Highly anticipated: After bombing hard with the Pixel Slate, Google is attempting to go back to the basics with just a straightforward laptop. It doesn't have many of the bells and whistles as the original Pixelbook in order to keep the price lower and appeal to budget laptop shoppers.

Google held their annual hardware event today with the Pixel 4 being the star of the show. However, the Mountain View-based company also unveiled the Pixelbook Go, a much cheaper update to the original, expensive Pixelbook from 2017. Details line up with the full leak from last week.

The new Pixelbook Go isn't meant to be a revolution in how to interact with a computer. It doesn't fold like the original Pixelbook and isn't a tablet computer with an attachable keyboard like the flawed Pixel Slate. Pixelbook Go is just a straightforward laptop. This isn't surprising considering the company announced back in June that its hardware team would be focusing on laptops for the foreseeable future.

On the outside, the Pixelbook Go is made out of magnesium instead of aluminum. Google says that magnesium has a better strength-to-body ratio which drives costs down due to lower material costs. The bottom has a rubberized, ribbed texture that makes gripping the laptop a lot easier especially combined with the rounded corners.

The Pixelbook Go screen is a 13.3-inch that comes in either a 1080p resolution or 4K "Molecular Display" for those with the cash. Unlike the 3:2 aspect ratio of the original Pixelbook, the Pixelbook Go goes back to a traditional 16:9 ratio which may irk some of those who prefer the 3:2 ratio. During the presentation, Google touted the nearly silent keyboard. Early reports seem to confirm how silent and comfortable the keyboard is, especially compared to Apple's butterfly key switches on the MacBook line. There are also two USB-C ports for charging (including fast charging) and headphone jack.

On the downside, there aren't any SD card slots for storage expansion nor fingerprint sensor. Fortunately, you can use your Android phone's fingerprint sensor for biometric authentication. There's also Google's Titan C security chip for additional device security.

On the performance end, you'll have a choice of Intel 8th generation Core m3, i5, or i7 processors. It must be noted that these are the Y-series versions of those chips so temper your expectations accordingly. That said, ChromeOS is a fairly lightweight operating system and doesn't really need a lot of power. Possible combinations of specs include:

  • $649: Intel Core m3, 8GB RAM, 64GB SSD, 1080p screen
  • $849: Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 1080p screen
  • $999: Intel Core i5, 16GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 1080p screen
  • $1,399: Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 4K screen

Preorders for the "Just Black" $649 and $849 configurations start today with the more expensive configurations "coming soon." Meanwhile, the "Not Pink" versions are relegated to a waitlist. It's an interesting release strategy to be sure but at least the preorders done today will ship in a couple of weeks.