Google's Pixelbook combines a best-in-class Chrome OS experience with best-in-class hardware making it the Best Google Chromebook Made!
WINNER: Google Pixelbook
The Google Pixelbook is not likely to be a Chromebook for everyone but it is the Best Google Chromebook. After all, this is (by a fairly wide margin) one of the most expensive Chromebooks you can currently buy. However, this is not a high-priced product for the sake of being high-priced and instead is one which brings together the best of Chrome OS with the best hardware. Which inevitable means that while it is an expensive purchase, it is also the best Google Chromebook you can currently buy, and certainly our pick for Best Google Chromebook of 2017.
On paper, there is little arguing with the Google Pixelbook as it is a device which comes packed with high end specs for a Google Chromebook. However, this is likely to be expected with an item priced as high as this one, so there are no surprises there and little point recapping the specs - other than to say they are about as good as it gets. What is worth noting though is the design as in spite of this being a somewhat follow-up to the similarly-named Chromebook Pixel, the Pixelbook has taken on an even more premium design. Not only is is the thinnest Google Chromebook to emerge from Google, and one which sports a 360-degree hinge (for use in various positions), but it is also one which now very neatly fits in with the Pixel line in general - due to its combination of glass and aluminium on the outer casing. This alone makes the Pixelbook much more of a standout and eye-catching product and one which makes a statement which matches its price. That is in addition to coming with a number of other trims and design points which add to the premium experience overall, including a backlit keyboard (as well as a keyboard that is more naturally recessed), rubber palm rest, a durable build (in spite of being premium), and of course, a compatible stylus. It literally just ticks all of the 2017 hardware check boxes for potential Chromebook buyers.
Design aside, what also makes the Pixelbook so good is its emphasis on its software. While Chrome OS is a fairly generic experience across devices, Google has tweaked the Pixelbook to make the most of Chrome OS. This can be best seen through the device’s implementation of Android apps and Google Assistant. While these are aspects that are now available on an ever-increasing number of Google Chromebooks, with the Pixelbook they are just that bit better optimized. Take the Google Assistant for example. While more Chromebooks will get this feature in the coming months, Google’s Pixelbook comes with a dedicated Google Assistant hardware button - the feature is not only present, but is actually built-into the Chromebook and by association, the Chrome OS experience. Likewise, while many Google Chromebooks now come with Android app support, you can expect the whole Android app experience to be that bit more seamless on this Chromebook. In many ways, it has been purpose-designed for this very point and to show how smoothly Android apps can run within a Chrome OS environment. In short, while the Pixelbook is expensive, it is designed to showcase what a Chromebook can do and what it can look like. Highlighting how Chromebooks do not necessarily have to be seen as super cheap or design-limited products.
Runner-Up: Samsung Chromebook Pro
If the question posed had been which Google Chromebook should you have bought in 2017 then the answer could have just as easily (and probably would have) been the Samsung Chromebook Pro. As while the Google Pixelbook is a best Google Chromebook, the Chromebook Pro from Samsung is a powerhouse product which offers a great user experience, as well as a premium design, and at a much more affordable price compared to the Pixelbook. So while the Chromebook Pro is still an expensive Google Chromebook by Chromebook standards, it is the best option when it comes to sheer value for your money. Not only are you getting a device that is backed by the Samsung name, but one which comes with many of the 2017 Chromebook-touted features (Android app support, rotating hinge, etc), as well as a very tight integration for a stylus - which is also included in the package price unlike the Pixelbook. Making the Chromebook Pro a true all-round winning Chromebook, and for most people a within-reach ‘best of 2017’ product. Especially as Samsung did release a slightly more affordable version in the form of the Samsung Chromebook Pro - which combines nearly all of the same features and specs for slightly less. Although if you do want the best experience possible, the Pro version is the one to go for.
Honorable Mention: ASUS Chromebook Flip C302
While Google and Samsung may have stole the Chrome OS show this year, it is worth giving a shout out to ASUS. As this is another company who has highly invested in Chrome OS devices this year and brought to market two follow-up devices to its popular ‘Flip’ Chromebook. Of the two, the ASUS Chromebook Flip C302 proved to be a real contender for Best Google Chromebook and in spite of being announced early in the year, has remained to be one of the best Google Chromebooks throughout 2017. This one brought all of the probability associated with the Flip line to a level of build quality and hardware associated with more premium products. While also increasing the size of the display to a much more accommodating 12.5-inches. While the Chromebook Flip C302 is not quite as good as the Chromebook Pro from Samsung or the Pixelbook from Google, it remains a go-to pick for us and one which any buyer will be more than happy with. Thanks to a combination of style, power, all-day usage, Android app support, and portability - all aspects which have proven to be Chrome OS trends in 2017.