I don’t know what it is about Chromebooks that allows designers to make the decisions that they do. But for what ever reason functionality-wise Chromebook are infinitely more compelling devices that normal Windows laptops. If I had the option to buy Chromebooks with a normal copy of Windows and the option to install Linux on it (without having to flash the bios) like any normal computer, then hands down, I would use that.
I would like to have a Ryzen laptop, but since all of them except the Surface 3 are capped at 1080p, it really makes Chromebooks look that much more appealing. The three options I’m considering are the Pixelbook, Samsung Chromebook Pro, and Samsung Chromebook Plus V2. And for specs I think I can make one table comparing all three of these.
||2400 x 1600
|Samsung Chromebook Pro
||2400 x 1600
|Samsung Chromebook Plus V2
||1900 x 1200
Generally we’re not here to compare specs. The aspect that I’m interested for each device is functionality. So it seems like the best way to compare these computers is to focus on weaknesses and try to narrow down from there.
At the top we have the Pixelbook which is going to be the no compromise option. It has a great keyboard, great trackpad, and USB-C ports on each side for charging. It’s also the most expensive option. So the main question is going to be are the cheaper Samsung options going to have some functionality to bring to the table? My prediction is probably not. In terms of downsides the main issue is going to be a lack of sd card slot, but that’s something that can be done with a dongle and isn’t a huge deal.
For the Chromebook Pro, we have a few weaknesses. Generally in terms of keyboard flex, smaller outer keys, and then the 32GB of storage. This can probably be made up for a little bit with the fact that it has a micro-sd card slot with a cover. But I’m not really a fan of the idea of installing operating systems to the micro-sd card should I try installing another OS, plus the possibility of losing pen support. So it’s probably a good idea to eliminate this option.
The last device is the Plus V2, which is a surprisingly compelling little device. The resolution isn’t terribly high, but this seems like a cheap but capable device that I could probably consider leaving ChromeOS on it to act as a thin client, and do most everything over SSH. This device on it’s own isn’t The compelling part is more that because this device is cheap, I could pick up a Samsung Galaxy S8 for $280 and the DexDock for $40, and pick up a few devices for the price of the Pixelbook.
I think we can safely eliminate the Chromebook Pro. With the limitations on keyboard and storage, I think it would be passable but with a lot of compromises. And I don’t think I would get enough functionality out of the pen to balance out those short comings. For the Plus V2, it seems like a cute little device with a good keyboard and more functionality with the pen. In this case I think it would make a great ChromeOS device, but be lacking and potentially even lose the ability to use the pen with Linux installed on it. I tried to rationalize one of the Samsung options by thinking, “I could buy a Galaxy Phone and a Chromebook for the price of the Pixelbook”, but in general it really looks like the Pixelbook and Pixel 2 is a stronger option, even if it is a little pricier.
I think the next comparison to make between the pixelbook and another device would probably be the Samsung Galaxy S9, or Note 8 with a DexDock and NexDock for one option, with the Pixelbook as the other option. I think the Pixelbook would come out on top, but it would make n interesting comparison.