If you thought Google’s laptop days were over, think again. Though Google shifted the Pixel name to smartphones, the company is resurrecting the notion of a high-end Chromebook in the Pixelbook. Designed to encompass the features of a laptop, tablet, and smartphone, the Pixelbook is a zany take on what Google believes is the future of laptop computing.
The Pixelbook is strikingly thin, measuring in at just 10.3mm thick. That design is astonishing in its own right, but even moreso when you consider that the Pixelbook utilizes a 4-in-1 design with a rotating hinge, allowing it to be used as a laptop or tablet in a variety of positions. To complement the sleek form factor, a 12.3-inch display stretches across the device, offering full touch support and a high resolution of 2400×1600.
Inside the Pixelbook is far more power than one usually finds in a Chromebook. Users can choose between a 7th gen. Intel Core i5 or i7 processor that’s paired with 8GB or 16GB of RAM. And though Chromebooks typically rely on cloud storage, Google is offering the Pixelbook with 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of solid state storage. In short, this is a device that’s built to perform.
But where is all that power being expended? The Pixelbook runs lightweight Chrome OS, which is designed to function on budget hardware. It does, however, have a few tricks up its sleeve. For starters, the Google Assistant has found a home in the Pixelbook, allowing users to say “Ok, Google” or press the Assistant key to access its many functions. Google Play apps are also available on the Pixelbook as part of Google’s efforts to expand the app offerings for Chrome OS users.
Another unique feature is the Pixelbook Pen, which is a smart stylus that rivals Microsoft’s Surface Pen. Google touts that the Pixelbook Pen uses machine learning for handwriting, with a low latency of just 10 milliseconds to make writing feel natural. With angular awareness and 2,000 levels of pressure sensitivity, it also has potential as a powerful drawing and design tool.
All of that power comes at a steep price. The Pixelbook is now available in the US with a starting price of $999 and going up to $1649 for the most powerful model. On top of that, the Pixelbook Pen is sold separately for an additional $99, tacking an even higher cost on for the additional features that it offers.
Though it’s hard to see a scenario in which the Pixelbook is successful, it may find a small market of dedicated fans. More than anything, it’s a concept device that lays out Google’s vision for the future of laptop computing. It may not sell in volume, but when a company is as large as Google, that’s not always necessary.