Google Pixelbook 12in Review (Specs, Price, & Performance)

Google Pixelbook 12in Chromebook Review

This is an in-depth Google Pixelbook 12in review guide.

Here you will learn about its features, performance, pros and cons, prices, and almost everything that helps you to make the right buying decision.

So, let’s dive right in…

Believe it or not, compact Chromebooks are hitting the market once again with their uniquely modeled designs.

What separates Chromebooks from normal laptops and computers is their focus on efficiency and speed. They use the Chrome OS, a distinctive operating system that is built-in with cloud storage, the best of Google’s features, and multiple strata of security against various threats.

A good example of a great Chromebook in recent times is the Google Pixelbook 12inch that has taken the market by storm with its classy design, high-performing specifications, and cost-effective prices.

The Chromebook Pixel, another popular alternative for older times, was the predecessor to Google’s newer, next-generation model in the form of Pixelbook.

The tweak in the name represents that the Pixelbook isn’t just an evolved model of the Google Pixelbook. Rather, it’s a whole different model with some massive upgrades on the table.

It’s only natural that such a highly-marketed computer comes with a hefty price tag, but the real question is whether or not the Chromebook is cost-effective.

For multiple reasons, we believe that the Google Pixelbook could be a perfect choice for people with certain requirements.

Google Pixelbook 12in: A Brief Introduction

Google Pixelbook (i7, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB)

The next-generation release of the Google Pixelbook 12in is enticing enough to compel anyone to go increase their budget with its beautiful, compact looks, efficient speed, powerful features, vivid display, and lightweight nature.

Although the Pixelbook comes with fast charging technology, its battery life is not its most impressive feature, and even fails to match the standards set by the older Chromebooks that cost a lot less.

However, Pixelbook is clear of other Chromebooks with its recent inclusion of the Android app support, providing a more immersive and streamlined experience to the users by tying all their features together.

Striking Features

Processor 7th gen intel core i7 processor
Ram 16gb ram
SSD 512gb storage
Battery 10 hours of battery life on full charge
Design 4 in 1 convertible design
Display 360 degree touchscreen display with 2400 x 1600 resolution
OS Chrome OS
Turn On Time It turns on in less than 10 seconds
Google Assistant Yes it supports Google Assistant
Pen Stylus Pen Support
Communication Bluetooth and Wifi

Design

Kudos to Google for their excellent vision.

The idea of a compact laptop with a 3:2 aspect ratio does not sound very attractive. But the overall appearance of the Pixelbook makes it one of the most attractive laptops in existence.

The aluminum unibody design of Pixelbook is extremely slim, with a modern and convenient design. The silicon wrist rests and accents are some additional features that are worthy of high praise.

The Pixelbook’s uniqueness lies in how well it fits the description of a small laptop. It doesn’t look or feel like any of the traditional laptops, but instead is a beautiful imitation of a proper notebook.

More specifically, it reflects the aesthetic appeal of the old, browned-up sattle-stitched notebooks that you would love to have in your collection!

Coming to the exact dimensions, the marvelously slender laptop measures a thickness of 10.3mm, wrapped inside the aluminum and white plastic. The display, as its name suggests, is 12 inches wide with a default resolution of 2400×1600 pixels. It beats the hyped-up display of Apple’s Retina in terms of the 235ppi pixel density offering it a more elevated sharpness as compared to its counterparts.

The Pixelbook weighs a meager 2.5 pounds, making it extremely convenient to carry around. The lightweight nature of the laptop makes it a perfect alternative for people who have to move around a lot, and require their laptops with them at all times.  You can also give your Pixelbook a cool and personalized look. Customizing personalized stickers to decorate your laptops seems to be something everyone wants to do and if you want to make your Pixelbook look different, you can click here to try these personalized custom stickers.

The Pixelbook features dual power-drawing USB Type-C ports between its sides. The design features a headphone jack on the left side.

Durability

You would think that you’d treat a thousand-dollar laptop as if it were your child; never to let it out of your sigh, and especially not out of your hands. But unfortunate events happen, and you might end up dropping your laptop from your desk. This is why durability is an important factor that one should consider before making a technical investment.

Laptopmag conducted a drop-test on 11 of the most popular Chromebooks to determine the relative durability of the Pixelbook.

The conclusion stated that while Pixelbook is not the most rugged laptop, it’s certainly the most durable and strong Chromebook that you can find in the market.

Laptopmag dropped the Pixelbook from a height up to 4.5 feet onto the carpet and concrete to find out that the Pixelbook remained unharmed.

In their own words, it looked as though the Pixelbook had just come out of the box for the first time.

Specifications

For any laptop to be cost-effective, it needs to be powerful with strong specifications and impressive features. Without proper specs, the hefty price of the Pixelbook cannot be justified.

Fortunately, Google hasn’t let us down in that department.

Let’s have a quick look at the specification that this 12inch Google Pixelbook offers to users –

Performance

Earlier renditions had us believe that a Chromebook couldn’t come with powerful specifications that ensured seamless performance.

However, with the arrival of Google Pixelbook 12in, we finally have a Chromebook with power at our disposal.

Equipped with the powerful influence of the seventh-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, the Pixelbook runs like running a knife through a cake – streamlined and smooth.

However, customers should note clearly that these are the ultra-low-power versions, a more close representation of the previous Core m processors than the newer CPUs that run high-end laptops.

Users can pair them up with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of NVMe storage to maximize immersion and optimize the performance of the laptop.

The Pixelbook’s Core i5 is efficient, running a solid 1.2GHz with up to 3.3 GHz boost. The Core i7, on the other hand, is capable of running at 1.3GHz with up to a 3.6GHz boost.

When it comes to memory, Pixelbook can handle anywhere between 8GB or 16GB RAM, along with an SSD storage of up to 512GB.

Even without the use of optimum specifications, you can still find a smooth laptop in a Google Pixelbook with a Core i5-7Y57 processor, paired with around 8GB of RAM. Despite not being the optimum best that the Pixelbook can handle, it’s still enough to work with Android apps without any form of lag.

Moreover, you can even split your screen while watching a high-resolution YouTube video and opening a dozen tabs simultaneously.

Coming to the best part, the Pixelbook comes integrated with the Intel HD 615 graphics chip which aids the smooth visuals and streamlined performance of the laptop, offering an average of 60 frames per second on the WebGL Aquarium test.

According to the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, the Pixelbook scored a healthy 7,927, beating its ultraportable-notebook counterparts by a solid margin.

Similarly, the JetStream JavaScript benchmark which aims to measure the performance of web apps gave a score of 145 to Pixelbook.

Google’s Chromebook earned a higher score than Samsung’s Chromebook Pro and the Asus Chromebook Flip.

However, the Yoga 920 managed to beat Pixelbook by a fine margin.

Display

Before the inception of Google Pixelbook 12in, we were made to believe that 1080p display was the optimum best that Chromebooks could offer.

But Pixelbook’s bright and colorful display features a 2400×1600-pixel resolution, indicating that customers should never settle for anything less than the best.

Pixelbook’s display produces 117 percent of the sRGB spectrum, painting the screen with bright and vivid colors, enough to make 4K videos on YouTube appear crystal clear and almost lifelike.

The color correction and display in the laptop are far better than its traditional counterparts available in the market, even beating some of the top names like the Lenovo Yoga 920 or the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA.

The Google Pixelbook emits up to 421 nits, aiding the brightness on the screen that is required to visualize strong colors at up to 75 degrees to the left and right.

Generally, the laptops are available at the 290-nit category that is available generally, beating the average threshold by a fine margin.

The cream of the crop comes in the form of a multitouch-enabled screen. Although the feature was available in the older versions of Chromebooks too, it has shined significantly in Google’s Pixelbook because of its compatibility with Android applications in addition to the traditional web-based applications.

Moreover, upon regular use, one would find that the Pixelbook’s display offers sound touch recognition with little to no errors. The user experience would, therefore, be smooth and uninterrupted.

Audio

Sound quality is one department where the Pixelbook seemed lackluster.

Not to give you any wrong idea, the Pixelbook can get loud if you want it to – loud enough to echo your favorite song across a large auditorium. However, the sound lacks clarity and bass.

Listening to your favorite music, you’d appreciate the loud and crisp vocals and drums but would miss the subtle hints of the bass. That normally wouldn’t be bothersome considering almost everyone uses a third-party device like a headphone to listen to music on laptops.

Battery Life

You would expect an excellent battery life from a Chromebook.

Unfortunately, the Pixelbook fails to deliver in this bracket. But then again, the Pixelbook isn’t like your average Chromebook laptop either, so it’s not a shocker.

As per the Laptop Mag Battery Test, the Chromebook only lasted for about 7 hours and 43 minutes, lower than the average 8 hours and 34-minute category.

However, Google did make up for this blunder by providing the fast-charging battery feature, with claims guaranteeing a battery life of 2 hours after just 15 minutes of charging.

Heat

Trust me, you wouldn’t want to invest in a laptop that heats up quickly.

Fortunately, the Google Pixelbook remains cool even after hours of strenuous operation. However, it’s weird that only one spot on the laptop gets heated up.

According to Laptopmag, the Pixelbook measured comfortable temperatures on various spots after 15 minutes of streaming. However, the edge of the laptop (where the hinges are located), consisted of a hotter point which measured up to 101 degrees Fahrenheit, exceeding the comfort zone of 95-degree Fahrenheit.

Additional Features

From add-ons like Bluetooth 4.2 to additional equipment, Google’s Pixelbook Chromebook has a lot to offer.

Keyboard & Touchpad

Pixelbook’s backlit keyboard is comfortable enough, especially if you mean to type for longer periods. Although the keys are not spaced far enough as we’d hoped, they’re still better than the ones available in other variations of the Chromebook category.

The Pixelbook also comes with a silicon palm rest with a rubbery touch to it, making the overall typing experience more convenient.

Similarly, scrolling through different web pages using the touchpad is smooth and free of any kind of bugs/glitches. The three-finger swipe-down feature on the touchpad works wonders, allowing the users to view all the Chrome windows and Android apps at once. 

Pixelbook Pen

Another interesting addition is the Google Pixelbook Pen which is paired with Google Assistant.

Unfortunately, you have to pay $150 extra to get this alongside the laptop. The primary feature of this pen is to encircle objects/text on the screen to get more information about them from a digital assistant.

Although the pen is speedy and pressure-sensitive to the right amount, it still suffers from some latency issues. The pen works perfectly fine when you want to encircle something for Google Assistant. However, you might face some lag when you use the pen on drawing or writing apps.

The one downside about the Pixelbook pen is that it is powered by AAAA batteries, not easily available in local stores.

Webcam

While the Pixelbook succeeds in offering a fool-proof premium experience to its users, the webcam is just disappointing.

The 0.9-megapixel webcam is just not good enough, especially if you intend to attend a lot of online meetings with the built-in webcam.

Wi-Fi & Bluetooth

The laptop comes equipped with a dual-band 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi along with Bluetooth 4.2, perfect for setting-up connections with external devices.

Physical connection is lackluster in comparison, with the Pixelbook offering only two USB 3.1 Type-C ports and a solitary headphone jack on the Chromebook.

Software & Operating System

The primary limitation of older Chromebooks was the fact that they just couldn’t match the standards set by Windows or macOS.

The Chromebooks were traditionally only compatible with apps from the Chrome Web Store which, in delicate words, was full of unnecessary trash. The Pixelbook, however, integrated the features of Google Play Store and its Android apps to the laptop, finally giving the users a chance to compete with traditional operating systems.

One of the aspects where the Chrome OS is a leading name is security. The Chrome Operating System ensures that all the security updates are taken care of on the back end. With the integration of the TPM technology, you protect your important data on Google’s trusted Pixelbook.

The Chrome OS also allows users to connect their laptops with Pixel devices. If your Wi-Fi is down, you don’t have to wait for it to power back on; you can simply place one of Google’s smartphones to form a tethering, turning the Pixel and Nexus phones into hotspots for the laptop.

On a sadder note, the software is still limited on how many applications you can use on it. Many popular apps still need to be rewritten so that they can become compatible with Chrome Operating System.

However, Google has smartly ensured that they present their users with efficient alternatives to such applications to elevate the user experience.

The Chrome Operating System will take some time before they can compete with established names like Windows or macOS, but they’re slowly and surely getting there.

Price

As we’ve iterated multiple times within our review, the Google Pixelbook does not come cheap, tagged at a hefty $999 for the most basic model with a Core i5-7Y57 processor, 8GB RAM, and 128GB storage space.

Here are the detailed prices;

Processor RAM ROM Price
i5 8GB 256GB $849
i5 16GB 256GB $999
i5 16GB 512GB $1399
i7 16GB 512GB $1,699

The good thing that can make people ignore the hefty price tag is that Pixelbook is the most powerful and modern Chromebook available in the market.

We have discussed its efficiency when compared to some other Chromebook models and traditional models earlier in the article, and Pixelbook has prevailed more often than not as per the results of various performance-based tests.

The Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Elegant, lightweight, and thin design.
  • Stellar display.
  • Speedy and powerful performance.

Cons

  • Hefty price tag.
  • Average battery life.

Bottom Line

The Pixelbook’s aesthetics, specifications, display, design, and other features are clear of other Chromebook alternatives. But impressively, it also manages to hold its own against some established Windows and iOS-backed competitors in the market.

The only thing that can stop a customer from seriously considering investing in the Google Pixelbook 12inch is its high price and average battery life.

However, if money is not the issue, then Pixelbook is the most powerful representation of Chrome OS-run machines in the market.

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