If I had to guess, I’d say most people have both a computer and a tablet. But what if you could combine those products into one? The Google Pixelbook does just that, and I tested it out for a week to see if it’s effective!
The Pixelbook is unique in many ways. It’s not a typical Android tablet, and it’s not a dedicated laptop either. But whether you’re using it with the keyboard down or folded back, both ways to use it have their pros and cons.
I enjoyed using the Pixelbook as a laptop, and Google makes it easy, especially if the majority of the programs you use are online based. Because it runs Chrome OS, the home screen looks exactly like the home screen of Chrome, by importing your extensions and shortcuts.
The keyboard has a satisfying, solid click to the keys. It feels very similar to my MacBook and made me want to type a novel! One small, but underrated thing that the keyboard has is arrow keys, which don’t always come with keyboard kits you can attach to tablets. Although it doesn’t immediately seem like it, it does in fact have backlit keys, which I had to Google how to use to get them to work. (Hint: alt + screen brightness button)
The material on the opposite sides of the keyboard is a rubbery material, which feels good to rest your hands against when using it as a laptop, and holds it in place when you’re using it as a tablet on a flat surface. I didn’t have the Pixelbook long enough to test the durability of the material, but I worry that it would become discolored after enough use.
I think I can safely say most people use a tablet in less than ideal laptop conditions, i.e. pressed against their legs while lounging on the couch or in bed. These are not ideal Pixelbook conditions either. When the keys are folded back, they face the outside, which means they’re pressing against your leg or bed. Unless it’s laying flat on a table (which honestly is a hard way to use a tablet), it’s not a comfortable tablet to use. It’s heavy for a tablet and awkward to hold with the keys on the back.
Similar to Apple with their iPad Pro, Google does make a stylus that goes along with the Pixelbook called the Pixel pen, and I wish it came included with it. I use an iPad Pro and Pencil daily, so I missed having a stylus with the massive tablet.
The battery life on this thing is insane. On multiple days I brought the Pixelbook to a coffee shop to work on blog posts and get distracted by literally everything else on the internet, and I didn’t even bother bringing the charger. Very conveniently, it’s the same charger used for Pixels and most other Android devices: USB-C. There are also charging ports on either side, so you don’t have to adjust your angle on the couch to get the cord to plug in.
The biggest drawback about the Pixelbook is the price. I go back and forth about whether it’s worth a grand (or much more, depending on which configuration you get!). On one hand, it does combine a laptop and tablet in one, so you don’t have to carry around, or pay for, multiple devices. But on the other, unless you’re familiar with Linux, you can’t download anything that isn’t from the Google Play Store, and even some of those apps aren’t optimized for this…laplet? Tabtop? (Although RollerCoaster Tycoon was awesome to play on the Pixelbook!)
Overall, I’d say the Google Pixelbook does a good job combining a laptop and tablet, save for a few annoyances. I’d recommend it to those who would use a laptop/tablet for mainly online services, with a few basic apps thrown in. A few weeks ago for Black Friday it was on sale for $200 off, so keep an eye out for sales, and scoop it up when they discount it again.