pixelbook

Is Google’s Pixelbook a Viable Alternative to the MacBook Air?

pixelbook

There’s always been a rivalry between the world of Android and the world of iOS.  The same goes for the age-old Windows vs. PC debate.  Think about all the money that Apple spent in the early 2000s with their “I am a Mac” commercials.  Did it pay off?  Maybe.  What’s interesting is that we have this divide, one might even call it secular.  Sure, that word is typically used to describe our religious beliefs, but couldn’t you make that argument here?  I’m not trying to offend anyone who is religious, but our lives have become all about technology. And well, that technology defines us.  We’re either Mac, or we’re PC.  We’re either Android or we’re iOS.  Anyone who dares to straddle that line is surely confused.

That age-old debate rages on.  Deals on Google Chromebooks are everywhere.  Many see the Chromebook as a viable alternative to the 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Air.  While I don’t disagree with that on the surface, I do wonder if that’s really how people view them.  The Chromebook is much more friendly on the pocketbook than an Apple laptop would be.  Does that make it a viable alternative though?

Again, the answer might be yes.  Google’s featherweight, aluminum-clad Chromebook is more enticing than ever thanks to its price.  The Pixelbook is currently being discounted and the price is sitting around the $750 mark, making it approximately $250 less than its regular price. That’s much cheaper than even a discounted MacBook Air or a 12-inch MacBook.  But does that alone make it a viable contender?  Let’s look at the specs:

  • 7th generation Intel Core i5 processor (Y-series)
  • 128GB storage / 8GB RAM
  • 12.3-inch touch display, 2,400-by-1,600 (235 pixels-per-inch)
  • 360-degree hinge
  • 2 USB-C ports, 4K display output
  • 0.4 inches thick / 2.4 pounds
  • Material: aluminum
  • Operating System: Chrome OS / instant-on

Keep in mind that the Chrome OS has more modest hardware requirements than Mac and Windows.  Specs like the low-power Intel Y-series i5 process and 128 GB of storage are more than adequate for a Chromebook. What else does the Chromebook have to offer?

Apps: because Chrome runs Android apps, the number and variety of apps available on the Pixelbook has exploded.

Microsoft Office: Support for Microsoft Office applications is improving. Microsoft Word on Chrome, for example, has improved a lot compared to 12 months ago.

Multitasking: the ability to multitask and run apps in overlapping windows has vastly improved since I first started using Chromebooks regularly three years ago.

While these are all great things, I’m not convinced that you could say that the Chromebook is a viable alternative.  I think it’s an alternative for sure.  When I was younger, I certainly couldn’t afford a MacBook, so I would have loved to have something like a Chromebook available to me as an alternative.  This isn’t the first time that the Pixelbook’s price has been cut.  I expect that they’re being cut now thanks to the fact that it’s back to school time, and Google has plans to launch the Pixelbook 2 this fall.  If this price point fits into your budget better than a MacBook does, then I say you should pick one up, but let’s not be hasty about how we’re describing it.