Pixelbook Go vs. Pixelbook: How Google’s two Chromebooks compare

The Pixelbook Go is cheaper than the Pixelbook, but is it a better laptop?

Google just launched the new Pixelbook Go, the follow-up to the popular Pixelbook. Both are Chrome OS devices, though they land in slightly different price ranges and offer some important distinguishing features.

Although the Pixelbook Go hasn’t yet launched, we’ll be comparing the specifications of the laptops to see all the ways Google has changed the product.

Design

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It should be noted that the Pixelbook Go doesn’t seem to have replaced the original Pixelbook. The Go is a 13.3-inch clamshell laptop, while the Pixelbook is a smaller 12.3-inch 2-in-1 with a 360-degree hinge. The screen shape is a little different as well, with the Pixelbook offering 3:2 aspect ratio with a higher screen resolution, while the Go has a more conventional 16:9 1080p screen. We tend to prefer the boxier shape of the Pixelbook, allowing for a larger view of your content.

A 4K Pixelbook Go is said to be on the way, though it’s not currently available.

Both devices have some chunky bezels, though the Pixelbook Go has at least trimmed some off the side.

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Arif Bacchus / Digital Trends

The most obvious difference between the two laptops is in the materials. The original Pixelbook is made of an elegant mix of glass and aluminum. It was extremely rigid in the hand and featured a unique two-tone design on the lid and keyboard deck.

The Pixelbook Go has a much simpler design but features some interesting flourishes as well. The bottom of the laptop is a bumpy texture that Google says makes it easier to grip and carry. It’s made out of magnesium, a light but less luxurious material.

One of the best new features of the Pixelbook Go is the new speakers. They are located right on the keyboard deck, which is better situated for providing clearer audio directly to your ears.

Both devices feature the same options for ports, just two USB-C ports — one on either side.

Performance

Both the Pixelbook Go and Pixelbook use Intel Y-series processors, which allow for a completely fanless design on the inside. That doesn’t mean they’re slow or underpowered, though. For Chromebooks, the Pixelbooks represent the high-end in terms of performance because of how light and efficient Chrome OS is.

There is an important difference though. The Pixelbook still uses seventh-generation Intel chips, while the Pixelbook Go is on the eighth generation. You shouldn’t expect a huge difference in performance, but the Pixelbook Go may be a bit quicker when matched in configurations.

The other difference is that the Pixelbook Go is offered in a Core m3 starting model with 4GB of RAM, whereas the Pixelbook starts at Core i5.

Both devices can be configured all the way up to Core i7 and 16GB of RAM.

Portability

The Pixelbook and Pixelbook Go are nearly matched in terms of size and portability. The Pixelbook Go is a bit lighter at just two pounds, but the Pixelbook is a bit thinner.

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Arif Bacchus / Digital Trends

In terms of battery life, though the Pixelbook Go may have a leg up. Google says the Pixelbook Go features a 15% larger battery, which should help out with longevity. Twelve hours is the exact claim from Google, though we’ll need to confirm that with actual battery tests. The Pixelbook already had good battery life, but it looks like the Go may beat it out.

For the upcoming 4K model, Google even says it’s using a LTPS (low-temperature polycrystalline silicon) panel to ensure that battery life stays high.

The Pixelbook Go is no Pixelbook 2

The most important feature of the Pixelbook Go is its price. One of the biggest hang-ups with the original Pixelbook has always been its $999 starting price. It was always a bit outside what the average person expected to pay for a Chromebook.

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Daven Mathies/Digital Trends

Google knows that, which is why the Pixelbook Go starts at just $649. That’ll make it a fantastic purchase for students and those who just need a cheap laptop for basic needs.

When you get into the higher configurations of the Go, the choice is trickier. The 4K model comes in only one configuration, a $1,399 model with a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage.

Apples to apples, the Pixelbook Go is really only $150 cheaper than the Pixelbook. That’s likely not enough dissuade those who were looking for a serious sequel to the Pixelbook. With its different design and cheap build quality, the Pixelbook will remain the go-to for high-end Chromebooks, while the Pixelbook Go seems more fit for its cheaper configurations only.

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