Google Pixelbook 2: what we want to see

The Google Pixelbook is the premier example of what a Chromebook can be. We gave it five stars for just that reason. And, after almost a year, it still stands. 

That said, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to future generations of products, and the Pixelbook is no exception. After careful thought, and nearly a year of using the Pixelbook daily, we know what we want to see in the next iteration. 

As we near the end of the year, a time when Google traditionally launches a new version of Android, updates its smartphone lineup and is known to throw in other surprise hardware announcements, it’s likely we will soon see Google announce the Pixelbook 2.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The second Pixelbook, a high-end Chromebook
  • When is it out? Q3 2018 at the earliest, likely close to holidays
  • What will it cost? Likely as much as – if not more than – the current model

Google Pixelbook 2

Google Pixelbook 2 release date

For the past two years, Google has held a special event where the company has announced new Pixel phones. The event has taken place in October, with the phones launching a few weeks later. 

Last year, alongside the Pixel 2 and Pixelbuds, the company announced the first generation Pixelbook. 

We have no reason to believe the timing of this year’s event will be any different. It’s possible we will see the Pixelbook 2 announced as soon as October, with a release before the end of the year. Evan Blass echoes our sentiment, claiming a new Pixelbook will ship by the end of the year.

Google Pixelbook 2

Google Pixelbook 2 price

When Google has released a Chromebook of its own, be it the original Chromebook Pixel or more recent Pixelbook, it has priced the laptops at the high end. 

Google has always positioned its devices as inspiration for its partners to strive for when developing Chromebooks of their own. 

It would be nice to see Google drop its pricing structure a couple hundred dollars, but we don’t see that happening. 

Expect the Pixelbook 2 to start around the $999/£999 mark and go up from there.

Google Pixelbook 2

What we want to see from Pixelbook 2

Design
The Pixelbook’s current combination of glass, metal and silicone are the same approach to design used throughout the rest of the company’s products. Turn the Pixel 2 XL around, as an example, and you’ll find a similar glass top and brushed aluminum back. Google surely will continue to refine this industrial design, solidifying it across its entire lineup.

With the Pixelbook 2, however, we would appreciate more color options. Indeed, the silver and white color scheme of the first generation Pixelbook looks stunning, but adding more color options — perhaps something as funky as the Really Blue Pixel, complete with orange button highlights like we’ve seen on the Pixel 2. 

Google is a company thats not afraid to be bold, bucking the trend of boring laptop design is something Google should embrace.

Overall spec bump
It should go without saying that, with the release of Intel’s Coffee Lake processors, we expect to see Google use the latest Core i7 and Core i5 processors in the next Pixelbook.

While a webcam may not be the most used part of any laptop, the Pixelbook 2 deserves better than a 720p camera. We aren’t asking for a 4K webcam, but we aren’t going to complain if one does show up. 

It’s unclear what kind of impact Linux apps (more on those in a minute) will have on system performance, but it can’t hurt to have more RAM. Right now, users are given the option of 8GB and 16GB, depending on configuration. And unfortunately, the 16GB setup is only available in the most expensive configuration — a Pixelbook with an Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage for $,1649. 

For the Pixelbook 2, we’d love to see Google make the 16GB option available across more configurations, and not just for those who have piles of extra money.

Display
There’s not a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the Pixelbook’s display. The 12.3-inch screen, with a resolution of 2,400 x 1,600 pixels and 3:2 aspect ratio, is certainly easy on the eyes. 

However, according to Evan Blass, the new Pixelbook will have smaller bezels around the screen. If that is indeed the case, then increasing the size of the display while leaving the overall size of the Pixelbook the same is something we welcome with open arms. 

Additionally, the 3:2 aspect ratio should stay. It looks good in landscape and portrait, as well as lends itself to displaying books, magazines, and movies in a natural-feeling layout. It also makes for a more realistic experience when using the stylus on the Pixelbook’s display for notes or sketches.

Better battery life
Google advertises the Pixelbook as having all day battery life, but that’s a subjective measurement. Our use has shown the battery to not quite hit that mark, which isn’t all that uncommon. 

So, we’d like to see both better power efficiency and more battery capacity out of this year’s model. Perhaps software improvements could improve power efficiency, like Microsoft has done with its Battery Saver feature in Windows 10.

Linux goes official
Project Crostini for Chrome OS is bringing official support for Linux apps. Currently, the project is only available to users who are brave enough to run Chrome OS in developer mode. 

Google is updating the project frequently as it gets closer to official public release. We can’t think of a better time to officially launch a major feature such as this than along with brand new hardware. 

Google Pixelbook 2

Fingerprint sensor
Smart Lock is a handy feature, relying on a paired Android phone’s fingerprint sensor to unlock a Chrome OS device when the two devices are close to one another. But picking up a phone to unlock a computer is still a longer process than using a fingerprint reader on the computer itself. 

If the current design remains relatively unchanged, Google could place the reader in the power button on the left side. This provides access to the scanner, regardless of orientation, which has already been done on countless 2-in-1 laptops.

Smart Display Mode
The Pixelbook was the first Chrome OS device to ship with a dedicated Google Assistant key. Eventually the Pixelbook was updated with the the option to respond to hands-free commands, but only while unlocked and the screen turned on. 

With the second Pixelbook, Google should take Assistant one step further by adding an always-listening feature, regardless of unlock status, and replicate a similar experience to that found on the Lenovo Smart Display

Pen included
The Pixelbook works with a stylus, but it costs you an additional $99/£99  just to write or draw on your screen. 

Jotting notes on the lock screen is handy, but with the Pixelbook already sitting atop the the pricing scale, including a pen isn’t too much to ask for … is it? 

Ditch the palm rests
Have you seen what the white palm rests just below the keyboard look like after a few months of use? It’s gross. The amount of dirt that shows is embarrassing, even after you’ve cleaned them. 

Hopefully, if Google insists on using a similar material, they use something that is not white  – or at least more dirt and grime resistant. Regardless, come back to this page every now and then ahead of the possible launch for the latest Pixelbook 2 rumors and leaks.

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