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Revision as of 13:13, 7 November 2017 by Jdbower (talk | contribs) (Pixel 2 USB-C to 3.5mm Adapter)

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I work remotely most of the time which means my access to corporate IT is limited at best. As such, I need to perform most of my maintenance work without the luxury of having installation CDs. So I decided to move to a ChromeOS-powered device, namely the Pixelbook.

So far I'm loving the thing. It is pricey and overpowered for what I need it to do, but it should also last a good long time. I tested this setup on my daughter's 4 year old $250 Chromebook and, aside from a lack of Android apps (which are of questionable use to me, see below), it seemed like a perfectly cromulent solution. As such, don't focus too heavily on the hardware but instead choose the equipment that fits your price range.

ChromeOS vs. Android

First and foremost, people see that the Pixelbook supports Android apps and think it should be an Android device. This isn't correct and you'll probably have a poor experience if you're looking for an Android tablet and would be better served by the Pixel C.

So, what's the difference? ChromeOS is a browser and that's it. If you get to the nuts and bolts there's a lightweight Linux distribution underneath, but really it's designed as a fully cloud-oriented device where you can log into any Chromebook anywhere and have nominally an identical experience with all of your settings and applications downloaded from the cloud.

Android isn't quite there. Android is very app-focused and more of a traditional computing methodology. If you want to do something on Android, you install an app for it. If you want to do something on ChromeOS you simply go to that website.

But ChromeOS now supports Android apps. These work fairly well for the most part, but you have to remember you're running an Android emulator next to a purpose-built browser. There is some separation between the Android virtualization and the browser, and most apps are designed for phones or (if you're lucky) tablets. In general, if there's a web UI you should consider whether you really need the app. In some cases, like audio and video, you get some local caching which is nice, but on the flip side Chromebooks have little storage and chances are you've got a phone next to you which is a better choice.

To me, Android apps are a crutch for services without a web presence. But some people love them, so I do encourage you to compare the native web app behavior to the Android app behavior and consider whether it's worthwhile.


One of the great things about the Pixelbook is USB-C for everything. When paired with a USB-C phone this means you can use a simple cable to charge your phone from your laptop or even reverse the flow and charge the Pixelbook from your phone. And if you have access to AC, the same charger can be used for both of your devices. You can even charge your laptop from AC and then charge your phone from the second USB-C port on the Pixelbook.

Since most USB-C accessories will work somewhat with other USB-C devices I've also tested them off a Pixel 2 and an original generation Pixel XL and a Moto X4 Android One edition. On Android you may need a file manager to view SD Cards. I use X-Plore.

Pixelbook Charger

The Pixelbook charger is, of course, a nice accessory all by itself. It's just a relatively compact high speed charger, but you may be able to get away with just carrying it. Tested 2017-11-07.

Device Charge Rate
Pixelbook xxA @yyV (zzW)
Pixel 2 xxA @yyV (zzW)
Pixel XL xxA @yyV (zzW)
Moto X4 xxA @yyV (zzW)

Pixel 2 USB-C to 3.5mm Adapter

The Pixel 2 USB-C to 3.5mm adapter works well universally, it likely includes an onboard DAC. This was tested with headphones only, I do not have a 3.5mm headset with a microphone.

Device Audio Out
Pixelbook Yes
Pixel 2 Yes
Pixel XL Yes
Moto X4 Yes

Anker USB-C Minidock

The Anker USB-C Minidock provides a USB-C passthrough charger (you do NOT need to power it for it to work), a couple of USB-A 3.0 ports, an SD card reader, an HDMI port, and an Ethernet port. It's compact enough to carry in a laptop bag, but of course you probably don't need to carry it to most places you'll travel. Tested 2017-11-07.

Device Charge Rate HDMI SD Card USB 3.0 Ethernet
Pixelbook xxA @yyV (zzW) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pixel 2 xxA @yyV (zzW) No Yes No
Pixel XL xxA @yyV (zzW) No Yes No
Moto X4 xxA @yyV (zzW) No No No

Anker 3-port USB-C Ethernet Adapter

The Anker 3-port USB-C Ethernet Adapter provides 3 USB-A 3.0 ports and an Ethernet port. It's not THAT much smaller than the mini-dock above so I don't know that I'd recommend it, but it does provide wired Ethernet to the Pixel 2. Tested 2017-11-07.

Device USB 3.0 Ethernet
Pixelbook Yes
Pixel 2 Yes
Pixel XL No
Moto X4 No