Pixelbook Review by Fin and Ru

Like many companies across the world right now, Damson Cloud is spending more time working from home than ever before. For a lot of people, that means one thing: more time spent with those nearest and dearest to us, including our kids. This week, Damson CEO Fintan Murphy invites son Ruairí as a very special guest. 

We love using Google tools to transform the way we work. But who said we only care about productivity? All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, after all. With this in mind, we’ve taken a quick look at the Pixelbook and how these nifty pieces of tech can make home and working life easier and more enjoyable for all the family.

School’s Out for the Virus

Working from home poses its challenges, and that’s especially true for those who are taking a stab at it for the very first time. However, school’s out for the virus, meaning that keeping our kids occupied will bring its own challenges. Whilst it would be all-too-easy to fall into an endless routine of cartoons, YouTubers and video games; it pays to feed your kids’ minds with information that is useful, fun and dare we say it – educational! 

Getting your tools right is the first step towards ensuring that your kids come out of lockdown with some new skills – and not all of these you can learn in school (no offence to all the teachers out there). To start, let’s look at Google’s Pixelbook – a nifty portable laptop/tablet hybrid computer. It’s been around for a few years now and comes packed with a huge armory of neat features – perhaps huge enough to justify its heftier price tag compared to other laptop/tablet devices on the market. 

Google held the Pixelbook as the shiny, next-gen reincarnation of their laptops and the sleek successor to the Chromebook Pixel laptop which was discontinued in 2016. These were, and still are hugely successful; capturing a whopping 58% of market shares for schools in the United States. In late 2019, Google reported that 30 million Chromebooks are used in education – an increase of 5 million from the previous year. With Google offering a huge range of awesome features, we aren’t surprised. It’s also worth noting that these little devices are getting even more popular as more countries around the world opt for Chrome OS and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) as their educational systems of choice.

It’s So Flippable!

Let’s look at a Pixelbook in detail. This is one of Ruairí’s favourites – but that isn’t the device’s only unique selling point. It’s got a 4-in-1 design; a 7th-gen Intel Core processor, 16gb of RAM and a massive 512gb of internal storage. Bringing all of this together is a shiny, lovely-to-the-touch, 12.3 inch screen. The Pixelbook is gloriously light, and it’s small battery really packs a punch. 

When it comes to keyboard specs, the Google Pixelbook is one of our all-time favourites – and maybe the best keyboard we have used on any laptop device (big statement, we know). However, one of the most exciting aspects of the Pixelbook is the 4-in-1 design, keenly demonstrated by Ruairí in our video. Endlessly ‘flippable’ and adaptable to your needs, the Pixelbook allows for laptop, tablet, tent and entertainment modes. This means that we can adjust the device according to what you’re doing, meaning your kids can easily swap between homework and Minecraft (kids still play Minecraft, right?).

The Pixelbook is a joy to look at and a joy to use. We love that you can set up multiple accounts on one device – a process made all the more convenient by Chromebook’s super-fast loading/boot-up times. Whilst the simple interface allows for extra personalisation and a range of Google Apps, swapping between touch-screen and the keyboard is so easy, it’s awesome. Something we also love about this is Family Links, which are exclusive to Chromebooks. Similarly to Google Entreprise, this neat feature allows you to set controls on what users can see. This is all achievable using Android devices, which is super-convenient.

Mum! Dad! My Laptop Can Talk!

Here’s an interesting fact about the Pixelbook: it’s the world’s first laptop to have Google Assistant fully built-in. Having the Google Assistant so seamlessly embedded in the Pixelbook is fantastic, allowing users to quickly get answers, get things done and manage their days more effectively. What’s really awesome is that there are three ways to access the assistant: talking, typing, or drawing a circular shape using the sleek Pixelbook Pen. This is really handy for a number of reasons – searching on Google Search has never been easier, and setting reminders and alarms is about as natural as it gets. The Pixelbook Pen is also as natural as pen on paper, and we love it.

Anyone who is familiar with Google Assistant knows how useful it can be – as well as how much fun it offers. The fun is multiplied when the Pixelbook and Google Assistant is synced across multiple devices using Google Home. Synchronize enough devices, and you’ll be able to use your Pixelbook device for just about anything. Use Google Home via your Pixelbook to control lights and other appliances in your home. Or, if you need a bit of comic relief from the news headlines, you can always ask Google to tell you a joke. Like most of us, Google runs out of its best jokes quite quickly. Fortunately, the Assistant can be fully-synced with apps like Spotify – so when the one-liners grow tiresome, feel free to play some music!

The coronavirus has forced a lot of us to look at changing the ways we work, and working effectively and efficiently from home has never been more important. We’ve tried and tested the Pixelbook ourselves, and combined with Google’s fantastic range of tools and features, we recommend trying some of this tech out for yourself!

More About Damson Cloud

That brings us to the end of this week’s blog, and we hope this information offers you some guidance on making the right choices around working from home. Here at Damson, we believe that challenges around the coronavirus are providing fresh opportunities to spend time with the people we love in new and exciting ways. Working from home can be an enjoyable and productive experience if done right. It can also be a great opportunity to share and pass on some skills to our kids, and the time to share some digital skills with our kids has never been more right. 

This blog is the latest in our series exploring remote working and how to do it properly. We’ve also explored video conferencing etiquette, how to create a productive remote working team and our very-own guide on joining, streaming and recording on Google Meets. Check these pieces out for some top tips, and don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to our mailing list!

As a longstanding member of the Google Cloud Partner program, Damson Cloud specialise in bringing people and ideas together through new ways of working. We champion change management and digital transformation using some of the internet’s most trusted solutions, including Google Workspace, Happeo and Jamboard. To find out more about our services, check out our library of tutorial videos or our blog.