Notebookcheck

Google Pixelbook Chromebook Review

The Chromebook poster child. The most expensive Chromebook available is unsurprisingly fast and very versatile. Just be prepared to bring all your USB Type-C adapters along for the trip.

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Chromebooks aren't for everyone. As detailed on our list of what Chromebooks can and cannot do, its environment does not cater to the everyday needs of most Windows or MacOS users and is instead made to serve as a SSH client with heavy dependence on Google's cloud services. As a result, Chromebooks are often very inexpensive since Chrome OS is laser-focused on web browsing and remote work. Recent examples include the Acer Chromebook 14, Lenovo Flex 11, and Lenovo ThinkPad 13 each retailing for less than half of Google's latest convertible.

A very small handful of Chromebooks can be as pricey as modern Ultrabooks. The HP Chromebook 13 G1 and Google Pixelbook are prime examples of the "extreme" side of Chromebooks with their classier aluminum uni-body builds and very high resolution panels to attract more Enterprise clients. Our test unit today is the base $999 USD Pixelbook convertible with a Core i5-7Y57 CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and 128 GB SSD. Upgrading to a larger 256 GB SSD will cost another $200 USD while the highest-end SKU throws in a Core i7-7Y75 with 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB NVMe SSD for $1650 USD.

For this review, we will be comparing what the Pixelbook hardware offers over both cheaper Chromebooks and similarly-priced Windows alternatives to justify the four-digit MSRP.

Google Pixelbook
Graphics adapter
Memory
8192 MB 
Display
12.3 inch 3:2, 2400 x 1600 pixel 235 PPI, Capacitive, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
,  GB 
, 128 GB SSD
Connections
2 USB 3.1 Gen2, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo, Card Reader: undefined
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 10 x 289 x 220 ( = 0.39 x 11.38 x 8.66 in)
Battery
41 Wh
Operating System
Google Chrome OS
Additional features
Keyboard Light: yes, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.25 kg ( = 44.09 oz / 2.76 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)

 

Case

The aluminum chassis and very thin design are the primary highlights of the Pixelbook. Its matte silver surfaces detract fingerprints and feel almost identical to the outer lid of the XPS 13 in terms of texture and rigidity. The notebook feels stronger than the Lenovo Yoga 900 series down to its corners and even the hinges. Applying pressure on the outer lid or keyboard center results in very minimal warping as does twisting the base or lid with absolutely no audible creaking. The Pixelbook is proof that it's possible to create a very thin convertible notebook while remaining inflexible.

If we are to nitpick some aspects of the design, the white rubberized palm rests and the glossy white strip across the top of the outer lid may not be to everyone's liking. The purpose of these surfaces is to provide grip when typing, handling, or changing modes, but the white palm rests in particular will indubitably become worn, gray, and oily over time not unlike on the Alcantara fiber of the Surface Laptop and detachable Surface Pro keyboard. The plastic white strip is likely beneficial to the internal wireless radio too, even though its glossy surface can feel out of place in an all-aluminum matte build.

Lastly, the bezels are very thick (~1.5 cm from the sides and ~2.0 cm from the top) when compared to most newer mainstream notebooks like the Yoga 920, Spectre x360 13, XPS 13, or Zenbook 3. We imagine that the larger footprint was necessary in order to reduce flexing and avoid overly cramped keys on a 12.3-inch screen size.

Unsurprisingly, the Pixelbook is thinner, smaller, and lighter than the four-year old Pixel and nearly identical to the Surface Pro 5 tablet in thickness, length, and weight. It's no exaggeration to say that the Chromebook is one the most portable convertible notebooks available in the 12-inch category without the hassle of clunky detachable keyboard bases. Note that the Spectre x360 13 includes a larger 13.3-inch display while weighing very nearly the same since it utilizes narrower bezels than the Pixelbook.

The Pixelbook design has many similarities to the Spectre x360 13 series
The Pixelbook design has many similarities to the Spectre x360 13 series
No tapered edges or corners for the same "boxy" look as the original Pixel Chromebook
No tapered edges or corners for the same "boxy" look as the original Pixel Chromebook
Hinges are firm and even at all angles with no wobbling when typing
Hinges are firm and even at all angles with no wobbling when typing
Bezels are unfortunately quite thick by today's standards
Bezels are unfortunately quite thick by today's standards

Connectivity

The Pixelbook joins the small group of ultra-thin notebooks that ship with only USB Type-C ports including the Zenbook 3, Spectre 13, MateBook X, and MacBook Pro 15. Thunderbolt 3 is not officially supported here, but either of the two USB Type-C ports can output to 4K via mDP or be used for charging.

It's very disappointing to see no integrated card readers or USB Type-A ports. The HP Chromebook 13 G1 includes all ports found on the Pixelbook in addition to USB Type-A and a MicroSD reader.

Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Left: Charging status light, USB Type-C, 3.5 mm audio jack, Volume rocker, Power button
Left: Charging status light, USB Type-C, 3.5 mm audio jack, Volume rocker, Power button
Rear: No connectivity
Rear: No connectivity
Right: USB Type-C, Charging status light
Right: USB Type-C, Charging status light

Communication

WLAN supports 2x2 802.11ac speeds as confirmed by our transfer rate tests that show very similar results to the common Intel 8260. Bluetooth 4.2 is integrated and works without issues.

Our WLAN experience with the machine has not been perfect. While we can't speak for every unit available, our test unit would randomly disconnect from our Linksys EA8500 router once every couple of hours or so of non-stop use. This occurs without warning and can be remedied by reconnecting to the network.

There are no GPS, NFC, or WWAN options on the Pixelbook unlike on certain Lenovo ThinkPad or Dell Latitude models.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
668 MBit/s ∼100% +12%
Google Pixelbook
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
596 MBit/s ∼89%
Microsoft Surface Laptop i5
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller
534 MBit/s ∼80% -10%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Microsoft Surface Laptop i5
Marvell AVASTAR Wireless-AC Network Controller
556 MBit/s ∼100% +20%
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260
517 MBit/s ∼93% +12%
Google Pixelbook
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
462 MBit/s ∼83%

Accessories

There are no included extras outside of the AC adapter and charger. In fact, the standard packaging is devoid of any paperwork as well. It's also disappointing that the notebook includes no USB-C to USB-A adapters. In contrast, HP included a free adapter with the initial launch of the Spectre 13 since the manufacturer was aware that its users will want to use USB Type-A devices.

The Pixelbook Pen stylus is sold separately for another $100 USD.

Maintenance

There are two T5 Hex screws on the bottom panel similar to the screws used for the XPS 13 and Razer Blade. The panel is latched very tightly along its perimeter and we are unable to reliably remove it even with a sharp edge. It's clear that easy serviceability is not a selling point of the super-thin unibody design.

Warranty

The standard one-year limited warranty applies for North American users while users in the UK are covered for two years.

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Input Devices

Keyboard

At first glance, the backlit keyboard (~27.5 x 10.5 cm) keys appear soft and spongy because the individual keys are almost leveled with the surrounding chassis base. While travel is indeed as shallow as it looks, feedback is actually firmer than on many Ultrabooks like the XPS 13 or Yoga 920. The drawback is a high-pitched loud clatter that seems unusual for a membrane-based keyboard. Note that the loud clatter applies only to the main QWERTY keys while the surrounding half-sized keys are softer when pressed. It may take some time for users to become accustomed to the shallow travel and unique clatter of the keyboard keys.

Touchpad

The multi-touch trackpad (10.3 x 6.8 cm) is similar in size to the trackpads of the physically larger XPS 13 (10.5 x 6.0 cm) and Surface Laptop (10.5 x 7.0 cm). The clear matte surface provides a smooth and responsive glide with no cursor jitters for precise movement. Unlike most other notebooks with darkened trackpads, the clear plastic outer layer of the Pixelbook trackpad is excellent at hiding grease build up and extends nearly all the way towards the front edge of the notebook to maximum surface area.

The integrated mouse keys are shallow in travel, loud in clatter, and generally firm in feedback. Unfortunately, the bottom left corner feels softer and spongier than the bottom right corner on our particular test unit. The unevenness makes it more reliable to simply tap on the trackpad or display for mouse inputs instead.

The smaller top row and Arrow keys are much spongier than the main QWERTY keys
The smaller top row and Arrow keys are much spongier than the main QWERTY keys
The keys are elevated just barely from the chassis base for a very shallow travel
The keys are elevated just barely from the chassis base for a very shallow travel

Display

The uncommon 3:2 12.3-inch display carries a native resolution of 2400 x 1600 pixels to be slightly less dense than the display of the Surface Pro tablet. Even so, images are still very sharp with contrast and brightness values comparable to the Microsoft tablet. The overlying glass layer is thin enough that colors appear vibrant and close to the surface. We can notice no graininess issues on the glossy display that can often occur on matte panels.

While the display is very clean and offers a level of clarity not found on most cheaper Chromebooks, it does carry a few drawbacks. For one, its backlight distribution could be better as the bottom half of the screen is measurably dimmer than the top half. Secondly, display response times are slower than on most Ultrabooks for more noticeable ghosting when browsing or during video playback. And finally, pulse-width modulation is present on all brightness levels that may potentially irritate users who are sensitive to onscreen flickering. The Microsoft Surface Laptop suffers from none of these issues.

Minimal uneven backlight bleeding
Minimal uneven backlight bleeding
Subpixel array (235 PPI)
Subpixel array (235 PPI)
464.8
cd/m²
494.2
cd/m²
452.9
cd/m²
433.9
cd/m²
473.9
cd/m²
397.3
cd/m²
415.2
cd/m²
446.7
cd/m²
403.6
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Basic Pro 2
Maximum: 494.2 cd/m² Average: 442.5 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 80 %
Center on Battery: 473.9 cd/m²
Contrast: 1354:1 (Black: 0.35 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.9 | 0.8-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 5.4 | 0.64-98 Ø6.6
Gamma: 2.13
Google Pixelbook
IPS, 12.3, 2400x1600
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
LG Display LP123WQ112604, IPS, 12.3, 2736x1824
Microsoft Surface Laptop i5
ID: MEI96A2, Name: Panasonic VVX14T092N00, IPS, 13.5, 2256x1504
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017
APPA033, IPS, 13.3, 2560x1600
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
APPA027, IPS, 12, 2304x1440
Response Times
889%
6%
24%
23%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
59.2 (29.6, 29.6)
37 (16, 21)
37%
50.8 (25.6, 25.2)
14%
42.8 (22.4, 20.4)
28%
41.2 (15.6, 25.6)
30%
Response Time Black / White *
36 (20, 16)
25 (13, 12)
31%
37.2 (20, 17.2)
-3%
28.8 (14.8, 14)
20%
30.4 (6.8, 23.6)
16%
PWM Frequency
819.7 (100)
22130 (55)
2600%
Screen
-1%
17%
26%
11%
Brightness middle
473.9
482
2%
384.2
-19%
588
24%
387
-18%
Brightness
443
466
5%
378
-15%
561
27%
358
-19%
Brightness Distribution
80
92
15%
90
13%
92
15%
88
10%
Black Level *
0.35
0.395
-13%
0.36
-3%
0.45
-29%
0.47
-34%
Contrast
1354
1220
-10%
1067
-21%
1307
-3%
823
-39%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.9
4
-3%
1.8
54%
1.7
56%
1.6
59%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
7.7
7.2
6%
4.2
45%
3.5
55%
4
48%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.4
5.7
-6%
1.2
78%
1.9
65%
1
81%
Gamma
2.13 113%
2.28 105%
2.21 109%
2.33 103%
2.26 106%
CCT
7643 85%
7950 82%
6708 97%
6738 96%
6680 97%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
62
63.7
77.92
61.6
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
96
94.2
99.94
82.2
Total Average (Program / Settings)
444% / 242%
12% / 14%
25% / 26%
17% / 13%

* ... smaller is better

Spectrophotometer measurements reveal a slightly cool color temperature and an average deltaE grayscale. While more than acceptable for Ultrabooks, Google advertises the Pixelbook as a notebook for Adobe Lightroom editing. The MacBook Pro, Surface Laptop, and Surface Book notebooks have more accurate colors and grayscale out of the box than does the Pixelbook.

Grayscale
Grayscale
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweeps
ColorChecker
ColorChecker

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
36 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 20 ms rise
↘ 16 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 90 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (26.1 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
59.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 29.6 ms rise
↘ 29.6 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 95 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (41.7 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 819.7 Hz ≤ 100 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 819.7 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 100 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 819.7 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 54 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 10750 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 588200) Hz was measured.

Outdoor visibility is very similar to the Core i7 Surface Pro 2017 since their backlights are about the same in average brightness. Glare is present even if on the maximum brightness setting, but the wide viewing angles aid in reducing reflections to more manageable levels. Nonetheless, be ready to squint if working under direct sunlight since colors will still be washed out. 

There is no purple or yellow hue if viewing from extreme angles as may occur on some IPS panels.

Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under shade
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Outdoors under sunlight
Wide IPS viewing angles
Wide IPS viewing angles

Performance

(November 10, 2017 update: We incorrectly stated that the Pixelbook ships with a 15 W Core i5-7200U. This has been corrected to the 7 W Core i5-7Y57.)

The Pixelbook is notable for its passively-cooled 15 W Kaby Lake ULV Core ix processor. Its raw performance is well above the common Celeron-powered Chromebooks found on entry-level models and may even be considered overkill for streaming and word processing needs given the very low resource overhead of Chrome OS. While even the cheapest Chromebook already feels snappy, heavy multi-taskers may appreciate the additional horsepower and RAM. Switching between multiple applications and apps in very quick succession would result in only the most minor of stutters.

Browser-based benchmarks like Jetstream, Sunspider, and WebXPRT 2015 reveal the Pixelbook to be on par with cheaper Chromebooks such as the ThinkPad 13 (i5-6300U), Acer Chromebook 14 (i5-6200U), and the HP Chromebook 13 G1 (m5-6Y57). Users who want the Pixelbook only for video streaming, browsing, and word processing will generally not find the notebook to be any faster than the aforementioned alternatives even though the i5-6300U and i5-6200U are objectively faster CPUs.

Android Play Store games work well provided that they do not rely on having a GPS. Asphalt 8 functions with the built-in gyroscope for steering but will stutter slightly if running on fullscreen mode. The resolution scaling is far from perfect and so dedicated Android tablets are still preferable for crisper Play Store games. Otherwise, the default Window mode for Play Store apps is a paltry 720p with 1:1 pixel mapping.

Jetstream 1.1
Jetstream 1.1
Sunspider 1.0.2
Sunspider 1.0.2
WebXPRT 2015
WebXPRT 2015
Geekbench 4.1. Note the incorrectly identified CPU
Geekbench 4.1. Note the incorrectly identified CPU
PassMark
PassMark
AnTuTu v6
AnTuTu v6
3DMark Sling Shot
3DMark Sling Shot
Basemark OS
Basemark OS
Lightmark
Lightmark
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
223.5 Points ∼100% +54%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
219 Points ∼98% +51%
Microsoft Surface Laptop i5
176.95 Points ∼79% +22%
Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook
173.25 Points ∼78% +20%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017)
172.36 Points ∼77% +19%
HP Chromebook 13 G1 Core m5
164.01 Points ∼73% +13%
Google Pixelbook
144.78 Points ∼65%
Acer Chromebook 14 CP5-471-53QV
142.28 Points ∼64% -2%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
69.57 Points ∼31% -52%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
56.63 Points ∼25% -61%
Google Pixel XL 2016
55.4 Points ∼25% -62%
Sunspider
1.0 Total Score
Acer Chromebook 14 CP5-471-53QV
298.2 ms * ∼100% -11%
Google Pixelbook
268.1 ms * ∼90%
HP Chromebook 13 G1 Core m5
228.8 ms * ∼77% +15%
Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook
213 ms * ∼71% +21%
Microsoft Surface Laptop i5
121.6 ms * ∼41% +55%
0.9.1 Total Score
Google Chromebook Pixel
225.2 ms * ∼100%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
3590.6 ms * ∼100% -209%
Google Pixel XL 2016
2653.6 ms * ∼74% -128%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
1876.8 ms * ∼52% -61%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017)
1428 ms * ∼40% -23%
Acer Chromebook 14 CP5-471-53QV
1240 ms * ∼35% -7%
Google Pixelbook
1163.3 ms * ∼32%
HP Chromebook 13 G1 Core m5
1055.9 ms * ∼29% +9%
Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook
1007 ms * ∼28% +13%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
719.7 ms * ∼20% +38%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
35209 Points ∼100% +9%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5
33186 Points ∼94% +3%
Google Pixelbook
32334 Points ∼92%
Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook
29435 Points ∼84% -9%
HP Chromebook 13 G1 Core m5
28478 Points ∼81% -12%
Acer Chromebook 14 CP5-471-53QV
27414 Points ∼78% -15%
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017)
23605 Points ∼67% -27%
Microsoft Surface Laptop i5
23138 Points ∼66% -28%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
13265 Points ∼38% -59%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
10406 Points ∼30% -68%
Google Pixel XL 2016
8690 Points ∼25% -73%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score
Google Pixelbook
441 Points ∼100%
Acer Chromebook 14 CP5-471-53QV
373 Points ∼85% -15%
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
362 Points ∼82% -18%
Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook
359 Points ∼81% -19%
HP Chromebook 13 G1 Core m5
347 Points ∼79% -21%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
159 Points ∼36% -64%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
158 Points ∼36% -64%
Google Pixel XL 2016
126 Points ∼29% -71%

Legend

 
Google Pixelbook Intel Core i5-7Y57, Intel HD Graphics 615,
 
Acer Chromebook 14 CP5-471-53QV Intel Core i5-6200U, Intel HD Graphics 520, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook Intel Core i5-6300U, Intel HD Graphics 520, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
HP Chromebook 13 G1 Core m5 Intel Core m5-6Y57, Intel HD Graphics 515,
 
Google Chromebook Pixel Intel Core i5-3427U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 32 GB SSD
 
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Samsung Exynos 8895 Octa, ARM Mali-G71 MP20, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Huawei Mate 10 Pro HiSilicon Kirin 970, ARM Mali-G72 MP12, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Apple iPhone 8 Plus Apple A11 Bionic, Apple A11 Bionic GPU, Apple 256 GB (iPhone 8 / Plus)
 
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) Intel Core m3-7Y30, Intel HD Graphics 615, Samsung PM971 KUS020203M
 
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i5 Intel Core i5-7300U, Intel HD Graphics 620, Samsung PM971 KUS030202M
 
Microsoft Surface Laptop i5 Intel Core i5-7200U, Intel HD Graphics 620, Toshiba THNSN0128GTYA
 
Google Pixel XL 2016 Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 MSM8996 Pro, Qualcomm Adreno 530, 32 GB eMMC Flash

* ... smaller is better

We've also decided to run Android-based benchmark tools on the Pixelbook and have recorded the results below for the sake of curiosity. Note that these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt as the Play Store apps are not designed to run in a virtual Chrome OS environment or test Chrome OS performance.

Results are inconsistent from most of the Android benchmark apps. For example, Ice Storm Physics and Geekbench single-core benchmark scores are 70 percent and 100 percent higher, respectively, than the Exynos-powered Galaxy Note 8. Meanwhile, the very high PCMark Storage score rivals the Huawei Mate 10 Pro while AndroBench favors the Huawei smartphone by over five-fold. Interestingly, graphics-intensive benchmarks show the Pixelbook struggling against current flagship smartphones while most CPU-intensive benchmarks show the Chromebook to be well ahead.

A small handful of Android apps would refuse to run. Aside from GPS-dependent apps, both Epic Citadel and 3DMark Slingshot 3.0 Unlimited would crash upon launch.

AnTuTu v6 - Total Score
Google Pixelbook
180866 Points ∼100%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
177341 Points ∼98% -2%
OnePlus 5
177156 Points ∼98% -2%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
173997 Points ∼96% -4%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
173403 Points ∼96% -4%
Samsung Galaxy S8
171884 Points ∼95% -5%
Honor 8 Pro
146044 Points ∼81% -19%
HTC U Ultra
139017 Points ∼77% -23%
PCMark for Android
Work 2.0 battery life
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
596 min ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy S8
527 min ∼88%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
495 min ∼83%
Computer Vision score
Google Pixelbook
6046 Points ∼100%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
4617 Points ∼76% -24%
Samsung Galaxy S8
2730 Points ∼45% -55%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2683 Points ∼44% -56%
Storage score
Google Pixelbook
15296 Points ∼100%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
14687 Points ∼96% -4%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
4520 Points ∼30% -70%
Samsung Galaxy S8
4420 Points ∼29% -71%
Work 2.0 performance score
Google Pixelbook
10309 Points ∼100%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
6932 Points ∼67% -33%
OnePlus 5
6579 Points ∼64% -36%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
6433 Points ∼62% -38%
Honor 8 Pro
6134 Points ∼60% -40%
Samsung Galaxy S8
5370 Points ∼52% -48%
HTC U Ultra
5217 Points ∼51% -49%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
5096 Points ∼49% -51%
Work performance score
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
8439 Points ∼100%
OnePlus 5
7826 Points ∼93%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
7695 Points ∼91%
Honor 8 Pro
7356 Points ∼87%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
6084 Points ∼72%
Samsung Galaxy S8
6035 Points ∼72%
HTC U Ultra
5217 Points ∼62%
BaseMark OS II
Web
Google Pixelbook
1696 Points ∼100%
OnePlus 5
1287 Points ∼76% -24%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
1239 Points ∼73% -27%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
1235 Points ∼73% -27%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
1234 Points ∼73% -27%
Samsung Galaxy S8
1156 Points ∼68% -32%
Honor 8 Pro
1131 Points ∼67% -33%
HTC U Ultra
907 Points ∼53% -47%
Graphics
OnePlus 5
6144 Points ∼100% +9%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
6121 Points ∼100% +9%
Samsung Galaxy S8
6096 Points ∼99% +8%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
6045 Points ∼98% +7%
Google Pixelbook
5636 Points ∼92%
HTC U Ultra
4591 Points ∼75% -19%
Honor 8 Pro
4070 Points ∼66% -28%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
3657 Points ∼60% -35%
Memory
OnePlus 5
4423 Points ∼100% +153%
Honor 8 Pro
4277 Points ∼97% +144%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
4142 Points ∼94% +137%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
3444 Points ∼78% +97%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3095 Points ∼70% +77%
Samsung Galaxy S8
3039 Points ∼69% +74%
Google Pixelbook
1750 Points ∼40%
HTC U Ultra
1581 Points ∼36% -10%
System
OnePlus 5
5902 Points ∼100% +26%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
5857 Points ∼99% +25%
Samsung Galaxy S8
5386 Points ∼91% +15%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
5308 Points ∼90% +14%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
5244 Points ∼89% +12%
Google Pixelbook
4667 Points ∼79%
Honor 8 Pro
4029 Points ∼68% -14%
HTC U Ultra
2834 Points ∼48% -39%
Overall
OnePlus 5
3790 Points ∼100% +28%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
3506 Points ∼93% +18%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3338 Points ∼88% +12%
Samsung Galaxy S8
3277 Points ∼86% +10%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
3147 Points ∼83% +6%
Honor 8 Pro
2985 Points ∼79% 0%
Google Pixelbook
2972 Points ∼78%
HTC U Ultra
2078 Points ∼55% -30%
Geekbench 4.1/4.2
Compute RenderScript Score
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
8572 Points ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy S8
8490 Points ∼99%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
8310 Points ∼97%
OnePlus 5
8005 Points ∼93%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
7881 Points ∼92%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Google Pixelbook
7480 Points ∼100%
OnePlus 5
6799 Points ∼91% -9%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
6792 Points ∼91% -9%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
6744 Points ∼90% -10%
Samsung Galaxy S8
6711 Points ∼90% -10%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
6491 Points ∼87% -13%
Honor 8 Pro
6245 Points ∼83% -17%
64 Bit Single-Core Score
Google Pixelbook
4073 Points ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2028 Points ∼50% -50%
Samsung Galaxy S8
1997 Points ∼49% -51%
OnePlus 5
1973 Points ∼48% -52%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
1904 Points ∼47% -53%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
1898 Points ∼47% -53%
Honor 8 Pro
1853 Points ∼45% -55%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Physics
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
3002 Points ∼100%
OnePlus 5
2963 Points ∼99%
Samsung Galaxy S8
2479 Points ∼83%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2417 Points ∼81%
Honor 8 Pro
2018 Points ∼67%
HTC U Ultra
1837 Points ∼61%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
1520 Points ∼51%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Graphics
OnePlus 5
4151 Points ∼100%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
3837 Points ∼92%
Samsung Galaxy S8
3584 Points ∼86%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
3034 Points ∼73%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2723 Points ∼66%
HTC U Ultra
2678 Points ∼65%
Honor 8 Pro
1511 Points ∼36%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited
OnePlus 5
3811 Points ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy S8
3261 Points ∼86%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
3027 Points ∼79%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
2866 Points ∼75%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2648 Points ∼69%
HTC U Ultra
2431 Points ∼64%
Honor 8 Pro
1600 Points ∼42%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Physics
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
2983 Points ∼100%
OnePlus 5
2960 Points ∼99%
Samsung Galaxy S8
2454 Points ∼82%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2410 Points ∼81%
Honor 8 Pro
2110 Points ∼71%
HTC U Ultra
1666 Points ∼56%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
1631 Points ∼55%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Graphics
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
5454 Points ∼100%
OnePlus 5
5077 Points ∼93%
Samsung Galaxy S8
4908 Points ∼90%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3896 Points ∼71%
HTC U Ultra
3795 Points ∼70%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
3306 Points ∼61%
Honor 8 Pro
1848 Points ∼34%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited
OnePlus 5
4381 Points ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy S8
4016 Points ∼92%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
3586 Points ∼82%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3426 Points ∼78%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
3228 Points ∼74%
HTC U Ultra
3001 Points ∼69%
Honor 8 Pro
1900 Points ∼43%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics
OnePlus 5
3026 Points ∼100%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
2871 Points ∼95%
Samsung Galaxy S8
2494 Points ∼82%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2346 Points ∼78%
Honor 8 Pro
2216 Points ∼73%
HTC U Ultra
1763 Points ∼58%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
1628 Points ∼54%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics
OnePlus 5
3757 Points ∼100%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
3723 Points ∼99%
Samsung Galaxy S8
3472 Points ∼92%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
2844 Points ∼76%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2661 Points ∼71%
HTC U Ultra
2405 Points ∼64%
Honor 8 Pro
1746 Points ∼46%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1)
OnePlus 5
3566 Points ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy S8
3194 Points ∼90%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
2895 Points ∼81%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
2850 Points ∼80%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2584 Points ∼72%
HTC U Ultra
2225 Points ∼62%
Honor 8 Pro
1832 Points ∼51%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics
OnePlus 5
3012 Points ∼100% +22%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
2896 Points ∼96% +18%
Google Pixelbook
2464 Points ∼82%
Samsung Galaxy S8
2440 Points ∼81% -1%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
2342 Points ∼78% -5%
Honor 8 Pro
1896 Points ∼63% -23%
HTC U Ultra
1646 Points ∼55% -33%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
1574 Points ∼52% -36%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
5107 Points ∼100% +17%
Samsung Galaxy S8
4923 Points ∼96% +12%
OnePlus 5
4765 Points ∼93% +9%
Google Pixelbook
4380 Points ∼86%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3928 Points ∼77% -10%
HTC U Ultra
3807 Points ∼75% -13%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
3353 Points ∼66% -23%
Honor 8 Pro
1856 Points ∼36% -58%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0
OnePlus 5
4219 Points ∼100% +13%
Samsung Galaxy S8
4015 Points ∼95% +7%
Google Pixelbook
3735 Points ∼89%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
3414 Points ∼81% -9%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
3407 Points ∼81% -9%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
3239 Points ∼77% -13%
HTC U Ultra
2947 Points ∼70% -21%
Honor 8 Pro
1865 Points ∼44% -50%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics
Google Pixelbook
39302 Points ∼100%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
22829 Points ∼58% -42%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
22629 Points ∼58% -42%
Samsung Galaxy S8
21543 Points ∼55% -45%
HTC U Ultra
21263 Points ∼54% -46%
OnePlus 5
19411 Points ∼49% -51%
Honor 8 Pro
15129 Points ∼38% -62%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
13800 Points ∼35% -65%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score
Google Pixelbook
62585 Points ∼100%
OnePlus 5
58001 Points ∼93% -7%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
52358 Points ∼84% -16%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
36807 Points ∼59% -41%
Samsung Galaxy S8
36347 Points ∼58% -42%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
34008 Points ∼54% -46%
HTC U Ultra
33446 Points ∼53% -47%
Honor 8 Pro
32243 Points ∼52% -48%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score
Google Pixelbook
55304 Points ∼100%
OnePlus 5
40229 Points ∼73% -27%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
32399 Points ∼59% -41%
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
32302 Points ∼58% -42%
Samsung Galaxy S8
31532 Points ∼57% -43%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
30590 Points ∼55% -45%
HTC U Ultra
29668 Points ∼54% -46%
Honor 8 Pro
25766 Points ∼47% -53%
Lightmark - 1920x1080 1080p
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
30.86 fps ∼100% +58%
Samsung Galaxy S8
30.64 fps ∼99% +57%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
21.49 fps ∼70% +10%
Google Pixelbook
19.56 fps ∼63%
Basemark X 1.1
High Quality
Samsung Galaxy S8
42183 Points ∼100% +25%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
41022 Points ∼97% +22%
Google Pixelbook
33662 Points ∼80%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
25922 Points ∼61% -23%
Medium Quality
Samsung Galaxy S8
43852 Points ∼100% +2%
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
43464 Points ∼99% +1%
Google Pixelbook
42892 Points ∼98%
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
39033 Points ∼89% -9%

Storage Devices

The 128 GB SSD in the base configuration is very slow according to AndroBench. Its sequential write rate of about 120 MB/s is only a fraction of the speed of the UFS 2.1 SSDs in the Galaxy Note 8 and Huawei Mate Pro 10 smartphones. The slow performance is likely an attempt to bolster the upcoming 512 GB SKU that is explicitly advertised as a NVMe SSD. As noted earlier, AndroBench is not designed to run in a virtualized Android environment and the results may not accurately reflect the Pixelbook.

For a Chromebook, 128 GB is a healthy amount of space and certainly more than what cheaper chromebooks offer where 16 GB or 32 GB can be common. This may or may not make up for the overt lack of a SD reader depending on the demands of the user.

Google Pixelbook
 
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
Google Pixel XL 2016
32 GB eMMC Flash
OnePlus 5
64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
AndroBench 3-5
247%
540%
77%
261%
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
59.27
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
67.87
Random Write 4KB
12.6
14.55
15%
164.45
1205%
14.56
16%
19.3
53%
Random Read 4KB
28.87
122.48
324%
132.27
358%
87.67
204%
141
388%
Sequential Write 256KB
112.07
205.85
84%
208.72
86%
83.38
-26%
201.5
80%
Sequential Read 256KB
120.26
796.96
563%
732.46
509%
258.23
115%
748
522%

Emissions

System Noise

Like the recently launched Huawei MateBook X and certain SKUs of the Surface Pro 2017, the Pixelbook is completely silent.

Our test unit exhibits slight electronic noise at all times similar to our last XPS 13 unit. However, the noise is inaudible from a normal viewing distance and can only be heard when placing an ear very closely to the keyboard.

Noise Level

Idle
/ / dB(A)
Load
/ dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)
Google Pixelbook
HD Graphics 615, 7Y57
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7660U, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M
Microsoft Surface Laptop i5
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Toshiba THNSN0128GTYA
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017
Iris Plus Graphics 640, 7360U, Apple SSD AP0128
Huawei MateBook X
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, LITEON CB1-SD256
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
HD Graphics 620, 7200U, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP
Noise
off / environment *
29.6
28.2
30.2
28.4
Idle Minimum *
29.6
28.2
30.2
28.4
Idle Average *
29.6
28.2
30.2
28.4
Idle Maximum *
29.6
29
30.2
28.4
Load Average *
33.4
30.3
32.9
33.2
Load Maximum *
34.1
39.3
39.3
35.2
Witcher 3 ultra *
33.4

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

Surface temperature is largely symmetric down the center of the notebook. The gradient is very similar to a classic point source since there are no fans expelling and drawing away waste heat. As shown by our temperature maps below, the hot spots are towards the rear of the notebook directly above the first row of keyboard keys where users are less likely to touch when typing. It will, however, make tablet mode warm on the hand if handling in landscape mode.

At worst, we are able to record a surface temperature of 39 C after about an hour of looping multiple 1080p streams. The keyboard keys and rubberized palm rests remain cool and never become uncomfortable in practice. The temperature characteristics of the Pixelbook are actually very similar to the Yoga 920 and Spectre x360 13 convertibles except that these two alternatives can be even warmer at 45 C or greater and with faster processors each.

System idle (top)
System idle (top)
System idle (bottom)
System idle (bottom)
High load (top)
High load (top)
High load (bottom)
High load (bottom)
Max. Load
 33.2 °C38.8 °C35 °C 
 29.4 °C31.2 °C29.8 °C 
 28 °C27.2 °C28.8 °C 
Maximum: 38.8 °C
Average: 31.3 °C
34.2 °C38 °C33.2 °C
32 °C32.8 °C31.4 °C
30.2 °C29.8 °C29.6 °C
Maximum: 38 °C
Average: 32.4 °C
Power Supply (max.)  31.8 °C | Room Temperature 20.2 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Speakers

Unlike most other notebooks, the Pixelbook lacks traditional speaker grilles. Sounds emanate from underneath the two hinges with a surprisingly loud maximum volume considering the small size. We can observe no reverberations or static on all volume settings. Sound quality, however, is merely average with poor bass reproduction as shown by our pink noise graph below. The "tin can" effect that is noticeable on most cheap netbooks and smartphones is present here on the Google Chromebook.

Google Pixelbook (Red: System idle, Pink: Pink noise)
Google Pixelbook (Red: System idle, Pink: Pink noise)
Dell XPS 13 9360
Dell XPS 13 9360
HP Spectre 13 v011dx
HP Spectre 13 v011dx
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2034.639.52535.134.7313433.54031.932.1503233.56330.334.38029.130.810029.133.612528.238.416027.942.120027.244.625026.649.531525.453.940024.952.950024.455.263023.960.180023.863.8100023.560.7125023.168.7160022.970.2200022.769.1250022.570.2315022.568.3400022.268.7500022.166.6630022.267.6800022.361.31000022.258.91250022.3621600022.350.4SPL35.179.3N2.442.6median 23.1Google Pixelbookmedian 60.7Delta1.78.635.335.132.931.831.83236.535.132.428.93328.936.328.848.32761.52752.924.860.92462.822.763.32269.521.267.82174.82075.919.472.718.97117.770.117.86917.671.817.668.117.671.417.673.717.670.417.571.617.671.617.669.617.459.717.583.630.662.51.5median 69.6Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHzmedian 17.84.62.4hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Google Pixelbook audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (70.71 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 17.1% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.4% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (8.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5.7% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (5.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (22.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 57% of all tested devices in this class were better, 8% similar, 35% worse
» The best had a delta of 11%, average was 22%, worst was 53%
Compared to all devices tested
» 58% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 34% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (9.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 1% of all tested devices in this class were better, 1% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 9%, average was 19%, worst was 47%
Compared to all devices tested
» 2% of all tested devices were better, 1% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency Comparison (Checkbox selectable!)
Graph 1: Pink Noise 100% Vol.; Graph 2: Audio off

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Power consumption behavior is very strange on our unit despite triple-checking our instrumentation and results. Normally, a notebook at full charge will still draw power from its connected AC adapter. On the Pixelbook, however, we can record no such consumption when idling or even when browsing. Only during very high loads would we begin to record significant AC adapter activity. Streaming three 1080p videos simultaneously, for example, would draw about 17 W at full battery charge.

If the Pixelbook is not at full charge, then we can begin to measure higher consumption rates. The notebook would draw between 10 W and 15 W when idling and up to 24 W when under heavy load. The very small 56 W AC adapter (~6 x 6 x 3 cm) is more than sufficient for the Chromebook and can also be used to Quick Charge (15 V 3A, 20 V 2.5 A) smartphones and other devices should they support the feature.

Power Consumption at Full Battery Charge (W) Power Consumption at <100% Battery Charge (W)
Idle Minimum 0.1 10.6
Idle Average 0.1 14.1
Idle Maximum 0.1 15.0
Load Average 0.1 23.4
Load Maximum 17.0 24.0
Off 0.1 7.9
Standby 0.1 7.9
Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0 / 0 / 0 Watt
Load midlight 0 / 0 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Google Pixelbook
7Y57, HD Graphics 615, , IPS, 2400x1600, 12.3
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
7660U, Iris Plus Graphics 640, Samsung PM971 KUS040202M, IPS, 2736x1824, 12.3
Microsoft Surface Laptop i5
7200U, HD Graphics 620, Toshiba THNSN0128GTYA, IPS, 2256x1504, 13.5
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017
7360U, Iris Plus Graphics 640, Apple SSD AP0128, IPS, 2560x1600, 13.3
Apple MacBook 12 2017
7Y32, HD Graphics 615, Apple SSD AP0256, LED IPS, 2304x1440, 12
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
7200U, HD Graphics 620, Samsung CM871a MZNTY256HDHP, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Power Consumption
Idle Minimum *
4.2
3.2
3.7
2
3.8
Idle Average *
10.1
6.5
5.2
5.4
11
Idle Maximum *
14
6.8
7.6
6.6
11.3
Load Average *
37.4
28.2
41.6
22
35.6
Load Maximum *
34
36
50.5
20
37.2
Witcher 3 ultra *
38.1

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The internal 41 Wh battery is smaller than the 59 Wh battery in the original 2013 Pixel Chromebook. Even so, battery life is significantly longer this time around at nearly 14 hours of real-world WLAN use. The less intensive operating system also leads to longer runtimes than most - if not all - Windows notebooks with U-class ULV CPUs.

Charging from near empty to full capacity will take about 90 minutes with the included AC adapter. It is indeed possible to charge the notebook with a power bank or another USB port as if it were a smartphone, but the process will be significantly slower and the unit would have to be shut off.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
23h 45min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
13h 55min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 02min
Google Pixelbook
7Y57, HD Graphics 615, 41 Wh
Microsoft Surface Pro (2017) i7
7660U, Iris Plus Graphics 640, 45 Wh
Microsoft Surface Laptop i5
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 45 Wh
Apple MacBook Pro 13 2017
7360U, Iris Plus Graphics 640, 54.5 Wh
Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X3N-K01US
7200U, HD Graphics 620, 30 Wh
Apple MacBook 12 2017
7Y32, HD Graphics 615, 41.4 Wh
Battery Runtime
-40%
-22%
-38%
-62%
-35%
Reader / Idle
1425
1351
-5%
695
-51%
WiFi v1.3
835
489
-41%
602
-28%
681
-18%
279
-67%
540
-35%
Load
182
112
-38%
124
-32%
78
-57%
60
-67%
Witcher 3 ultra
115

Pros

+ excellent workmanship; unique design
+ rigid chassis and lid; no creaking
+ fan-less ULV Core ix processor
+ very lightweight and compact
+ firm hinges with no teetering
+ support for Play Store apps
+ strong tactile key feedback
+ full frame 3:2 aspect ratio
+ dual USB Type-C ports
+ long battery life

Cons

- colors and grayscale are inferior to MacBook Pro, Surface Laptop
- strange power consumption behavior; intermittent WLAN issues
- Play Store fullscreen mode not yet perfect
- loud keyboard clatter and clickpad
- no USB Type-A or SD card reader
- no adapters included in the box
- no 15 W ULV Core ix processors
- average display response times
- PWM on all brightness levels
- no integrated WWAN or NFC
- very slight electronic noise
- inaccessible internals
- grainy camera quality
- thick bezels
- slow SSD
- pricey

Verdict

In review: Google Pixelbook
In review: Google Pixelbook

There's no denying that the Pixelbook feels great to hold and use. The chassis itself sits with the best that Lenovo, HP, and Dell have to offer in the lightweight subnotebook convertible category while remaining firm and surprisingly unyielding. It would be quite the competitor in the mainstream Ultrabook space in the unlikely event that we see a Windows-based Pixelbook.

Can we definitively call the Pixelbook the best Chromebook available? While it's definitely fast and the most expensive, the Pixelbook sacrifices key features compared to $300 USD Chromebooks in order to satisfy its tight dimensions. For one, the lack of both USB Type-A and a SD card reader will inevitably become an annoyance especially on such a portable machine where connectivity should be readily available. The HP Chromebook 13 G1 includes both these missing options with a faster processor and the same dual USB Type-C ports for about $300 USD less. In addition, the HP and most entry-level Chromebooks are more easily serviceable compared to the closed nature of the Pixelbook that enthusiasts and IT departments will appreciate.

Other smaller details drag down what is otherwise an excellent and barebones Chromebook experience. The display is not as calibrated as on the Surface Pro or MacBook Pro series and the slower black-white and gray-gray response times become very noticeable when web browsing in tablet mode. The 128 GB internal SSD is outperformed by standard SATA III SSDs and the high-pitched keyboard clatter is very noticeable if in a classroom or library.

The Pixelbook is ideal for those who want a long-lasting, self-sufficient and travel-friendly Chromebook that just so happens to also have a glossy tablet mode for Android Play Store apps. If these strengths are not tempting, then a cheaper Chromebook like the Lenovo ThinkPad 13 or Asus Chromebook Flip with Play Store support can accomplish just as much and with a wider variety of integrated ports.

The Pixelbook is thin and sturdy at the heavy cost of having fewer integrated features. Its light weight, strong visual appeal, and versatile 2-in-1 modes are held back by its limited connectivity options and a display that isn't quite as accurate as the best from Microsoft or Apple with more noticeable ghosting and flickering.

Google Pixelbook - 11/10/2017 v6
Allen Ngo

Chassis
90 / 98 → 91%
Keyboard
87%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
31 / 80 → 39%
Weight
72 / 35-78 → 86%
Battery
97%
Display
85%
Games Performance
68 / 68 → 100%
Application Performance
69 / 87 → 79%
Temperature
93%
Noise
95%
Audio
30 / 91 → 33%
Camera
38 / 85 → 44%
Average
73%
86%
Convertible - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Google Pixelbook Chromebook Review
Allen Ngo, 2017-11-10 (Update: 2017-11-12)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.