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The Pixelbook Go Can Do More Than You’d Expect

I relied at the Chromebook — even at paintings — for every week. It labored nice.

Owen Williams

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

When Google introduced the Pixelbook Go in October, many complained it gave the impression too dear for a Chromebook, with costs beginning at $649.

That’s as a result of Chromebooks have in most cases been seen as light-weight computer systems which are positive for gazing Netflix at house, however aren’t nice for paintings. They run a Google-built working device referred to as ChromeOS, and since they’re optimized for the information superhighway — constructed to run Google’s browser Chrome as temporarily as imaginable with out zapping the battery — they don’t come with any desktop apps like Excel, Visual Studio Code, or fotoshop.

But I feel this recognition is a little bit unfair. After depending completely at the Pixelbook Go for every week, I’m satisfied that it’s a lot more robust than it will get credit score for.

Google has located the Pixelbook as a “go-there, do-that” computer with a battery that lasts all day and lightweight sufficient to throw right into a bag and take in all places. As a supervisor dragging round a chonky 15-inch MacBook between conferences all day, it was once an alluring promote for me. I dived in head-first, trying out out the black model of the Pixelbook Go with an i5 processor and 8 GB of RAM.

Because I used to be switching to the Pixelbook Go from a MacBook Pro with the failure-prone butterfly keyboard, the very first thing I spotted is the Go’s keyboard. It’s an absolute pleasure and one of the nicest computer keyboards I’ve ever used, with a refreshing “clacky” really feel. The remainder of the pc rings a bell in my memory of the black plastic MacBooks a decade in the past — extraordinarily mild, with out a lot branding.

When you first boot up a Chromebook, you check in with a Google account. If you’ve used Chrome ahead of, all of your setup will sync at the tool, with your entire extensions and subject matters as you left them.

Many folks already reside in browsers all day lengthy, and I discovered switching to an internet laptop to be rather painless. The corporate the place I paintings makes use of Google’s cloud products and services and web-based gear just like the design provider Figma. That made transitioning to a Chromebook a lot more straightforward.

For with reference to the entire different tool I exploit ceaselessly, I used to be satisfied to be informed, I didn’t actually want desktop apps in any respect. Instead, Chrome can create desktop apps that run in their very own home windows identical to a desktop app the usage of a generation referred to as “Progressive Web Apps.”

When I visited Twitter, as an example, I discovered an “set up” button that added the app to my dock. Later, I may use the icon to release Twitter in a devoted window that felt like a local app. Any Twitter hyperlinks I clicked on in Chrome opened within the app as an alternative.

Image courtesy of the writer.

For products and services and not using a information superhighway app, I put in the Android counterpart from the Google Play Store as an alternative. That method, as an example, I may run the whole cell model of Telegram from my computer, and even fan the flames of the similar Instagram app I’d use on my telephone.

ChromeOS is a little bit rougher across the edges when you want to make use of a heavier app, reminiscent of while you’re coding.

For programmers, Google gives a distinct transfer within the settings merely referred to as “Linux.” Flipping this on makes it imaginable to put in any Debian Linux bundle (reminiscent of the ones constructed for Ubuntu) from the web, together with Visual Studio Code, or even complete construction environments reminiscent of Docker.

I used to be ready to code and check my PHP-based aspect initiatives proper inside of ChromeOS, which was once a wonder. I had assumed that complicated workflows weren’t imaginable on a Chromebook.

While the Linux transfer works positive for information superhighway builders, ChromeOS may nonetheless actually use a Google-built robust code editor or design device that runs within the browser. Linux toughen for the prevailing workaround continues to be in beta, every now and then inflicting apps to get caught launching or now not paintings correctly.

The most enjoyable a part of the usage of the Pixelbook Go was once more effective: The battery simply helps to keep on going, all day lengthy. It doesn’t get sizzling like a MacBook, nor are there any noisy lovers to fan the flames of.

While my check tool simplest had the i5 processor with 8 GB of RAM, it felt greater than good enough as a rule for my day task. Though I will have to notice that the 1080p display screen felt underwhelming and restricted how a lot may well be at the show directly.

If you’re making plans to head all-in at the Pixelbook Go, I’d counsel upgrading to the i7 type, which comes with 16 GB of RAM and a 4K display screen, and is a lot more succesful in case you are making plans to push it for complicated duties like coding.

It’s the simplicity of ChromeOS, paired having the ability to care for extra complicated duties if you want, this is the wonderful thing about the Pixelbook Go: It simply works, and it appears like a contemporary take at the laptop with the information superhighway at its center.