Google Pixelbook Go Review: A Premium Chromebook Experience

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Google Pixelbook Go: An Affordable Windows Laptop Alternative

pixelbook go with charger
Google's new Pixelbook Go is a bit of an anomaly in the company's line of Chromebooks. Neither a folding, swiveling ultra-premium device like the original Google Pixelbook, nor a tablet like the Pixel Slate, the company's newest release is a traditional clamshell design, although one that features a touch-enabled display. It looks, feels, and behaves like a conventional laptop, but with its magnesium chassis, 1080p touchscreen, and quiet "Hush Keys," one that's small, light, feature-rich and well-made. That said, though its premium mobile laptop is fairly conventional, Google's Pixelbook line takes a somewhat unconventional cloud-first approach to computing on the go. 

pixelbook go accesories and review kit
Pixelbook Go accessories available from Google - purpose-built backpack ($129), fitted sleeve ($49)

The new machine is also unusual in another way; it's affordable. Well, affordable for a Pixelbook, at any rate. While the original Pixelbook lists for $999 and can be found on the street for as little as $899, with the Pixel Slate for as little as $775, you can snag the entry-level Pixelbook Go for $649.

But then things get confusing, and needlessly so.

pixelbook go bottom
Ribbed backing is no gimmick and a useful way to improve grip on the Pixelbook Go

There are actually three versions of the Pixelbook Go. The $649 entry-level machine includes an 8th-gen m3 processor, 8GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a very sharp, glossy, 16:9, 1080p touch-enabled display. For an additional $200, you get the same beautiful magnesium chassis and display, plus a Core i5 processor and 128GB of storage. You can keep going, but, honestly, you probably should consider thees moves carefully. $1000 gets you an additional 8GB of RAM, and a top-of-the-line Pixelbook Go includes a 4K display, Core i7 processor, and 256GB of storage that will run you $1,400. Pro tip: $1,400 is a helluva lot of money for a Chromebook. If you're buying a Chromebook, that is if a Chromebook will do the job for you, you probably don't need to spend the extra money on more storage and higher-end displays. After all, you'll probably be working with fairly mainstream workloads with a Chromebook, and for most such undertakings, the basic Pixelbook Go will more than do the job.

Google sent us the $850 Core i5 / 128GB of storage model, and this evaluation will center on this variant that we feel will satisfy most Chromebook use cases with ease.

pixelbook go keyboard left

Pixelbook Go Test Unit Configuration Specs

  • Display: Glossy, touch-enabled 13.3-inch
  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-8200Y Dual-Core Processor
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB SSD
  • Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth
  • Power: 45W USB-C charger
  • Ports: (2) USB-C, headphone
  • Weight: 2.33 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 0.6 x 12.25 x 8.12 in.
Google's new Chromebook is available in only two colors: There is a jet black unit the company sent us to review and then something Google insists on calling "not pink." (Spoiler: It's pink.)

Weighing in at just a little over two and a quarter pounds, the Pixelbook Go we're testing has 8GB of RAM and a dual-core Intel Core i5 processor under its hood. Is that enough to get the job done for most of what you'd look for in a Chromebook? Let's look at the experiential side of things next...

The Pixelbook Go is a bit of an anomaly in Google's Pixelbook line: Neither a folding, swiveling 4-in-1 device like the original Google Pixelbook, nor a tablet like the Pixel Slate, the company's newest release is a traditional clamshell design, although one that features a touch-enabled display. It looks, feels, and behaves like a conventional laptop, but with its magnesium chassis, 1080p touchscreen, and quiet "Hush Keys," one that's small, light, feature-rich, and extremely well-made.


The new machine is also unusual in another way: It's affordable. Well, affordable for a Pixelbook, at any rate. While the original Pixelbook lists for $999 at the Google Store and the Slate starts at $799, you can snag the entry-level Pixelbook Go for $649.

But then things get confusing, and needlessly so.

There are actually three versions of the Pixelbook Go. The $649 entry-level machine includes an 8th-gen m3 processor, 8GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and an excellent glossy, 16:9, 1080p touch-enabled display. For an additional $200, you get the same beautiful magnesium chassis and display, plus an i5 processor and 128GB of storage. You can keep going, but, honestly, you shouldn't: $1000 gets you an additional 8GB of RAM, while the top-of-the-line Pixelbook Go includes a 4K display, an i7 processor, and 256GB of storage, and will run you $1,400. Pro tip: $1,400 is a hell of a lotta money for a Chromebook. If you're buying a Chromebook, that is, if a Chromebook will do the job for you, you probably don't need to spend the extra money on more storage, a fancier display, etc. After all, you'll probably doing fairly basic things with your Chromebook (not that you’re limited to that; see below), and for most such undertakings, the basic Pixelbook Go will more than do the job. Stick to the $850 version; even the $649 version will more than suffice in most cases. (Google sent us the $850 i5 model, so this review will center on that.)

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