpad has a definite thunk to it when you depress the button. Again, they are actually quite great, but the Pixelbook Go is the best across the board, not just in this versus scenario, so it clearly wins this category.
Internals, Ports & Speakers
For ports, these are literally the same with both having 2 USB Type C ports and headphone/mic jacks and little else. Internally, they are pretty similar as well, with the Pixelbook having a 7th-gen Core i5, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The Pixelbook Go, when comparing apples to apples, has the same configuration but with an 8th-gen processor and that similar spec comes in at $150 less.
On an internals note, where this gets interesting is in the Core m3 base model of the Pixelbook Go. It comes with 8GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, and this is the device I’ve been using for a bit now. Though its a step down to the Core m3, the lower pixel density and the newer-gen processor make up the performance gap in real world use. I couldn’t discern any difference in performance when using the $649 Pixelbook Go versus the $999 Pixelbook, and that is pretty significant.
Where these two don’t share commonality is in the speaker department. The Pixelbook Go has arguably the best speakers I’ve ever heard in a laptop while the Pixelbook has some of the worst. There’s no competition here and no reason to really compare the two. If ports and internals are basically a push, the speakers clearly push the Pixelbook Go over the edge in this category. They are so much better, it almost should be worth two points.
Finally, there’s user experience. This category is a bit subjective, but when you are using two high-end, well made Chromebooks, some subjectivity has to be in play to pick a winner. When it comes down to which device I want to use on a daily basis, there’s no real choice for me. The device I enjoy using more than the other is the Pixelbook Go. Whether its the fantastic keyboard, rich speakers, or understated elegance of the device, this Chromebook has the “it” factor you want in a premium laptop. It may be hard to pin down and define, but everyone I’ve talked to who uses the Pixelbook Go on a regular basis simply loves the experience.
Google has put together a device that is simple and to the point. It is the Chromebook experience distilled down to its most basic and potent form. On paper it may not look like a knockout, but spend a few days with this thing and you’ll see what everyone else is begiinning to see: Google flat killed it with this Chromebook.
So, if you are keeping score, you know the winner: the Pixelbook Go. While it was a close race, I can confidently say that if you are in the market for the best Chromebook Google makes, the Pixelbook Go is the winner. This all holds true as long as you aren’t after something more out of your device. If you are looking at heavily using pen support or tent mode when flying, then you have to consider those things.
If you are reading this post and/or watching the video, I’d have to assume you aren’t fully tied to those things that make the Pixelbook more functional in its build or you wouldn’t even be considering the Pixelbook Go. If that is the case and you are looking for the best possible straightforward Chromebook experience, I know you’ll love both devices. You’ll just likely love the Pixelbook Go a bit more.
Auto Update Policy Disclaimer: As we stand right now (and these can change over time) the Pixelbook Go will get updates until June of 2026. The Pixelbook will cease updates as of June 2024. Keep that in mind as you make your choices.