At this price and specification the Google Pixelbook is simply too expensive. Way too expensive. Both its tinny speakers and chunky bezel are a disappointment that let down its performance and screen quality.
Good build quality, a solid performer with a decent keyboard.
At this price and specification the Google Pixelbook is simply too expensive. Way too expensive. Furthermore, the speakers are tinny - and they certainly shouldn't be at this price - and Chrome OS is limited. Android apps also proved hit and miss.
Google's Chromebook might be a good device at around £200 - especially in the jam-smeared hands of schoolchildren - but is a high-end version of the Chromebook worth it, especially at £1,249. Yes, £1,249.
Tthe Pixelbook is Google's 100 per cent in-house designed laptop aimed at offering a premium Chrome OS experience, but costing about £1,000 more than cheap and cheerful Chromebooks from the likes of Acer, Asus and Samsung. It's meant to be the ultimate Chromebook - but at MacBook prices.
Clad in a light-grey aluminium chassis with a refrigerator-white glass panel on its lid, the Pixelbook looks like it's been created by a collaboration between Apple's Jony Ive and Ikea.
The Pixelbook seamlessly merges attractive industrial design with utilitarian function.
With flush edges and a slim hinge supporting a 12.3in display, it measures a mere 10.3mm thick and weighs a light 1.1kg, yet sports the build-quality of a MacBook Pro.
It has a silicone rubberised palmrest making typing for any length of time feel comfortable with less hand slippage than on brushed aluminium.
A neat yet unassuming hinge enables the Pixelbook to be bent back on itself so that it can be used like tablet, or have the keyboard deck prop the screen up a bit like a kickstand with the palmrests acting as anti-slip pads. Or it can be flipped on its head and made to stand in a tent-like fashion for tablet use.
However, this kind of slim form affects function: it bears only a brace of USB Type-C ports to take care of connectivity and charging.
The only superfluous part is the glass panel on the top of the part of the laptop's lid, which is in keeping with the those found on the Pixel smartphone family, though its white colouring may not be to everyone's taste.
To the touch the Pixelbook is rather lovely; all smooth and tactile. And that extends to the keyboard which offers a responsive typing feel with decent key travel; our fingers were dancing across it with speed and accuracy in no time.
The keyboard is backlit, which is handy for typing in low light conditions. But the keys light up dynamically depending on an environment's ambient light, which we found annoying. Manual control is on offer but it's not immediately intuitive, which is a minor irritation but easily fixed with a quick Google search.
A smooth glass trackpad sits amid and slightly sunken below the palmrests and is accurate, responsive and just feels lovely to the touch.
The click button is at the bottom part of the pad, which will probably annoy people used to being able to physically click anywhere, but the pad is so good at registering taps that we found this layout to not be a foible.
To our eyes the Pixelbook is a good looking machine that's a joy to use for basic tasks - provided that you don't need to connect much to it.
The 12.3in 3:2 aspect ratio touchscreen display on the Pixelbook packs a QHD 2,400 x 1,600 resolution squeezing in 235 pixels per inch.
As such it's sharp and clear - easily comparable to a 13in MacBook Pro or a Microsoft Surface Pro. Contrast is good and colours are bright and accurate. Brightness hits 400 nits, which makes the display great to watch films and view photos on.
The glossy coating may not appeal to some, though, and we found it picked up fingerprints quite quickly, and isn't great in direct sunlight or bright light sources. At the same time, we felt the glossiness helps colours 'pop', and contrast seem more dynamic.
However, the major drawback to the display is its appallingly chunky bezels. Whereas the likes of Dell have trimed its bezels down with its Infinity Edge laptop displays, the PixelBook's chunky screen surround feels rather 1990s.
There's an argument for the bezels helping give somewhere to grip when using the Pixelbook in its tablet mode in both landscape and portrait orientation. But we found it marred an otherwise excellent screen.
Given Chrome OS is mostly a web-based experience and has been designed for low-power machines, putting the Pixelbook performance into context is a little more tricky than with Windows or Mac laptops.
Our test model came bearing Intel's seventh-generation Kaby Lake Core i5-7Y57. This dual-core chip has 4MB cache and a base clock of 1.6Ghz that can boost up to 3.3Ghz, pretty much on par with many ultrabooks in the market.
It also comes with 8GB of LPDDR3 memory, running at 1,866MHz, while storage on weighed in at 256GB of eMMC solid state drive space shared with the lightweight operating system.
The entry-level model has the same spec but with 128GB on storage, while the top of the line £1,699 Pixelbook has 512GB of storage and an arguably unnecessary Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM.
In terms of these raw specs, it's not exactly spectacular value.
However, chip and memory in the mid or entry-level models should be more than enough to handle anything Chrome OS and its web and supported Android apps can currently throw at it.
Using the Octane 2 benchmark our Pixelbook racked up a score of 29,126, which makes it pretty much the fastest Chromebook around, not just the most expensive.
In real-world use this means it ought to be super slick. And there's no need to worry about opening too many tabs in the Chrome browser, as was the case with the lower specced and cheapests Chromebooks in the past.
Having a decent Intel mobile chip also appears to be the trick to getting Android apps to run smoothly on Chromebooks, which has been a struggle in the past, and makes the Pixelbook both a good Chrome OS experience and decent, if far from perfect, Android tablet.
Google reckons the battery will last 10 hours from a full charge providing the Pixelbook is used in a mixture of web browsing, standby and "other use".
We found it doesn't quite get there, but puts in around eight hours of solid work and browsing use, though that's with the brightness cranked up to around 80 per cent.
Other ultra-portable laptops can beat the Pixelbook for battery life, but fast charging can juice the machine back up very quickly: at a pinch you can get two hours of battery life from just a 15-minute charge.
One big disappointment we found on the hardware side is the tinny speakers.
In the past, slim laptops weren't expected to have good audio, but the latest MacBook proved that good sound can come from a slim machine. On the plus side, a 3.5mm headphone jack at least means you can plug in a decent set of headphones.
In short, the Pixelbook is offers ultrabook performance in a Chromebook. It provides the slickest Chromebook performance we've so far experienced and should be fairly future proofed, provided Google persists with ChromeOS.
Chrome OS 61 is the smoothest version of Google's own operating system to date. It's easy to navigate, responsive, and can pretty much do 80 - maybe 90 - per cent of everything you'd expect from a Windows or MacOS laptop.
There are a few shortcomings, such as clumsy file management and awkward window resizing, and finding certain settings is not as intuitive as it is with macOS or Windows 10, though that could be down to our familiarity with those platforms.
If all you do is web browsing, emails and word processing, then Chrome OS is more than enough. For other tasks like demanding video and photo editing and desktop gaming, Chromebooks still fall short, and this remains the case with the Pixelbook.
But the combination of a nippy processor and lovely hardware make navigating Chrome OS a joy on the Pixelbook.
The integration of the Google Assistant activated by a dedicated key is also pretty neat, offering access to the smartest virtual assistant around.
Google Assistant also works with the Pixelbook Pen, a £99 optional stylus that annoyingly doesn't come bundled with the Pixelbook or attach to it like the Surface Pen does on the Surface Pro, which we feel is a bit of an oversight - those chunky screen bezels could have held a magnetic strip.
Press and hold the Pen's main button and circle an image or some text and the Google Assistant will do its best to work out what's been highlighted and serve up related information. It's occasionally hit and miss but a neat little feature all the same.
While we aren't really big stylus users, the Pen is responsive and accurate to use with apps that are compatible with it. But at the moment that's only a handful so the Pen can't quite live up to its potential, though that will likely change over time as more support is added to third-party web apps.
And then there's the support for Android apps, something that's finally come out of beta for Chromebooks. This brings a whole range of apps to Chrome OS, notably with the recent addition of Microsoft Office apps which now play nice with Chrome OS, effectively turning the Pixelbook into a form of Android tablet.
The processing grunt in the Pixelbook means these apps run well on the whole, but there are more than a few issues.
Firstly you end up with duplicate app icons in the app launcher for both the web and Android app version of say Gmail and Play Music, which is a bit fiddly and not great for people with a penchant for neatness.
Then there's the lack of optimisation Android apps have for Chrome OS use. This is understandable but it can make some apps awkward to use; there's no split screening or resizing for example.
And while some apps run perfectly, others can crash or throw up annoying problems.
A pop up full-screen advert in Popcap's excellent Plants vs Zombies was very difficult to get rid of in the Pixelbook's tablet mode thanks to the lack of the back and home soft buttons found on pure Android tablets, in the end forcing us to restart the app.
However, the addition of Android app access is very welcome and no doubt these issues will be ironed out over the course of 2018. Just don't get a Pixelbook expecting it to double as a high-end Android tablet as well, because that side of things is hit and miss at the moment.
Simply put, the Pixelbook is the best Chromebook money can buy, the only problem is you need a lot of money and, hence, you need to be convinced that a Chromebook is really what you want.
While the Pixelbook does have a few flaws, its build quality and hardware combined with an ever-improving Chrome OS goes some way towards justifying its price tag, but rivals simply offer more - especially in terms of software.
Furthermore, around that mark, it ends up butting heads with some very capable Windows 10 laptops and, for a little more, you can get hold of an entry-level MacBook Pro, both of which will likely meet all of your workload and entertainment needs better than the Pixelbook.
And with some very capable Chromebooks like the Asus Chromebook Flip and HP Chromebook 13 for a lot less than a grand, the Pixelbook faces some stiff competition in its own backyard, too.
If you're a diehard fan of Chrome OS and want a premium machine to swaddle it, then the Pixelbook may just be the laptop you're looking for.
For everyone else, we suggest thinking hard about what you need a laptop to do before taking the plunge with the premium Pixelbook, and perhaps wait and see what a second-generation Pixelbook could bring to the table.
But putting price aside, the Pixelbook, much like Microsoft's Surface lineup, doesn't actually need to sell by the bucket load to create an impact.
Rather its purpose for Google is to act more as a halo device, resetting the hardware and design standards for Chromebooks, shifting them out of the shadows of the ultra-low-end, making it a credible potential alternatives to Windows 10 and Mac machines.
If the likes of Samsung, Acer and Asus follow the example set by the Pixelbook, then we can expect to see a swathe of impressive Chromebooks crop up in the near-future - but hopefully at a much lower price.