I remember when Google Chrome came out of nowhere and completely pulled the rug out from under Internet Explorer and Firefox. Then, Android stormed from zero to half of the phone market in almost no time at all. Then, we got Chrome OS. A Google polished version of Linux, for the low-power machine that you let your kids use when Daddy needs the real computer. And not much more. Could that change though? The Pixelbook is a laptop with main rig specs and premium design with a price to match but is Chrome OS ready for that kind of responsibility now? No. No, it’s not. And our argument for why is brought to you by Tunnelbear. Tunnelbear makes it easy to privately and securely Browse a more open Internet to try Tunnelbear for free go to tunnelbear.com/LTT linked below Right out of the gate the Pixelbook’s design is polarizing. Some people really like the two-tone back while others think it is outright ugly. But what I think everyone can agree on is the build quality. It is excellent and it’s super portable too at only ten millimeters thick, and 2.4 pounds. Honestly the list kind of goes on from here. The screen and the hinge feels solid, the aluminum chassis is rigid and it stays firmly planted where you put it down whether it’s on the table or on your lap due to the large rubber surface on the bottom. I/O-wise yeah, it’s pretty good for something this thin. I mean yeah, you’ll need USB-C dongles for your- well, most of what you own, But, they both charge the device giving you the option to plug into either side and, it also includes a headphone jack. Which is no longer a given on Pixel devices. Spec wise, our config is pretty much perfect for web browsing and light productivity. It’s a Core i5 dual core with eight gigs of ram and a 256 gig SSD, but you can get it with up to a core i7 and 512 gigs of NVME solid-state storage. And the quality of the hardware extends to the glass-top trackpad which has an excellent feel, and after a bit of sensitivity tuning, is actually pretty close to MacBook level good. And the keyboard, which is solidly built with a light crisp feel to the switches that I really enjoyed. I was easily able to get up to speed and typing on it would be amazing except for three things. One: The lack of a dedicated Delete key and home and end keys, can be worked around with alt backspace and this handy re-mapper tool, but are still annoying emissions. Two: While the rubber wrist rest material feels nice, It is easy for the heel of your hand to end up on the corner between the rubber and the aluminum making it uncomfortable after a pretty short time. And three: The inclusion of a Google Assistant button seems pretty cool in theory, but unless you operate a keyboard and trackpad pretty slowly, voice recognition might not be faster for a lot of things. So I’d have personally preferred a function key with secondary functionality for some of the others. The Pixelbook has a productivity oriented 3×2 aspect ratio IPS display with a bright backlight and vibrant colors. It’s 2400 by 1600 resolution gives you nice sharp text. And there’s lots of room for vertical scrolling content in your web browser. (Which is good because it basically runs a web browser.) And there are great big bezels that give it a bit of a 2016 rather than 2017 look But, I understand why they’re there since you got to put your finger somewhere in tablet mode. Which I guess brings us perfectly to tablet mode. It’s a tablet, I guess. But like not as good as a regular one, so- Anything that you would do in the Chrome browser on your Android tablet is fine. But while theoretically you can install Android apps on Chrome OS, a lot of the ones that we installed had issues ranging from not rescaling correctly for the display to just not working at all. So, We’d strongly recommend an Android tablet if you want to install Android apps – and it’ll run Chrome too. – And furthermore, This one might seem like a pretty petty complaint, but the included touch keyboards issues made the tablet experience Markedly worse. Like why would I ever want to type like this? The shift key inexplicably defaults to some stupid Jaden Smith capitalize-all-the-first-letters mode. And why would I want two spaces when I go back and change a word? I assumed that it would just be the same Google keyboard as Android. but it’s not! And making matters worse, at this time third-party keyboards like SwiftKey aren’t supported. And I mean while we’re at it, the camera is a bit of a disappointment too. I mean it’s not unusable, but I was expecting something in line with the front shooter on the Pixel 2 – For you know crystal-clear video calls isn’t that the whole Pixel branding? Instead what I got was a very soft image, some exposure issues and an included app that doesn’t support recording video! We had to do this through some janky website! It also lacks cool features like face recognition like Windows Hello, or a fingerprint scanner for easy unlocking. Though, if you have a supported Android phone, you can use that to unlock it instead- Unless like me you find it faster to just type in your password than to pull something out of your pocket. And The frustrations just keep coming. This script had to be written in Google Docs because our template for Word crashes Office Online for some reason on this device. File system navigation feels like an afterthought. There’s no back or upper-level buttons. The hardware back key doesn’t work and copy pasting our network drive wouldn’t work. The display scaling is weird and doesn’t actually report useful things like the resolution or scaling percentage. Honestly, the rest of this video could easily be just a boring list of other nit-picky things that, I think will wear on you the same way they did on us Every time you try and be legitimately productive on your Pixelbook. So I won’t bore you with that instead, I want to talk about the possibility then of using a different OS on this device to address them. Because the hardware is ‘Dope’ as the kids say. Windows is locked out at a BIOS level so no luck there. But ,I found this great Lifehacker tutorial for some kind of kick-ass Linux switching functionality. Where you can actually have both OS’s booted even, and then just switch between them. And it works! Sort of, so you switch by hitting ctrl+shift+alt+back, so we’re good so far, but then in Linux the trackpad sucks. And, because of the high resolution display, the icons are super small with, at least in this distro, fairly limited scaling options. So, with this guide, for free by the way, you’ve got the option then of a polished, but somewhat kneecapped experience. Or, a Kind of broken or requires a lot of tweaking Linux experience, that at least lets you do whatever you want. What would be pretty cool on a $200 Chromebook. The issue I have then is that for $1200 U.S you could have a Surface laptop, a MacBook Air, a ThinkPad, A Razer Blade Stealth, I don’t know. Any number of things that come with a real operating system. So, overall the Pixelbook is a sexy piece of hardware and My opinion design that is unfortunately let down by an OS that just isn’t versatile enough to justify the price tag. We love Google around here and we think that they’re doing a lot of cool things right now, but this just isn’t one of them. Speaking of cool things though, Squarespace! 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