Google makes the best in bleeding edge, ultra-premium Chromebooks, but when you look at the Pixelbook and the new Pixelbook Go side-by-side, it's not as easy a choice as you'd think. One is shinier, newer, and more affordable, but the other is more adaptable and arguably more powerful, if a bit long in the tooth in 2019.
The Go vs the OG: a battle of Pixelbooks
The Pixelbook Go's design is dramatically different than the Pixelbook, all soft curves and easy angles compared to the original's boxy look. The Pixelbook Go is also a narrower Chromebook; the switch to a 16:9 screen means you don't have to put up with the absolutely massive palm rests that the Pixelbook's 3:2 screen necessitated, nor do you have to deal with black bars whenever you're watching YouTube or Netflix.
Some users argue the 3:2 screen size is better for productivity, but honestly, the 13.3-inch 16:9 display split-screens Chrome tabs (or apps) better than the 12.3-inch 3:2 screen on the OG Pixelbook. Where the Pixelbook does take the edge for productivity is the 2-in-1 hinge that allows it to fold back into a tablet when you don't need the keyboard. The Pixelbook Go has a less forgiving clamshell lid, and it lacks support for the $100 add-on Pixelbook Pen, so artists and other content creators may want the older model instead.
Getting past those shiny metal cases — painted magnesium, in the Go's case — both the new and old generation of Pixelbooks are remarkably similar on the inside. Both can come with either 8 or 16GB of storage, and most of the configurations include Intel i5 or i7 processors. The Pixelbook Go can come with a less powerful — and less expensive — Intel M3 processor, and the original Pixelbook can come with 512GB of storage as opposed to the top size of 256GB on the Go.
|Category||Google Pixelbook Go||Google Pixelbook|
|Display||13.3-inch LCD touchscreen
1920 x 1080
4K "Molecular Display" 3840 x 2160
|12.3-inch LCD touchscreen
2400 x 1600
|Processor||Intel Core m3, i5, or i7
|Intel Core i5 or i7
512GB NVMe SSD
Up to 12 hours
Up to 10 hours
Up to 2 hours after 20 minutes
Up to 2 hours after 15 minutes
3.5mm headphone jack
3.5mm headphone jack
|Pixelbook Pen support||❌||✔️|
|Dimensions||311 x 206.3 x 13.4mm
(12.2 x 8.1 x 0.5 in)
|290.4 x 220.8 x 10.3mm
(11.4 x 8.7 x 0.4 in)
|Materials||Finely painted magnesium||Aluminum
Corning Gorilla Glass detail
One of the biggest differences between the Pixelbook Go and Pixelbook on paper is the price: Google still charges you $1,000 for a Pixelbook whereas you can get a Pixelbook Go for $649. Unfortunately, this comparison isn't as clear cut as it seems. The $649 Go comes with an M3 processor, which is enough for most non-coding, non-Linux-using folks, but if you want an i5, that price difference shrinks considerably.
At that point, the question becomes whether you want a 16:9 screen or a 3:2 screened 2-in-1. I use stand mode on my Pixelbook all the time when it's docked on my standing desk, but the clamshell Pixelbook Go is still easy to use and should bend back far enough for when you're working with it on the couch.
The price argument also gets even murkier once you realize that as a two-year-old laptop, the original Pixelbook is much more prone to sales than the brand-new Pixelbook Go. Last Black Friday, you could get the Pixelbook for $700 and I wouldn't be shocked to see similar sales this year as retailers clear out stock of the older model. You can also get a refurbished Pixelbook from the Google Store, complete with a one-year warranty, for just $749, which may be the best option if you prefer the 3:2 screen or 2-in-1 form factor.
Should you upgrade?
Nope. The Pixelbook is more functional and about as powerful as the Pixelbook Go, so unless you like Not Pink, there's literally no reason to spend as much money on the new model as you paid for the original two years ago.
If you're buying a Pixelbook for the first time, there are arguments for getting the newer processors and cuddlier design, but if you already own a Pixelbook, you'll be happier with what you've got.
Last year's model still rules for some.
The OG might be the best bet for you if you prefer a 3:2 screen over 16:9 or want the convenience of a 2-in-1 that can fold into tent or tablet mode. Sales are more frequent for this older model, and there are higher storage options available.
Flashy new upgrade
Google Pixelbook Go
Different priorities for a fresher laptop.
Google's newest laptop is a rounder, cuddlier affair that sports a more media-friendly 16:9 touchscreen, and if you go for the M3 model, you can find significant savings for a brand-new laptop.
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