Google’s new laptop is a thing of brains and beauty

The Pixelbook outperforms the MacBook in many areas, and has the advantage of converting into a tablet

Google Pixelbook, from £999
Google Pixelbook, from £999 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

“Am I a tech dinosaur?” I wondered when this stunning laptop/tablet hybrid arrived. The Google Pixelbook is the latest iteration of the hard-drive-free Chromebook laptop I got enthusiastic about a few years ago. 

The original Chromebook’s advantage was that, as a window to the web, where your data resides, it was cheap and simple. Lose a Chromebook, you’re a couple of hundred pounds down but you haven’t lost any actual documents or software. Its disadvantage – and the reason I have remained, brontosaurus-like, a MacBook user – is partly that I can’t be bothered to learn another PC ecosystem and partly because a 100 per cent web-reliant laptop is about as useful as one boot when you’re walking through a muddy field. 

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And yet the Google Pixelbook is of such stellar quality that I could have a better laptop life with it. It’s only minimally larger and heavier than my Mac, yet the Pixelbook’s keyboard is better, the screen is bigger (and it’s touch-sensitive), the Google Assistant voice feature is a step up on Siri and – a big and – it now comes with up to a 512GB solid state hard drive, so all my existing data could live on it. Also, the battery life is just as good as the Mac and, oh, the Pixelbook folds over backwards to become a tablet, albeit a galumphingly thick one.

On the other hand, for my main work tool to be supplied as an online accessory by a company that makes the lion’s share of its money through digital advertising is just a tad too 2018 for moi – a bit like driving a car made by BP. And yet it’s sooo slick and beautiful. I might yet fall…

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