Why I pre-ordered the Pixelbook
Chromebooks are nice for low value gadgets, however because of this I’m selecting a Pixelbook as my subsequent laptop computer.
In early October, Google had an occasion to showcase all its newest . While most consideration was (rightly) centered on the new Pixel phones, I wasn’t too interested by these. They look good for positive, however my OnePlus 3T is working simply tremendous for now. I was way more interested by the Pixelbook: the new, ridiculously costly Chromebook.
But why? Chrome is nice on a low-cost system as a result of the easier working system will let that system carry out significantly better than an equal laptop computer working Windows. And there are already pseudo-flagships in the approach of the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 and Samsung Chromebook Plus and Pro, which hover round half the value of the entry mannequin Pixelbook. To be clear, I did order the entry degree Pixelbook with 128GB of storage, an Intel Core i5, and 8GB of RAM.
When I purchase a gadget, I strive my greatest to search out one thing that can serve a number of roles. A smartphone is an apparent instance in that it is also a digicam, a music participant, and the most convenient way to see pictures of adorable dogs. A conventional pill would fill most of those roles as effectively and can be even higher for sure duties like studying a novel. However, I favor proudly owning a convertible laptop computer as a substitute of a pill for studying, since I additionally want a laptop computer in my life. This yr, there have been loads of convertible Chromebooks at totally different value factors, together with at the entry degree. While a extra highly effective Chromebook may be a little bit smoother, a lower-end Chromebook would not be objectively dangerous.
Why not different working programs?
But why hassle with a Chromebook that begins at $1,000? Why purchase that over a MacBook Air or Surface Laptop and simply set up the Chrome browser? Those laptops would be capable of run the Chrome browser and likewise run “real programs.” I have not used macOS at any level in my life, and whereas it is all the time good to develop my horizons, there is not something I would wish to do on a MacBook that I could not do on a comparable Windows laptop computer. I’m not tied into the Apple ecosystem in any respect, however I nonetheless used a Windows laptop computer again when I owned an iPhone.
On a associated observe, I additionally thought-about shopping for a 12.9-inch iPad Pro earlier this yr, however the lack of mouse assist and Apple’s use of Lightning as a substitute of USB-C for charging put me off. The Pixelbook begins at $50 greater than the iPad Pro 12.9, and for that value, it features a actual keyboard (the iPad Pro keyboard is a further $169 over the base value), mouse assist, a desktop browser with full extension assist, and USB-C for charging. Tablet apps are going to be miles higher on the iPad in comparison with Android apps on Chrome, however I solely use three apps and the different components greater than make-up for that.
In my day job, I handle Windows desktops and laptops, in addition to Chrome gadgets for a healthcare-focused non-profit. If I needed to guess, I’d say 75% of our gadgets are Chromebooks or Chromeboxes, however a overwhelming majority of my time is spent dealing with the Windows computer systems. It sounds cliché, however the Chrome gadgets simply work. Updates are good and seamless and do not harass our customers the similar approach Windows updates do. And the Chromebook or Chromebox is rebooted inside seconds because of the approach updates work on Chrome.
I actually by no means fear a couple of Chrome system being contaminated with malware or a virus, as a result of by and enormous they cannot. There absolutely are exploits for Chrome devices, however they’re much, a lot much less more likely to happen than an exploit for Windows.
That expertise performed out when I used a Windows laptop computer in my private life. There was all the time one thing lower than nice about the expertise. This ranged from Bluetooth issues on one laptop computer to inconsistent battery life on one other to sleep/wake points on one other. None of those are insurmountable, however they’re additionally points I by no means confronted on any of the Chromebooks I used. When I open a Chromebook, the screens come on. When I go to pair a Bluetooth mouse, it pairs. When I’m sick in mattress and watching Netflix, the battery lasts simply so long as different instances I binge watch my favourite reveals.
I love this consistency that comes with utilizing a Chromebook, and I by no means discovered the similar consistency on any of the Windows laptops I used over the course of 10 years earlier than I switched to a Chromebook. For what I wish to do on a laptop computer, Chrome has greater than sufficient energy, whereas remaining constant and fulfilling to make use of.
Android purposes are one other key level for me. I can learn from my Comixology or Play Books assortment inside an online browser, however that have is…lower than clean. Similarly, I could emulate Android applications on any Windows device, however even on high-end Windows laptops that is simply clunky. I solely use three Android purposes on my Chromebook: Play Books, Comixology and Polarr, however they’re companies I love utilizing each day.
What about different Chromebooks?
But once more, lower-end Chromebooks also run Android apps. So why spend $1,000 on a Chromebook? That reply is more likely to differ for each purchaser, however for me it comes right down to the proven fact that different Chromebooks do not have all the options I need. I spent most of this yr with the Asus Chromebook Flip C302, and it was nice. With the exception of the odd task that required a chunk of Windows software program, the second half of my Bachelor of Science in Information Technology was accomplished on a Chromebook. My programs have been accomplished on-line, which actually helped.
At the similar time, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides have gotten significantly better over the years, and I assume most customers can be completely snug utilizing these rather than Word, Excel or Powerpoint. I nonetheless did most of my tutorial writing inside Microsoft Office for formatting causes (and my college gave everybody an Office 365 license), however I would have been simply at residence inside Google’s apps.
Other Chromebooks did not have the mixture of options I desired. The Pixelbook does.
The Asus C302 is a unbelievable laptop computer, however a fairly terrible pill. The 16:9 ratio and heavier weight make the system cumbersome to carry as a pill, even with two arms. A three:2 ratio display screen feels way more like a pill, whereas not sacrificing usability when the system is getting used as a laptop computer. I tried a Samsung Chromebook Plus — which has a three:2 show — when it was launched earlier this yr, however the lack of a backlit keyboard killed it for me. I not too long ago bought my Asus C302 and picked up one other Samsung Chromebook Plus as a result of I’ve been doing extra studying. It works effectively, and it’s certainly snug to make use of a pill. But the lack of a backlit keyboard nonetheless hampers the system in my thoughts.
If that have been the solely flaw of that mannequin (and its brother, the Chromebook Pro) I’d take care of it. But the keyboard is a bit cramped, the trackpad is not nice, and it maxes out at 32GB of inside storage. I have not seen or used the Pixelbook in particular person like a few of my colleagues, so the first two points might be current on that system. While Chromebooks have not traditionally wanted plenty of storage, with Android apps that equation adjustments. I would not thoughts if the Chromebook Plus had 64GB of storage, however 32GB is simply too small if I wish to obtain a bunch of flicks from Netflix or Plex, or if I set up any video games. An SD card or USB drive cannot combine with Android apps on Chrome but, and even when they did I’m undecided if the slower learn speeds on the card would nonetheless permit for a clean person expertise.
At the time of writing, a model new Chromebook Plus goes for $437 on Amazon. Somewhat greater than twice the value nets me 4 instances as a lot inside storage, extra RAM (which I actually do not want) and a wonderful backlit keyboard.
There are different elements of the Pixelbook that I’m positive will probably be good however did not issue into my buying choice. The design seems to be unbelievable, however the Asus and Samsung Chromebooks look unbelievable as effectively. I’m positive the pen works very well, however I’m not a pen person. I do not at present plan on shopping for the pen, and I’m glad it wasn’t included so it would not drive up the value of the laptop computer itself. With my cellphone near me always, I’m not too involved with Assistant being on every other system. It additionally will not be lengthy earlier than Assistant comes to each Chromebook as a result of Google desires Assistant on as many gadgets as attainable.
I additionally do not intend besides into a special taste of Linux, however I’m positive it will work splendidly for those who wish to do this. While there have been rumors of Chrome being able to run virtual machines inside the browser, I’m not shopping for this primarily based on what it could or could not do sometime. If that functionality does come out, I’ll almost certainly give it a strive earlier than by no means utilizing it once more.
I’m not going to attempt to persuade anybody to expire and purchase a Pixelbook. Any decrease priced Chromebook will carry out simply as properly and can get options like Assistant afterward. There are sure items of software program that others legitimately want that are not absolutely featured on Chrome, or simply aren’t out there in the first place. I nonetheless have a Windows desktop at residence that’s my gaming, media conversion, and Plex server machine, and it is not going wherever anytime quickly. I personally love utilizing Chrome on a convertible laptop computer, and I’m positive the Pixelbook will probably be the Chromebook I love the most.