Google’s relationship with its own Chrome OS hardware has been a peculiar one. While other OEMs regularly push out new Chromebooks for users with various budgets, Google continues to refresh its hardware just once a year. Until now, those updates have produced luxury Chromebooks with varying degrees of popularity: 2017’s Pixelbook won many hearts with its unique design, versatility as a convertible, and solid performance, while 2018’s Pixel Slate tablet was a decided flop.
For 2019, Google is again trying something a little different: the $ 649 Pixelbook Go, a more modest Chromebook with a starting price that many will find easier to stomach than the Pixelbook’s $ 999 price tag. While the Pixelbook Go may not be a luxury device, it’s not a dirt-cheap Chromebook either. It sits in a category of higher-end Chromebooks that’s getting more populated as companies including Acer, Asus, HP, and others make more capable devices.
The biggest draw of the Pixelbook Go is that it’s made by Google, and since we saw the company bring so much to the table with the Pixelbook, it’s fair to assume that the Pixelbook Go would offer something inherently Google-y that other OEMs can’t match. The company is hoping that X factor (along with a more affordable starting price) will bring Chrome OS lovers flocking to the Pixelbook Go. But after using the Pixelbook Go for almost a week, I found that, like most things in the consumer tech world, the reality is not that simple.