As the last major Android phone to launch this year, the Pixel 4 will arguably end 2019 with a blast. It won’t be alone on stage next week, however, and it will be joined by what could be the most divisive Chromebook in the history of Chromebooks. Because while Google is going back to the basics to focus on the essentials and offer a more portable Chromebook. But as this most complete leak of the Pixelbook Go proves, Google’s design decisions may not sit well with all Chromebook fans.
Initially targeted at students and office workers, Google is now positioning its next Chromebook as a device for productivity on the go, hence the name. Portability might mean different things to different people, like size, weight, power, etc. For Google, it seems to mean simplicity and a very odd rump.
The thing that will stand out the most about the Pixelbook Go, at least when held with its bottom facing out or up, is that bottom. Google took great pains to give that bottom a unique personality, a ridged and colorful one. That not only adds to the “grip” of that half of the Pixelbook but also makes it fit perfectly into the Pixel family of devices, all of which seem to follow a similar “dual color” design.
The Pixelbook Go is also simple in its overall design, which means less moving parts and fewer things to break when you carry it around. There’s no full-sized USB-A, for example, only two USB-C ports for data and charging. Curiously, there is a headphone jack, something Google has banished from its Pixel phones. There’s no Pixel Pen to lose either and, sadly, no compatibility with it. And despite the Titan C security chip, there was no fingerprint scanner to be found either.
The Pixelbook Go’s specs can be as basic as it can be without descending into mid-range territory. It uses the same formula Google used to make the very first Pixelbook a success. For some, that might be more than enough. For others, however, the larger 13.3-inch Pixelbook Go might be less portable than and less usable on the go than previous Google Chromebooks.