The Final Battle: Google’s Pixelbook Go Vs. Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3
Battle Royale (with Cheese)
It’s very safe to say that I do not know what the hell I want out of my computer.
I started my computer-buying journey with the MacBook Air, certain that it was what I needed, since I had an iPad and an iPhone already. I even initially chose to keep it despite it losing the first Battle Royale, when I pitted it against the Surface Laptop 3.
After I took both computers back, I picked up the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex Alpha as a last-ditch effort to find the perfect Windows laptop; but I instantly regretted trading the other two out for the Samsung, and within days that computer, too, was returned.
I picked up Google’s latest Chromebook, the Pixelbook Go, and I instantly fell in love. I fell in love with the fantastic keyboard, with the matte black body, with the strange, ribbed bottom. I fell in love with everything. Except ChromeOS; despite my undying love for the platform, I had come to realize that while I didn’t need an operating system that did much, I wouldn’t mind having one.
I made the mistake of picking up the MacBook Air again, resigning myself to the idea that, yes, this was the computer I needed, because I had an iPhone and an iPad. Sound familiar? It should. But this time, I was totally committed to keeping it. Until…
My fiance began to look at a new computer. She quickly picked Lenovo’s Yoga c740 computer, and as I helped her set up that laptop, I quickly fell in love with it too; I traded the MacBook Air for my own c740 the next day. And it was all fine and dandy.
It took me a few days to realize that I wasn’t in love with the keyboard; while it was very comfortable to type on, after hours of typing the keys felt sticky (a problem made worse if the room was humid- living in the southern part of North Carolina, that’s pretty much every day in summer) and I just didn’t enjoy using it anymore.
At this point, I thought I knew what I needed. Through every review I wrote, the keyboard was the sticking point (if you’ll pardon the Lenovo-aimed pun). It was the make or break for me. Sure, I wanted a good screen. Sure, I wanted a decent processor. Sure, I wanted a sleek computer, one that looked damn good sitting on a table.
And while their were other computers out there that I could compare, my mind came back to the two that I loved the most: Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3 and Google’s Pixelbook Go.
So we’re here, at the final round. The final battle. It has all lead to this. Do I need a high end computer? Can I survive on Chrome OS alone? What the hell do I want in a computer???
Since I’ve compared both of these computers to other computers, some of this is going to be a rehash, plain and simple. But since I never put them head to head, and since I’ve learned a few things about what I need- and don’t need- in a computer since then.
As ever, we will start with how much lighter your pockets are going to be.
The Surface Laptop 3 begins at the humble price of $999. This gets you an Intel Core i5, 128 gigabytes of storage, 8gb ram, and a sleek and sexy machine. But I’ll get to the design in a bit. You can go up in price quickly if you chose to have a Core i7 processor, more ram or storage, or an all-metal body (the $999 gets you the Alcantara material on the keyboard deck). But I never ventured above the base model, so we’ll stick with that price for this comparison. It’s also worth a mention that this computer is constantly on sale at Best Buy, and you can regularly pick it up for $799 (or less if you don’t mind an open box).
The Pixelbook Go starts at a much more modest price of $649, and that price comes with more modest innards as well: Intel’s Core m3, 64 gigs of storage, and 8gb ram. While those specs don’t sound as good as the Surface, it’s worth considering that ChromeOS doesn’t need nearly the horsepower that Windows 10 is capable of using, and while a 64gb hard drive sounds a bit small in 2020, ChromeOS is designed to work in tandem with Google Drive, so most of your storage will be in the cloud. It’s also worth mentioning that after I get the Surface all set up, I’ve only got about half of the storage left available to use, and neither computer comes with any sort of SD card reading capability built in.
The Pixelbook Go also has more expensive options that will get you a Core i5 or i7 and more internal storage, and you can even go up to a 4K screen, but I’ve always thought $1000 plus Chromebooks were simply unnecessary. And, like with the Surface Laptop 3, I never ventured beyond the base model, so we’ll stick with that.
Winner: Pixelbook Go is definitely much easier on the receipt. We’ll have to wait and see if the savings in cost is worth it in the upcoming sections.
So, if you’ve followed my previous battles, we know by now that both the Pixelbook Go and the Surface Laptop 3 are stunning machines.
If you are looking for a sleeker design in your laptop, the Surface Laptop 3 is it. The bottom half has an angular design, tapering out from the front to a wider- yet still slim- rear. This rear is where you’ll find the proprietary Surface Connect charging port (on the right) as well as the headphone jack and the two USB ports (one standard USB, the other USB-C, all on the left). The edges are all rounded off so that you get no sharp corners. The back of the device has a fan vent that runs along the entire back end, but is very minimalistic and hardly noticeable when the device is open.
Of course, having a fan vent means that there is a fan. It doesn’t seem to run too often, however; it mainly went off when the computer was charging, or if I was running an intensive Steam game like Portal 2. While I hate fan noise (please refer back to the original comparison of the MacBook Air and the Surface Laptop 3), it is, for the most part, manageable with the Surface, and after a while I rarely noticed it. As far as heating is concerned, it rarely got warmer than 160 degrees Fahrenheit, even when running a game.
While the Surface is the looker of the pair, don’t discount the Pixelbook Go just yet. Where the Surface went for angles, the Pixelbook Go went for curves; the device has a completed rounded profile, which begins at the edge of the screen and follows through to the chassis when the laptop is closed. All of the edges are subtly rounded as well, meaning you don’t get metal digging into your wrist while you are typing. The bottom also has a ridged design, which fees nice in the lap, and gives it a good grip when you are carrying the computer. On both the right and left sides of the chassis you’ll find a USB-C port (and either one can be used for charging), and there’s also a headphone jack on the left side. If I had to describe this computer in any one way, I’d call it “understated”. It feels like a computer that is designed to melt away while you are using it so that you can focus on the screen. And yet, it’s a computer that is stunning to look at and amazing to hold.
The Pixelbook Go is fanless, so obviously it doesn’t make any noise at all, which I love. Even under some strain, such as playing a Steam game, the computer never got too warm, though I wasn’t able to find an easy way to monitor the actual temperature of the computer. The magnesium body is also cool to the touch, and I suspect that this- plus the ridged underside- help keep the device from getting too warm to the touch.
On either computer, you can lift the screen with one finger when the devices are on a flat surface, and honestly, that feeling is magical. With the built-in Windows Hello camera on the Surface, the device usually scans your face and unlocks by the time you have the screen in the position you want it in, which is also rather magical… except when it doesn’t work; in some rooms, the Surface struggled to recognize me- Microsoft suggested that poor lighting could be affecting the camera’s read on my face, but even in a well-lit room where my face is not in shadows, it would occasionally ask me for my password instead. The Pixelbook Go does not have any form of biometric security- no fingerprint reader, no facial recognition. If you have an Android phone, you can unlock the device when the phone is near, but other than that, it’s a PIN or password.
If you’ve opened the screens side by side as I have, you’ll notice immediately that the Surface Laptop 3 is taller. The Pixelbook Go has a 13.3 inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1920 x 1080 in the base model, while the Surface has a 13.5 inch screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio and a resolution of 2256 x 1504. The Pixelbook’s screen has a wider bezel at the top and bottom, but a thinner one on the sides, and- at least if you get the black model- those bezels really aren’t too noticeable. And while the Surface’s screen is better on paper, they both look fantastic in day to day use.
Over the course of these battles, I’ve come up with a nifty test to see how capable the screen and hardware are. I stream Sucre’s “Inside” music video in 4K, Aurora’s “It Happened Quiet” music video in 1080p, and the Slow Mo Guy’s framerate breaking “Glitter” video in 8K. And throughout my battles, this has been a great test. But this is the battle where that test stumbled.
In my original comparison, the Surface Laptop 3 played all of these with relative ease; the 8K “Glitter” video took a little longer to load, but once it was playing, it was smooth sailing. But this time around, the Surface Laptop 3 struggled to play the 8K version of this video, and I had to settle for 4K. On the music videos, the playback was much smoother. The Pixelbook, similarly, struggled with the 8K “Glitter” playback, and similarly played the 4K version, as well as the music videos, with ease. Despite the taller screen, the videos play back in the same 16:9 aspect ratio, so you’ll have dead space at the top and bottom of the Surface screen while watching a video, while it will completely fill the Pixelbook’s screen.
That dead space, however, comes in handy when doing other tasks, such as writing or editing photos. The Pixelbook’s screen does not feel cramped in any way, but it is nice to have that extra space for productivity. Both screens are touchscreens, despite neither laptop being a convertible. You can get Microsoft’s Surface Pen to use with the Surface Laptop 3 (although it doesn’t support all of the drawing options that other Surface devices do), but the Pixelbook Go does not seem to support Google’s Pixelbook Pen.
Because of the taller screen, the Surface Laptop 3’s base is also a little longer than usual, and overall, the computer is slightly bigger than the Pixelbook Go. Both are extremely portable, don’t get me wrong, but the Pixelbook Go is going to be smaller and lighter and ever so slightly more portable. The Pixelbook Go weighs in at 2.3 pounds while the Surface Laptop 3 weighs a slightly heftier 2.79 pounds.
In watching those videos, I of course needed to listen to them as well. The Pixelbook Go has a speaker grill on either side of the keyboard, which is nice; up-firing speakers generally sound better than ones that are positioned on the bottom of a computer. And for the Pixelbook’s size, I was very pleasantly surprised at how loud and clear this computer sounds. In fact, it sounds as good as the Surface Laptop 3, which also sports excellent speakers, though you’ll have trouble locating them; Microsoft hid the Surface Laptop 3’s speakers beneath the keyboard. Personally, I really love this design choice, as I hate any unnecessary openings on my device (this is part of my aversion to fans and fan vents).
The keyboards for these computers are primarily the reason I decided to revisit these laptops. Both have excellent keyboards, but the Pixelbook’s is better. Hands down. The Surface’s keys have a nice soft-touch feel and the square buttons have a slight indention that helps your fingers find them easily. The base model Surface also comes with the soft, Alcantara material that Microsoft loves pairing with Surface devices, which gives the keyboard deck a very nice, silky feeling when you are writing. The keys are satisfyingly clicky and responsive, although there is a little bit of give in the center of the keyboard. This is likely due to the Alcantara material, and I’ve read that the more expensive metal versions don’t have this same flex.
The Pixelbook’s keyboard, however… let’s just say that Apple says they have the “magic” keyboard (after years of trial and many errors), but I think Google quietly came up with the best keyboard design ever. The keys, like everything else about the Pixelbook Go, are rounded on the edges, and have such a satisfying and comfortable typing experience. My hands just don’t get tired of using this keyboard, and I find that I am often looking for something to write just to use it. Google calls this a “Hush Keyboard” and it earn’s it’s name; unless you are typing in a silent room, you can barely hear the keys as you type.
For this battle, I took brand new typing tests at 10 Fast Fingers; The first time around, the Pixelbook brought it with my personal best score of 97 words per minute at 100% accuracy. I haven’t yet been able to replicate that result, but the Pixelbook still outclassed the Surface in this test; the Surface’s results were 78 words per minute at 96.3% accuracy, while the Pixelbook got 84 words at 99.29% accuracy.
The edge of the Surface Laptop 3’s keyboard deck tapers down to an impossibly thin edge; while this is nice to look at, I do think that it makes this computer uncomfortable to type on for prolonged periods of time. If you aren’t using the computer on a table, the edge can dig into your wrists a bit. It’s still a slightly rounded edge, and primarily your wrists will be touching the soft Alcantara and not metal, so it isn’t as bad as other computer’s I’ve tried recently, but it is noticeable, primarily because of it’s razor thinness. Because of the rounded edges on the Pixelbook Go, you can type for hours and you’ll never feel like anything is digging into your hands.
Below the keyboards, you’ll also find a trackpad. Both trackpads are very responsive and very clicky, and that’s really all I have to say about that.
The Pixelbook Go comes in matte black and what Google calls “Not Pink”, which is, basically, pink. The black finish is beautiful and spartan, with the keyboard and the trackpad matching the rest of the computer. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I feel like Batman while I’m using this thing. The pink model does have a dual toned color, with the ridged bottom being a darker color than the rest of the machine.
At the base price, the Surface only comes in silver with grey Alcantara covering the keyboard deck. If you want the keyboard deck in matching silver metal, or if you want any other color (black, sandstone, or cobalt blue with blue Alcantara), you’re going to have to spend more money.
Before I conclude this section, I feel that it is important to mention that on my first unit, the Alcantara began to peel after a few weeks. It was only a tiny bit, and only in the right-hand corner, but it was enough to make me concerned regarding the longevity of this material on a surface that I am literally going to be touching and rubbing my hands against day after day. If you choose the Surface Laptop 3 for yourself, I think this is something you should consider, too.
Winner: Both machines are impeccably designed. But I’m giving this to the Pixelbook Go primarily because of that stellar keyboard. I love so much about the design of both computers, but the keyboard is why I revisited the Pixelbook Go in the first place, and it continues to outshine every other keyboard I’ve ever used.
Operating System and Software
The biggest difference between these machines is the programming that they run. Or more specifically, what the Pixelbook can’t run.
If you are someone who needs programs like Photoshop or Microsoft’s Office suite, you need to stop looking at the Pixelbook Go right now. ChromeOS just won’t be for you.
Personally, I love ChromeOS; despite it’s limitations, I think it works very well for the primary things I use a computer for: writing and surfing the web. Recently, Google has brought Android app support to the OS, as well as Linux support, which has greatly expanded what ChromeOS can do. Don’t get me wrong; there’s still a long way to go with both of these additions. Android apps are hit and miss on a Chromebook right now, with many mainstream apps not yet optimized for the larger screen real estate. Microsoft Word’s app, for example, is horrendous; when scrolling through a larger document, whole pages of text simply won’t display. Even Google’s own Docs app pales in comparison to Google Docs in the browser. And Linux support is still very much in beta; I was able to get the Linux version of GIMP and Steam running fine (though not all Steam games are Linux compatible), but LibreOffice crashes almost every time I try to save a document.
Put simply, if you aren’t sure if ChromeOS will be able to handle your daily tasks, then it probably won’t be able to. But for those who mainly live in a browser for their daily tasks, and for those who want access to Android apps on their computer, ChromeOS is a very exciting platform. And one that will only continue to improve.
Now, if you are someone who doesn’t always have internet access, there’s undoubtedly concern about using the Chromebook, since it is so primarily web-based. Programs like Google Docs will automatically save your work both in the cloud and to your computer, so that you can still edit and create documents even without the internet. And now that there is support for Android and Linux apps, you can add even more offline functionality to the device. That said, Chromebooks are intended to be always connected, so if you are going to be spending most of your time without an internet connection, once again, ChromeOS may not be for you.
The Surface Laptop 3, obviously, comes with Windows 10. This is the full Windows 10 out of the box, not the “S Mode” that other Surface products will ship with, so right from the start you aren’t limited by what you can install. It is the Home Edition of Windows 10, but you can upgrade it to the Pro version if you want to.
Windows 10 has some clear advantages over ChromeOS. Namely that you can install standard programs on Windows. That means if there is an .exe file for it, you can get it. iTunes, Adobe software, AutoCAD, whatever you need. And of course, Microsoft Office. Where Windows 10 excels in programs, however, their app store is still extremely limited; you won’t find app versions of Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video, so for popular platforms like that, you’re back to using the web browser for them.
Of course, unlike ChromeOS, Windows will let you change your default browser. It will come with Microsoft Edge by default (you can also quickly update Edge to the new Chromium-based Edge as soon as you open it the first time), and it will prompt you to keep using Edge when you go to download Chrome or Firefox, but aside from suggesting that Edge is the best browser for your PC, it won’t stop you from setting up another browser as your default.
And that’s honestly why Windows 10 is going to win this category for most users- it gives you choices. Arguably, with the Chrome browser installed on your Surface, it can do everything that the Pixelbook can (aside from Android apps and Linux apps, although most of the latter are also available to install directly on Windows 10). You can install Google’s Back Up & Sync to automatically back up your computer to Google Drive.
So why would anyone choose a Chromebook over a more functional Windows 10 computer? Personally I like the stability of ChromeOS over Windows 10. Updates for ChromeOS come every six weeks, and those updates install in the background while I’m using the computer. To complete the install, ChromeOS will prompt me to restart the computer, which takes literal seconds, and them I’m back to work. I also love that if I need to restore the computer to factory settings (called a Powerwash on a Chromebook), this process takes a couple of minutes and the I can sign back into my Google account and keep working.
By comparison, Windows 10 takes forever to install updates, and the computer is completely unusable while updates are being processed. Microsoft has cut down on the time that it takes to update, but we’re still talking several minutes depending on the size of the update. And even when those updates are installed, most Microsoft updates these days are riddled with bugs, ranging from mildly irritating to computer-breaking. And if you have to restore the computer to factory settings, that can take a hour or longer. Not to mention the time you’ll spend after that to reinstall updates and your programs again (ChromeOS will automatically install the apps I had installed previously). And I’ve never seen a blue screen of death on a Chromebook. Just sayin’.
Winner: This one really depends on what you need from your computer. I think Windows 10 wins this section primarily for it’s greater selection of programs and options, but ChromeOS is a very capable platform these days, and definitely not as buggy as Windows can be. I’m giving this to the Surface Laptop 3, but I think really, before you seriously consider either of these machines, you should consider which operating system best fits your needs.
Battery Life and Charging
Winner: Pixelbook Go.
Oh, sorry, I didn’t say why, did I?
The Pixelbook Go, like most other Chromebooks, has exceptional battery life. I regularly get 10 hours or more on the device, and that’s par for the course with ChromeOS. Frankly, I just don’t have to worry about battery life on the computer.
The Surface Laptop 3 also gets very good battery life- usually between 7–9 hours, but it just doesn’t quite compete with the Pixelbook’s longevity.
Both feature fast charging; the Pixelbook will get 2 hours of usage off of 20 minutes of charging time, where the Surface Laptop 3 will go from zero to 80% in an hour- so long as you are charging the computer while it is asleep. In real time usage, I generally got the Pixelbook charged completely in an hour, while the Surface would take a little over that.
Both computers can charge with USB-C; since the Pixelbook has a USB-C port on either side of the device, you can charge from whichever direction is most comfortable for you. I personally love this, since it means I always have a charging port facing the nearest outlet.
While the Surface can charge with the USB-C port located on the left side of the chassis, it doesn’t by default. In the box, you’ll instead find a proprietary Surface Connect charger, which magnetically attaches to the port on the right side of the device. In theory, this is great, because if your cable ever gets snagged on something, it will just detach rather than bringing your computer crashing to the floor. In practice, however, I found that it was often difficult to navigate the small tube-like connector into the slot on the computer without lifting the whole computer off the table, and it would quickly detach at the slightest tug; more often than not, if I was using the computer in my lap and I shifted position, the cable would disconnect. You can buy a USB-C charger to use with the computer if you’d prefer that over the Surface Connect charger, but you have to make sure you get one with decent wattage in order to still get fast charging. I’ve also read that the computer runs a little hotter when charging through USB-C, which means the fan is going to run a little louder as well.
The Pixelbook’s charger is a large, white square that plugs into the wall. It is perfect for travelling, however, it can easily take up two spaces on an outlet or a power strip. The Surface Connect charger, on the other hand, puts the components in a box in the middle of the cable; this makes it a little less travel friendly, but easier to use when you need to have access to all of the available outlet space. There is also a USB port in the Surface Connect’s charger, which allows you to plug in another device- such as your phone- to charge off of the same plug, which is a nice touch (sadly, this extra USB port is not able to be used to connect a peripheral to the computer).
So yeah, like I said… Winner: Pixelbook Go. The battery lasts longer, charges faster, and uses a more standard connection out of the box. And the fact that you can use either USB-C port to charge… well, in this category I think this is a no brainer if I ever saw one.
What I Didn’t Like the First Time
Something very important to realize as I write this comparison is that, at one point in the recent past, I owned both of these computers and I gave them both up. And while I regretted those decisions, I think it is important to remember why I took them back to the store.
For the Surface Laptop 3, I think it is simple: I was concerned about the design. Specifically, the Alcantara. I absolutely love the Alcantara keyboard; it feels great against my palms as I’m typing away. But as I said, on the first Surface Laptop 3 I owned the material began to peel up at the bottom right corner. It wasn’t bad- in fact, it was hardly noticeable. But it was just concerning enough that I decided to take it back; after all, if the material started to show signs of wear and tear after a month, how was it going to look in a year?
At that point, I hadn’t entirely given up on the Surface Laptop 3; in the back of my mind, I decided that, if I were to return to the computer again, I’d go for one of the all-metal bodies instead. I’d hate to give up the Alcantara- it made the computer extremely unique in a world where so many computers look similar to each other- but it would be better in the long run. But if I wanted the all-metal design, that was a $300 jump from the $999 starting price (this price bump also includes double the storage). That was a jump I was not prepared to make.
And then, there’s Windows. I really like Windows 10, but we can’t deny that it is buggy as hell. So buggy, apparently, that Microsoft is still barring the Surface Laptop 3 from receiving the feature update that was supposed to arrive in May. While I never ran into the plethora of problems with the Surface Laptop as I have on lesser Windows machines, I found that the computer constantly “forgot” to stay connected to WiFi, abruptly decided to remove OneDrive’s upload interface, and occasionally signed me out of my Microsoft account in apps like Word or OneNote.
Siderbar: As much as I wanted to prefer Microsoft Word for my daily writing program, I found issues there as well; sometimes Word found an inconsistency with versions of a saved document (comparing the one in OneDrive to the one on my computer), and would ask me to choose which one to save (or would save one as a second document). While it was nice that it wanted to know which version was the most up-to-date, it caused more headache because, ever the perfectionist I am (and having been burned by Word deleting important book chapters before), I’d feel obliged to save both copies and then try to figure out what the differences were to know which one I should actually keep. That’s all well and good in a 10-page document, but try finding those changes in a 500-page manuscript. Even on the Surface, I’d find myself going back to use Google Docs for writing instead, simply because I knew that it always saved my most up to date writing instantly.
But it clearly wasn’t all sunshine with the Pixelbook Go, either. The reason I gave that machine back to Best Buy, ultimately, came down to the OS. I have always loved ChromeOS; ever since I got my hands on my first Chromebook (Samsung’s original Chromebook), I’ve always had a Chromebook in my house, even if it wasn’t my daily computer. But ChromeOS has it’s limitations. It can’t run mainstream programs like Photoshop or Microsoft Word, and while it has support for Android apps and Linux programs, the implementation of many programs leave much to be desired (avoid the Android app for Microsoft Word at all costs).
I ultimately took the Pixelbook Go back because I wanted choice. I still prefer to use Google Docs for most of my writing, but I wanted to have the choice to use Microsoft Word if I wanted to, and not to have to rely on a shoddy Android app or Word for the Web. While I rarely use programs like Photoshop or Lightroom (I usually opt for apps like Snapseed or Photofox on my iPhone when editing photos), I wanted to have the ability to use them if I wanted to. And while there are work-arounds on ChromeOS for many things- GIMP photo editor is a Linux program that is easy to install and replicates most of Photoshop’s functionality for free, for example- it just didn’t feel as useful.
Winner: There really isn’t a winner for this category; both computers, realistically, lost this one. But I think I had less issues overall with the Pixelbook Go.
What I Liked the Second Time
Enough about what I didn’t like about these computers. We aren’t really here to talk about why I took them back the first time. We’re here to talk about why I came back to them a second time.
For the Pixelbook Go, that’s incredibly easy: the keyboard. I have never typed on a keyboard as good as the one on the Pixelbook Go. And that’s including Apple’s new “magic” keyboard. If you are a writer and the keyboard is your biggest concern, look no further than the Pixelbook Go.
I can forgive the operating system’s lack of options for this keyboard; like I said, I do most of my writing in Google Docs anyway. And I still have a Surface Go tablet if I really need Windows or Microsoft Word in a pinch.
The stealthy, matte black magnesium body is also breathtaking; sitting in a darker room, with the only major source of light coming from the screen and backlit keyboard, it really feels like I can focus on what I’m doing rather than noticing the computer I’m doing it on. This computer feels like it was designed to get itself out of your way and just let you work. But take it out into the light, and it is a svelte machine. It’s light in the hand and it feels like I can use it anywhere. And after using four different computers with fans, I’ve learned that fans are not for me; I understand why computers use them, but I prefer a computer that I can use on my bed or lap without worrying if I’m blocking the vent.
As for the Surface Laptop 3… I loved the design of that computer, too. Once I got it back in my hands, I knew that was the computer I wanted. I love the clean, flat surface (if you’ll pardon the pun) of the lid, the tapered thinness of the device, and oddly the weird way it feels like it is vibrating slightly when you run your hand over the metal while charging (seriously, if you have one, plug it up and run your fingers along the bottom; you can feel the electrical current resonating a little bit through the body of the laptop, and while I’ve read that this is safe and normal, it’s a very strange sensation). I loved that it had a magnetic charger, and that it has a taller, 3:2 aspect screen. And despite my concerns about the longevity of the Alcantara, I loved the feel of the Alcantara keyboard. It wasn’t quite as good as the typing experience on the Pixelbook Go (side by side, you can really tell how much quieter Google’s “Hush” keys are), but it is probably one of the three best typing experiences I’ve ever had on a computer.
I also loved that the Surface Laptop 3 put the speaker below the keyboard- no unsightly speaker grills to be found anywhere. I loved the clear thought that went into the design of this computer; they may not have really updated it visually from the previous two models, but it clearly has a modern design, and Microsoft made some great improvements under the hood when it comes to replacing components (though not all of the components). I loved that the Surface can unlock the computer just by seeing my face.
It’s even hard to say which computer I love more; if I could have the Surface Laptop’s screen and face unlocking and hidden speakers with the Pixelbook’s keyboard and magnesium body, I would look no further, regardless of which operating system it ran.
But there has to be a winner. There has to be. And you’ll maybe notice that I spoke all in past tense for the Surface Laptop 3…
It’s the End of the Review As We Know It
I should have stuck with it weeks ago. I know I should have. Hell, I knew it when I was taking it back to Best Buy. But the Pixelbook Go is the winner of this battle for me. It may not be the best laptop out there. It may not be the most feature rich laptop out there. I may still find myself thinking I need a high end computer.
But I don’t. I really don’t. I need a computer that I love to type on. Plain and simple. All else comes secondary. I need a computer that I can pick up in the morning, and still enjoy typing on when evening rolls around, and preferably one that didn’t need a wall outlet to keep going somewhere in the middle of the day.
I need a computer that is tailored to my needs. Just as you need one that is tailored to yours. It was a damn hard decision to give up the Surface Laptop 3… again. I’m seriously going to miss that beautiful screen and the Alcantara material. And I’m seriously going to have misgivings about my choice down the road. I’m going to have days where I want to take the Pixelbook back and get the Surface again. Hopefully, I won’t actually act on that feeling… I don’t want to go around this track again.
But the Pixelbook Go is exactly what I’ve been looking for in a computer. It’s got exactly what I need, and nothing more. It may not be the right choice for you; hopefully my monumental indecisiveness over the last few weeks has at least been beneficial to you, the reader, in finding what you need in a computer and in finding out if one of these machines is the computer for you.
So, once again, I conclude this Battle Royale series with the Pixelbook Go. Of course, this isn’t the end of my Battle Royale’s; I’m always considering new devices, and I’m sure I’ll have something new to compare in the near future. But for the sake of my sanity, it damn well better not be another computer.