I spent five today days with the Pixelbook. Within five days I went from excitement, experimentation, tweaking, reading forums, testing, to dealing with my first bug of many bugs, and ultimate disappointment.
I am an Apple Geek. I love Apple products. There was a time when I was unwilling to experiment with other technology manufacturers. The designs were not basic. The quality was always questionable.
And then one day something strange happened on the way to the Apple Store. The competition got better. They finally figured out what people like about Apple and decided to duplicate. What they have done is replicate the look of a beautiful machine. Quality is still far and away.
But lately, Apple has some explaining to do. Their quality of which they have been the beacon for the last fifteen years has come into question. I have been waiting for Apple to get it right, but it doesn’t seem like that is happening this year. They’ve spent the last year trying to heed all their critics from 2017 while not ensuring the products”just work.”
Add more memory Apple! Okay. There you go … here is more memory.
Me: Did you update their design to account the extra heat these new CPUs, like the i9, will inevitably cause some throttling?
Apple: Nope. The design is perfect. The design is all. Design over function, Y’all.
I waisted several days pondering over something to use until Apple gets their house in order.
And then it came to me in a vision of many Youtube videos: Google’s Pixelbook.
The price for their base model had reduced significantly from last year. The design was beautiful. It was light and then and it offered the one thing my beloved iPad has yet to deliver: A fully capable desktop level browser.
This is a beautifully designed piece of hardware. This is the kind of thing Apple should be doing but isn’t. It’s almost as if Google decided to use the MacBook as an example and designed the Pixelbook as a response to all of Macbooks criticisms.
The Pixelbook has a touchscreen. The Pixelbook has one of the best keyboards in an ultrabook laptop design. The Pixelbook screen can bend a full 180 degrees behind letting one use it as a tablet. Though, I never bothered with using the Pixelbook as a tablet. I’ve always that that was a silly concept. An attempt to give people a tablet and PC.
Microsoft gets this right. They have their Surface Books with detaching from the keyboard. If only they would do something about that ugly gap in their hinges. I can’t imagine carrying that monstrosity around in my backpack.
I know a lot of people complain about the obsession with thin and lightness in technology. But I imagine those complaining don’t commute via subway. I always have a backpack full of work-related stuff, my lunch, and my computer. What I don’t need is a thick and heavy laptop to carry around on top of that.
The Pixelbook bezels are a sight for sore eyes. I’m not a fan. They didn’t cause me great worry. But I can only imagine how much smaller the Pixel book could have been had Google tried to thin those ginormous bezels.
For what Google was charging one would think they were getting a fully polished product. That is far from the case. The battery life is worthless. For a Chromebook, which have had the reputation of long battery life the Pixelbook has the same quality of battery life as a gaming laptop. And this thing doesn’t even have a great GPU.
The state of Android.
With all things said and done, the opportunity to use Android apps intrigued me. But Google has always been an engineering company first. They are only; lately, it seems, trying to shift gears to be more consumer friendly. Yet when I used the Pixelbook, I felt like I was using a test product. I felt like Google was once again throwing something out in the wild if it would stick on the wall. But also to tell third-party manufacturers: why can’t you guys do something like this?
With the battery issue and the beta quality of the software, I was starting to become disappointed. The other day I tried to figure out the best way to increase battery. I turned off a few extensions, turned on a feature in Chrome OS which forced Android apps to not run in the background.
When I was searching the internet solution one Redditor boast 14-hour battery life. But he also admitted to not using any Android apps and not using any extensions. I might try that if I was using a cheaper machine, but that was extreme. I’m a writer, and I want a machine that can last a decent amount of time on battery whenever the urge to write hits me.
The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back
Then last night I opened my Pixelbook only to find it wouldn’t connect to my Wifi. I kept saying I was ‘Out of Rang.’ So I headed over to my router standing right next to it, and it would not connect I finally restarted the computer. That did the trick. But that was a bad sign. I’ve only had this machine for several days, and it’s already having an issue.
For an operating system which relies more on an internet connection than others, a bug which prevents it from connecting to the internet is unacceptable. This machine has been around for nearly a year. It has received some updates since then. If Google hasn’t fixed this bug (or the fucking Bluetooth bug), then I’m not going to waste any more of my time with your Beta piece of shit.
Return to Sender
I have since returned this machine to Best Buy. I will continue to use divide my time between my work laptop and searching for the best laptop to fit my needs.