I love Google's new Pixelbook Go, but it's a baffling $850 device that no one should buy

Google PixelbookHollis Johnson/Business Insider

In almost every respect, the $850 Pixelbook Go is a perfect solution for anyone who wants a secondary, portable, use-anywhere internet-browsing laptop that complements a larger, more powerful computer.

I have to compete with my wife for Pixelbook Go time on the living room couch or in the kitchen. I'll try the excuse that I need to use it to review it, but she doesn't care.

"Don't you have a bunch of other laptops in the house?" she'll ask me. Yes, there are about five other laptops I could use. But I want that one. The Pixelbook Go.

And yet, never have I loved a device so much but recommended so little.

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The Pixelbook Go is a lightweight, compact internet machine with great battery life that does whatever I need to do at home or while traveling.

The Pixelbook Go is a lightweight, compact internet machine with great battery life that does whatever I need to do at home or while traveling.

At home, the Pixelbook competes with a series of top-of-the-line laptops from Apple, Dell, Microsoft, and Lenovo. These laptops range from 13 to 15 inches, and they're all powerful machines that should make the Pixelbook Go tremble in its humility.

And yet, the Pixelbook Go has become the go-to device at home for both me and my wife when we're done with work and want to use the internet on the couch, in bed, or in the kitchen. The only reason I'd use my big, powerful laptop after work is because my wife is using the Pixelbook Go. And she won't let go of it.

Compared to the other laptops in the house, the Pixelbook feels less fragile, more compact, more portable, and even more usable for simple web browsing. It's the perfect secondary device to a larger, powerful computer you might have at home or at work.

In fact, I'll be bringing the Pixelbook Go with me on an upcoming vacation instead of one the Windows 10 laptops I have lying around the house. I won't need anything more.

The Pixelbook Go's keyboard, touchpad, screen, and speakers make it a joy to use, too.

The Pixelbook Go's keyboard, touchpad, screen, and speakers make it a joy to use, too.

Typing this review on the Pixelbook Go is a comfortable, satisfying experience. If laptop makers don't all adopt IBM/Lenovo's legendary laptop keyboards, they should emulate the Pixelbook Go's.

When I'm not writing a review, the Pixelbook Go has become our Netflix viewing device at the kitchen table. The model I'm using has a nice 1080p resolution screen that's totally sufficient for casual video watching, and the speakers actually sound quite good and loud.

It's a shame that Google didn't keep the original Pixelbook's 360-degree rotating display,.

It's a shame that Google didn't keep the original Pixelbook's 360-degree rotating display,.

One of the things we liked about the original Pixelbook was its 360-degree rotating display. Combined with its touchscreen, the Pixelbook became a pretty decent hands-free tablet that could prop itself up by using the keyboard as a stand.

Unfortunately, that feature didn't make it to the Pixelbook Go.

None of the Pixelbook Go's pros and cons matter, because you shouldn't buy this thing anyway.

None of the Pixelbook Go's pros and cons matter, because you shouldn't buy this thing anyway.

This is where the Pixelbook is so baffling.

It costs the same as a very good Windows 10 laptop (and a little less than a very good MacBook Air) than runs a huge variety of apps and software. Meanwhile, all the Pixelbook Go does is run the Chrome web browser.

That's actually all I really want the Pixelbook Go to do. Run Chrome and be my compact, lightweight little secondary internet-browsing machine I can easily carry and use everywhere around the house. But for $850? Based on value, I can't recommend it.

To be clear, it's not because the specs are bad. It's because all it really does is run the Chrome web browser. It does runs Android apps, which gives it some extra Android tablet-like versatility. But if a tablet is what you want, you're often better off with an iPad.

And that's what I'd recommend instead if you want a secondary internet device that runs a bunch of apps — a $330 to $430 iPad with a little set aside for a keyboard case that props it up. Not an $850 wannabe laptop that exclusively runs Chrome and pretends to be an Android tablet.

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