Since its launch in late 2017, the Google Pixelbook has been a smash hit with owners (including myself) regardless of the early criticisms of some tech reviewers. I have owned by Pixelbook for several months and it has quickly become my daily driver. It is simply great but if Google were to let me loose in their development lab for a day, these are the changes I would make to the Pixelbook.
Before I begin, I just want to say that this post is targeted towards the Pixelbook, not ChromeOS.
I am honestly not a huge fan of the pearl white color of the Pixelbook and could not wait for a dbrand skin to come in the mail to fix this problem. I do understand that there are some who like white laptops, I personally prefer my laptops in darker colors such as black or dark blue. I would love it if Google offered the same color options that they do with the Pixel line of phones with the Pixelbook.
It is not a shock that Google is not a fan of expandable storage however this is really something that Google should change their mind on soon. My Chromebook has 256 GB of storage which is a lot for a Chromebook but I have managed to fill it up multiple times with offline Netflix, YouTube and Google Play Movie content. I would love nothing more than to be able to pop a 256 GB or even 400 GB MicroSD Card for additional storage on long trips.
Global LTE Connectivity
This is a bit of a polarizing topic for many as there are several people who do not think it is practical for laptops to have LTE Modems and those who genuinely see the usefulness of this – I clearly fall into the latter. Google has released a previous version of the Chromebook Pixel with LTE but sadly they partnered with Verizon. I would honestly pay a premium of a Pixelbook that will support enough bands that it will just work with any SIM card that you pop in.
I am honestly shocked that Google did not include a fingerprint reader on the Pixelbook – this really needs to be fixed in the next release. I would love it if the password management system worked the same way as it does in Android 8.0 Oreo’s Autofill API as this would allow us to use whatever password manager we like. I would love to see the fingerprint reader located just above the keyboard or in the bezel towards the bottom of the screen for those who use it as a tablet.
One thing that many tech review sites heavily criticized the Pixelbook for was the massive bezels on all sides of the screen. They are simply massive. As this is a convertible form factor, I do understand that it would not be a good idea to completely do away with the bezels but I would love to see them reduced in a future model.
Upgraded Pixelbook Pen
I honestly cannot recommend the purchase of the Pixelbook pen for most customers who wish to purchase a Pixelbook. The Google Assistant support with the pen is a cool gimmick that will eventually go unused after your first few weeks of ownership. I would like to propose three changes to the Pixelbook Pen that would make it a required accessory for customers that want to get the most out of their Pixelbook.
- Rechargeable Battery – Like many adults, I do not normally keep a drawer full of batteries anymore with just about everything being rechargeable these days. Even when I did keep this drawer, I rarely stocked the hard to find AAAA Batteries needed for the Pixelbook Pen. I would really like to see the next iteration of the Pixelbook Pen include a USB Type C Port to allow for rapid charging – please do not take a page from the way Apple does it, just a simple Type C port on one side of the stylus body is enough.
- More Buttons – Currently the Pixelbook Pen has only a single button to call up Google Assistant. I would love to see an additional 3 buttons that can be assigned to different functions such as toggling between brushes in an art program or even simply acting as a undo button.
- Fingerprint Reader – It would be very cool of the Pixelbook Pen had an additional fingerprint reader on the barrel to allow users to quickly unlock their Pixelbook. This would of course require the addition of Bluetooth Low Energy to the Pen.
The best part of these upgrades is that there is no reason why it would not be able to work with the current Pixelbook line of units, Google could release this as the Pixelbook Pen Pro for an additional $199.99 and I would likely buy it.
Better Battery Life
Perhaps the biggest disappointment with the Pixelbook is that the battery life falls short of the “up to 10 hours” noted on the marketing materials. In my day to day use, I average between 4 and 6 hours on a charge. Granted it is possible that future software updates could help to improve battery life, I would love to simply have a bigger battery.