Hardware

Google Pixelbook: Everything the pros need to know

The Google Pixelbook offers impressive storage, automatic tethering, and seamless integration between Google Apps and Google Assistant. Learn more about the thin, lightweight, and foldable Chromebook.

Google has unveiled the Pixelbook, and the Chromebook is a serious laptop option for business users. Not only is the hardware specced out to make Chrome OS lightning fast, the hardware is impeccably designed to rival any convertible laptop on the market.

This smart person's guide is a quick way to get up to speed on the Google Pixelbook. We'll update this resource periodically when there is new information about the Google Pixelbook to share.

SEE: All of TechRepublic's smart person's guides

Executive summary

  • What is the Google Pixelbook? The Google Pixelbook is the latest high-performance Chromebook that can be used as a laptop, a tablet, or a standup hybrid.
  • Why does the Google Pixelbook matter? The Google Pixelbook is ideal for any user that needs seamless Google Apps and Google Assistant integration on flagship-level hardware.
  • Who does the Google Pixelbook affect? The Google Pixelbook affects any Chromebook user looking for the highest quality hardware and performance to match the best mobile hardware on the market.
  • When is the Google Pixelbook available? The Google Pixelbook is available for purchase now in the US, UK, and Canada.
  • How do I get a Google Pixelbook? Point your browser to the Google Store to buy it online.

SEE: IT hardware procurement policy (Tech Pro Research)

google-pixelbook-high-performance.png
Image: Google

What is the Google Pixelbook?

At the October 4, 2017 Made by Google event, Matt Vokoun, director of hardware product management at Google, said:

"Pixelbook reimagines the laptop experience by mirroring the best parts of premium performance hardware, the speed, simplicity, and security of Chrome OS, the smarts of Google Assistant, and all your favorite apps."

Imagine a Chromebook as if it were a mixture of a Macbook Pro and a Microsoft Surface with a bit of ninja in its DNA—that's the Pixelbook. It's thin (only .39 inches thick) and light (2.2 pounds) and works in laptop, tablet, or tented mode. The Pixelbook has business-class hardware with a spec sheet that includes:

  • CPU: Intel core i5 or i7
  • RAM: 8 or 16 GB
  • Internal storage: 128 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB
  • Battery: 10 hours on a single charge

The size of the internal storage should raise the eyebrows of any Chromebook user. Considering the original Chromebook Pixels maxed out at 64 GB of internal storage, the Google Pixelbook takes Chrome OS to new levels of offline usage.

Beyond that spec sheet, you'll find a 12.3" touchscreen and a soft touch, backlit keyboard that rivals the Macbook Pro. New to the Google flagship Chromebook is the Pixelbook Pen, a smart stylus that allows users to interact with items on the screen. For example, a user can circle an image or text, and Google Assistant will immediately offer information about what is selected. The Pixelbook Pen uses machine learning for handwriting recognition and works as a standard stylus, so users can write, draw, or take notes when in tablet mode.

SEE: How we learned to talk to computers, and how they learned to answer back (PDF download) (TechRepublic)

Another very important feature that will be of interest to business users is the automatic tethering. If you find yourself in a location without access to a wireless access point, the Pixelbook will automatically tether itself to your Google Pixel phone. Note: This feature only works with either a Pixel or Pixel 2 smartphone.

Google's new Pixelbook includes two USB-C ports that support fast charging from a 45W charger. Google claims the device can reach two hours worth of charge in 15 minutes.

The Pixelbook includes a glass shade on the back of the screen—the Wi-Fi antenna resides in that shade, and the result is a much-improved wireless signal.

The Google Pixelbook can be purchased in these configurations:

  • Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB Internal storage: $999.00 USD
  • Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB Internal storage: $1,199.00 USD
  • Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB Internal storage: $1,649.00

The Pixelbook Pen is purchased separately for $99.00 USD.

Additional resources

Why does the Google Pixelbook matter?

The Pixelbook is the first Chrome OS device to include Google Assistant; this should be a major selling point for business users because it's a best in class digital assistant. The Pixelbook has a dedicated button for Google Assistant. One of Google Assistant's nifty new tricks is if you talk to the Pixelbook on Assistant, it will talk back; if you type a question to Assistant, it will reply silently. This out-of-the-box feature would be useful in the workplace.

Any app available on Google Play can be installed on the Pixelbook; this will be a boon for business users that need more functionality than what the traditional Chrome OS offers. Plus, true productivity apps, including WPS Office, Polaris Office, and Evernote, are at the ready.

The Pixelbook Pen has seamless integration with Google Assistent. With the press of a button on the pen, Assistant mode is enabled, and the user can select an image or text on the screen and Google Assistant will provide information about it.

With the flagship-level hardware, Chrome OS will boot in seconds, making it possible for a user to start working with their Chromebook in the time it would take a user with a Windows or macOS laptop to log in to their machine. And, as with all Chromebooks, seamless integration into Google Apps is a no-brainer.

Additional resources

Who does the Google Pixelbook affect?

These are the target users for the Google Pixelbook:

  • Business users who require the utmost efficient computing platform possible;
  • Students who want to purchase a Chromebook that won't be obsolete by their last year of school; and
  • Home users who need a simple platform without simplistic hardware.

Basically, anyone who enjoys the simplicity of Chrome OS, but would like more power than the standard Chromebook, or longs for high-quality hardware, will want the Google Pixelbook. The speed of the hardware, the simplicity of Chrome OS, and the added efficiency of Google Assistant makes for a combination that will improve the way nearly any user works. And with the additional local storage, working offline won't suffer the same constraints found on lesser hardware.

Additional resources

When will the Google Pixelbook be released?

The Google Pixelbook was announced October 4, 2017 and is available to purchase through the Google Store in the US, UK, and Canada. The first and second-generation Pixels sold out rather quickly, so anyone who wants a Google Pixelbook might want to order one sooner rather than later. As of now, it looks like the devices will ship in 4-5 weeks.

Additional resources

How can I get a Google Pixelbook?

Purchasing a Google Pixelbook is as simple as heading over to the Google Store, configuring the device to meet your needs (CPU, RAM, storage), adding the Pixelbook Pen to your shopping cart if you want one, and clicking Buy. The Google Pixelbook can also be purchased at Best Buy or Amazon (only the i5 version is available on Amazon at the time of this writing).

SEE: Google Pixelbook: When is Chrome OS getting real Android apps so I can do real work? (ZDNet)

What are the main competitors to the Google Pixelbook?

The Google Pixelbook has a number of competitors—some of which are powered by Chrome OS, others that are powered by competing OSes—though these are the main ones business users should know.

Also see

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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