For a number of years, Google has produced premium-quality Chromebooks that are designed to push the envelope of what the ChromeOS platform can offer. It started with the Chromebook Pixel back in 2015 and had its most recent incarnation in the Pixelbook that arrived in 2018 but has since been discontinued.
Now, rumours are beginning to suggest that Google is tooling up to build the next iteration of its flagship laptop.
When will the Google Pixelbook 2 be released?
Google has remained very quiet on the prospects of a new version of the Pixelbook. No confirmation has been forthcoming, so the device remains in the realms of speculation at the time of writing.
With the original Pixelbook no longer available, there's a gap in the market for a premium Chromebook. One fly in the ointment is the mid-tier Pixelbook Go which launched in 2020 and in all honesty is probably good enough for most people that want a well-designed and built Chromebook with solid hardware specs.
If Google does release the Pixelbook 2, then it seems most likely that it will arrive in October, as both the Pixelbook and Pixelbook Go made their debuts in this month, although it did take a few months for them to reach the UK after being announced.
How much will the Google Pixelbook 2 cost?
Again, this is hard to know with any certainty. Traditionally, Google’s premium hardware has come with premium pricing. The original Chromebook Pixel launched in the USA at over $1,000 and cost UK buyers £799. The more recent Pixelbook was similar, with the base models setting you back £999/$999.
If Google does introduce a new flagship, then expect a price in the same ballpark as its predecessors.
The features we want see in the Google Pixelbook 2
There’s not much to go on at the moment in terms of rumours about what the Pixelbook 2 may feature in terms of hardware. The only thing you can be sure of is that the specs will be high-end.
Traditionally, Google’s flagships have sported powerful Intel Core processors, with the Pixelbook offering a choice of either Core i5 or i7 (Y-series) chips. Surprisingly, the Pixelbook had only 4GB of RAM. We know that ChromeOS doesn’t require the kind of memory needed by Windows or macOS, but in 2021 we’d expect to see this move up to 8GB as we saw with the Pixelbook Go.
Tomsguide reported back in the summer of 2020 that scores had shown up on Geekbench for a device bearing the name Google Zork that was using AMD Ryzen processors and Radeon graphics. While this was quite a surprise, Chrome Unboxed responded by pointed out that Zork is actually ‘a unibuild board that other devices will be based off of. Like ‘Kukui’ that is the unibuild for multiple devices including ‘Krane’ and ‘Kodama’ (the Lenovo Chromebook Duet and 10e, respectively), ‘Zork’ itself will likely never become a standalone device. It is a reference board to build Chromebook from, not a device in and of itself.’
With that in mind, there’s no hard evidence that Google will be switching to the AMD side of the fence if it does release the Google Pixelbook 2.
Another area that’s become less clear is the display or rather its shape. Google has opted in the past to use a 3:2 aspect ratio, making the display taller than the widescreen variants that are the norm. This was thought to be more in keeping with the nature of webpages, as you’re able to see more of the content on the screen than on the squatter displays of its rivals. But, with the Pixelbook Go, the company went with the standard 16:9 aspect ratio instead. So, is 3:2 dead or will it just be the preserve of the flagship models?
Touchscreens as standard on Google laptops, so that shouldn’t change, and we think a 4K display would also be a possibility, though it's not necessarily an upgrade we want to see.
In fact, it’s worth pointing out that Google allows customers to upgrade various parts of the Pixelbook Go when buying one. The baseline specs for the Go are as follows:
Intel Core M3 processor, 8GB RAM, 64GB storage, Full HD display.
But you can configure it up to these specs:
Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB storage, 4K Ultra HD Molecular display.
So you could argue that the Pixelbook 2 already exists.
The price doubles from entry-level model to flagship, so you could say the Pixelbook Go let you choose just how premium you want your Chromebook to be. Not a bad strategy in our book.
If you don't want to wait and see if the Pixelbook 2 materialises, take a look at our pick of its potential rivals in the best Chromebooks roundup.