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Google Pixelbook: The 12IN Chromebook for Everyone

Chromebooks of recent have blown up, both in sales and popularity. Despite their limited functionality (as preached by many from the Windows and Mac side), these Google-run laptops and notebooks have been aimed at the users who want a light, really simple OS that lets them perform everyday tasks minus the loading times, booting times and whatnot that plague Windows or Mac PCs. They run on Chrome OS, which is really nifty and optimized for the laptop, contributing to its high daily usability factor. However, with them being discontinued, you can now get that versatile little device for the low, albeit being a bit used. 

With us being conditioned to use either Macs or Windows PC (Linux for the tech-savvy), you might be wondering what contributed to the Chromebook’s popularity and acceptance within the general public. Well for one, they offer just the alternative to the very dominated OS market and perform incredibly well. For instance, Windows comes loaded with bloatware (applications that are very rarely or never used and you can’t delete or uninstall them either) and Mac too has its share of problems. However, Chromebooks run Chrome OS, which, as Google puts it, is the purest and most optimized OS ever, and in many instances, it shows. 

The most recent iteration of the Chromebook is the Pixelbook series, named after Google’s line of Android smartphones of the same nomenclature (Google Pixel). The Pixelbook is basically a really fancy Chromebook; fancy being with upgraded internals, top-of-the-line hardware and top-spec software optimization that makes it a buttery smooth experience to use and play games on. The Google Pixelbook, as many who reviewed it have put it, is one of the most versatile pieces of hardware that you can buy for your money if you want to take a break from Windows 10 and macOS. This is what makes the Google Pixelbook such a hit among users; for heavy-duty work and gaming, you’ve got your Windows-powered workstations. For video-editing and whatnot, you’ve got your Macs. But for the everyday use, like watching YouTube, making a small presentation or writing a small note, the Pixelbook is the best. Its productivity, refined. 

However, the thing to keep in mind here is that the Google Pixelbook is not a viable alternative for things that we’ve come to expect from Windows or Mac. Sure, it has a 7th-Gen Intel i7 processor with 16GBs of RAM and a 512GB SSD, but, as many users will point out, it can still be outplayed by many Windows-operated powerhouses and workstations used to process monumental amounts of data. As explained beforehand, the best and most optimized use of the Pixelbook is home use, watching videos on YouTube, making a quick assignment on Google Docs or making a short presentation on Google Slides. Maybe a little bit of gaming, but certainly not Cyberpunk 2077 on 120FPS, maybe a bit of GTA 5 on 50FPS. That’s how much the Pixelbook is capable of.

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What is a Chromebook and why are they used?

A Chromebook is basically a really inexpensive alternate to Windows or mac-based PCs, with limited functionality and an increased focus on home use and less power-intensive tasking. They first came to the limelight with Google’s release of the first Chromebook back in 2011, in partnership with Acer and Samsung. Since then, Chromebooks have come a long way, starting from 32GB of HDD storage to 512 GBs of SSD storage today. Also, much like the Google’s Nexus series of phones, the Alphabet-owned internet powerhouse has taken up the manufacturing of the Chromebooks, turning the Chrome OS based notebooks into Pixelbooks.

And now, Pixelbooks have gone through a couple of generations, with the original one being phased out of production after 3 years, from 2017 to 2020, wherein it was replaced by its slightly smaller but more powerful brother Pixelbook Go, which, as the name suggests, is geared for the active user on the go. You could think of it as a Google tab permanently attached to a keyboard but with 360-degree flexibility for the screen. 

With the Google Pixelbook 12 inch, we’re not really sure of the status of it being discontinued, since the last of it we saw was when Google announced it was out of stock and suggested users to switch to the new Pixelbook Go, which strongly hinted that the Pixelbook was being replaced by the more user-friendly and portable Go version. Either way, now you can buy a Pixelbook for reduced price, on the second-hand market.

The Pixelbook and It’s Uses

The Pixelbook is essentially a new generation of Chromebooks that are vastly more powerful, have better computing abilities and can do various tasks in an instant. However, the Pixelbook has been aimed at users who want a more affordable alternative to Windows PC with moderate computing abilities, despite the fact that the base Pixelbook rocks a 7th-Gen i7 processor and 16 gigs of RAM. However, this is still not enough for power-intensive tasks, as determined by Google, who themselves say the product is geared for home usage, not enterprise usage. For enterprise, Windows is still the most reliable OS made to date. 

Much like Nexus and the Pixel smartphones, the Pixelbook is a representation of Google’s OS and hardware prowess and how users can benefit from a clean, unadulterated version of Android OS or Chrome OS. It is also a breath of fresh air and a welcome change from the Windows 10 and macOS PCs, which seem to populate the vast majority of the PC world. 

Gaming on the Google Pixelbook

The Google Pixelbook can also be used for gaming, which is clearly advertised by Google as they have paired it up with Stadia, their gaming service. And game, it can. With the specs mentioned above, any normal Windows PC would be able to play a host of games on very good graphic resolution, but this being more of a niche device with a new OS and limited functionalities is reserved for games made for either Stadia or Chrome OS and to be truthful, there aren’t much around at the moment. Nearly every game is out on three major platforms; PlayStation, Xbox and Windows PC. Chrome OS, unfortunately, is not among the developer’s priority right now and as such, will take some time to accumulate a games library.

But there are two sides to the gaming perspective on the Google Pixelbook 12 in version; Google itself says it can play mobile games or games available for Android devices optimized and ported for Chrome OS. However, with Stadia, a lot of games can now be played on the Pixelbook, which includes graphic-intensive games like Cyberpunk 2077, Red Dead Redemption 2 and a whole host of other multiplayer games like Call of Duty: Warzone. And while the Pixelbook has the grunt to run these games, it is difficult to actually play them owing to the graphical limitations of the notebook, owing much to the cooling issues and the graphic card issue. Pixelbook, being a notebook, has little heat sinks and heat-dispersion systems, meaning only the first 10 or 20 minutes of gaming will be fun, the rest will be somewhat rage-inducing. Nevertheless, you can play mobile games on it and do tasks that don’t require much processing power or graphic processing. 

Reviews of the Google Pixelbook 12IN

Considering the regular dimensions of a Windows-based notebook, the screen size and general real estate it occupies will always be small, with the point of contention especially being the small screen size; laptops have regularly boasted screens in the 15- or 16-inch category, some even go beyond that with 17- or 18-inch screens with reduced bezels. With a notebook, screen size will always be an issue and the Google Pixelbook is no different. The 12-inch Pixelbook at time, feels inadequate, especially when you’ve just gotten up from a 55-inch flat screen or a 16-inch laptop at work. However, with the trade-off comes some good news; since the screen is 12-inches only, a higher density ppi (pixels-per-inches) ratio can be seen in notebooks; the Pixelbook boasts a ppi count much higher than that of laptops with 16- or 17-inch displays.

Don’t let the small screen discourage you from buying a Pixelbook though; the work it is supposed to do is crisp and very colorful on the screen and the YouTube or movie video you will watch on it will be certainly better than most IPS LCD displays. But the main game is in the reviews, and they have been mostly positive, owing to the overall small package of the device and the very good usability of both the hardware and the ChromeOS.

Whether or not an affordable ChromeOS-based device is your cup of tea, the Google Pixelbook 12 inch is definitely worthy of a look, a try. For the consumer who wants a home-based device that doesn’t cost much but still packs a potent punch, the Pixelbook 12 inch and the Pixelbook Go are the best devices anyone can buy at a certain price point. 

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Google Pixelbook 12-Inch Specifications

The Google Pixelbbok 12 inch comes in a variety of specs, all of which sport the newest and the most powerful processor from Intel’s range of i5 and i7 processors and SSDs, which are far better and faster than regular HDD that were the technology of yesterday. Some salient features of the Google Pixelbook are,

  • CPU: 1.3GHz (for Core i5) with threading option, boosted upto 3.9GHz. (Dual-core processor, 4MB cache)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, all 7th gen. 
  • RAM: 8GB, 16GB (for i5 processors) and 16GB for i7 processor (All are LPDDR3).
  • ROM: SSD NVM Express, 512GB (i7, 16GB RAM version) and 256GB SSD NVMe (i5, 8GB RAM version).
  • Display type: IPS LCD (Liquid Crystal Display).
  • Display features: 72 per cent NTSC colour gamut with Corning Gorilla protection.
  • Display size: 31.2cm (12 inches) diagonally, 1920×1080 resolution, 166ppi density.
  • Touchscreen functionality: Yes, supports tablet mode with multi-touch.
  • Battery: 41Wh, Li-ion cell with 10-hour run-time. 
  • Ports: 2 USB-C ports, 1 headphone/ microphone 3.5mm multipurpose jack.
  • Sensors and features: Ambient light sensors, 3-axis accelerometer, magnetometer and hall sensor. Supports fast-charging.
  • Design: 360-degree flip design with advanced hinge mechanism with aluminium build and thin, light notebook chassis. 

Google Pixelbook Pricing 

As mentioned beforehand, the Pixelbook is a budget-friendly alternative to Windows or Macs that routinely exceed $1500 or $2000. The Pixelbook offers the same kind of hardware at a very affordable price range and with Google’s instalment plan, the Pixelbook can be yours for as low as $27 a month. The pricing options are as follows,

  • Google Pixelbook 12-in with Core i5 (8GB, 256GB) version: $849
  • Google Pixelbook 12-in with Core i5 (16GB, 256GB) version: $999
  • Google Pixelbook 12-in with Core i7 (16GB, 512GB with 4K resolution support) version: $1399.

As it is evident, the top-of-the-line Pixelbook is way below the starting point for new Core i7-equipped Windows PC’s, which start somewhere north of $1500 and can cross $2000 when you spec them yourselves, with your choice of parts. The Google Pixelbook offers the same amount of performance and better daily usability and speed for much less, which makes it the perfect option for any person looking for a really inexpensive laptop that does all the hard, heavy work without breaking the bank. The Pixelbook is Google’s solution to Apple’s overcharging and Window’s bloatware and safety, security issues. 

The Google Pixelbook 12IN in a Nutshell

To cut this long story short, the Google Pixelbook 12 in is the ultimate in cost-efficient laptops. It certainly may have its advantages and its fair share of disadvantages, of which the latter are very loudly pointed out by the Windows and Mac people, but the fact stays the same. For home use, where you don’t need a humongous amount of processing or graphical processing power and you prioritize ease of use and battery, the Pixelbook is surprisingly reliable and cheap. It makes other PCs feel a bit outdated when you consider its beautiful shape and good quality construction materials.

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