With the Pixelbook now dropping to $750 is it the Chromebook to get?
Let’s break down the specs of the Pixelbook. First we will start with the processor, which job is to handle and run different programs. The more cores you have in a processor the faster it can work. This has a 7th generation Intel Core i5. This is a similar processor found on the Macbook 12 (retailing at $1400), Dell Latitude 7280 notebook (retailing at $1500), and other devices. To note Intel’s newest generation processors are currently in the 8th generation.
For RAM we have 8GB of RAM. Now RAM (Random Access Memory) is used to temporarily store data. The more RAM the more info that a computer can handle at the same time. 8GB of RAM is more than enough for most computers that alone a chromebook.
128 GB of onboard storage which is twice that of modern smartphones. I have 64GB of data on my phone and am barely at 50%. With chromebooks saving a lot of its info to the cloud 128GB will go very far. In fact it will literally feel like you have more than you will ever use.
10 hours of battery life (likely closer to 8.5-9) and two USB-C ports. Now having two USB-C ports are good in the fact the charger is USB-C so you can charge up your chromebook from either side. This provides more flexibility for customers in where they work and store their device. The downfall is you will need to buy an adapter to plug in most of your peripherals. But you can find one for as little as $7 on Amazon.
Other features include a 12.3 inch display, 720P camera (which is eh….great for Skype calls but eh for making Youtube videos), backlit keyboard for typing in the dark, and will get the latest in software updates from Google (which is big for a device as software support in a device should be one of the criteria at the top of your list).
Overall this is a solid device but is this this device worth $750 when chromebooks are still working through the process of including Google Apps?
Before I answer let me present another device.
HP Chromebook x2
Let’s start with the processor which is powered by a 7th Gen Intel m3-7Y30. Now the m3 is generally slower than the i5 but is slightly better in battery life. For the average consumer on a chromebook you will not feel the difference. I played with both devices side by side and noticed that websites opened at the same time.
For RAM you have a choice between 4GB and 8GB option. But for now only the 4GB is available for purchase in stores. 32GB of onboard storage, 5MP front camera (5MP was what the OG Droid had back in the 2009 just to note), 13MP rear camera (not sure why a chromebook need a rear camera…would have been better to keep that camera in the front), two USB-C ports, and a 12.3 touchscreen display.
But what is key is that you can detach the screen from the keyboard and have a full tablet, hence the rear camera. Nice idea but for most people it will likely spend more time in the dock because of the weight. But all this for $599 (close to $630 out of the door if you include tax)
So with the Pixelbook having a better display, twice as much RAM, twice as much storage, and a better processor is it worth the extra $120 more for a chromebook?
Honestly that is a tough one. For one Chromebooks are a great secondary device but not something that can be standalone. What I mean about that is a standalone device is something you can use day to day without needing another device as a supplement. An example is a Macbook, it will do everything most people would need from a computer. It can go on the web, play music, run programs for editing music and videos, it can literally do almost everything.
Unfortunately that cannot be said about a chromebook. Though you can use Powerdirector as a video editor it is limited on chromebooks until apps can read SD Cards and external hard drives. Most professionals are not going to find it useful to complete day to day programs off the web. But it works great as a secondary device. Since most people now spend majority of their time on their computer online chromebooks will be able to provide the services for people wanting to stream videos, check emails, listen to music, and do research.
Because this is a secondary device people are not going to want to spend MacBook money on a chromebook. This is why the Pixelbook struggled to sell when it was originally prices at $1000. Considering there were other options out there that can do the same for cheaper, the Pixelbook did not do enough to distinguish themselves from the cheaper options on the market.
So between the two I would have to honestly wait for the Pixelbook to get cheaper or wait for another device. I like the HP Chromebook x2 for the detachable keyboard and said I would buy it back when it was first announced. But now seeing it in hand I just feel like it is too heavy of a device to enjoy as a tablet. And if I am going to buy it as a chromebook there are still too many better options between the Samsung Chromebook Plus and the Pixelbook. At this point if I am going to pay $630 for the HP chromebook x2 I will either pay a little more for the Pixelbook or wait.