The Pixelbook Go webcam can record video in full HD (1920 x 1080)—a higher resolution than webcams on many higher-priced laptops.
I’ve used the Pixelbook Go for a couple months as my main laptop. I bought the base model with an Intel Core m3 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. It’s lightweight (2.3 lbs), has a fast system with excellent battery life, a 13.3-inch, 16:9 aspect ratio, full HD (1920 x 1080) touch-screen, and dual front-firing speakers. It also has a subtly backlit keyboard that you can adjust to six different levels. I’ve installed and run both Android and Linux apps on the system.
One of the standout features of the Pixelbook Go is the quality of the webcam, which can record 1080p video (i.e., 1920 x 1080 resolution) at 60 frames per second. That’s a higher resolution than Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 3, Apple’s MacBook Air, Dell’s XPS 13 Laptop, and Google’s own Pixelbook, all of which have webcams that record video at 720p (1280 x 720 resolution). Notably, these laptops also all start at prices higher than the Pixelbook Go.
The 1080p video webcam means that the resolution of a video you record with a Pixelbook Go may equal the resolution of a video you record with the front-facing camera of a smartphone. Many current generation Android and Apple smartphones include front-facing cameras that support recording 1080p video; of course, these phones often also include rear-facing cameras that offer even higher quality image capture capabilities, including 4K.
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How to record video on a Pixelbook Go
Google includes a Camera app on the Pixelbook Go. Select the Launcher (in the lower-left corner), enter Camera in the search box that displays, then tap or click on the Camera app to run it (Figure A).
To adjust the video recording resolution in the Camera app, select the sprocket in the upper-left corner, then choose Camera Resolution and select Video Resolution. The app offers five different recording settings:
- HD 1080p (1920 x 1080)
- HD 960p (1280 x 960)
- HD 720p (1280 x 720)
- HD 480p (640 x 480)
- HD 240p (320 x 240)
For the highest quality resolution, select HD 1080p, then click on or tap the left-facing arrows that display (three successive arrows) to return to the main Camera screen. Adjust any other settings desired and make sure your room lighting is sufficient. For comparison, the same Camera app on another Chromebook–the Poin2 Chromebook 14–lacks photo and video resolution options entirely.
When ready, select Video from the right menu (where Photo, Square, and Portrait also display), then tap or click the white button with a red circle in the center of it to start recording a video. To end recording, tap or click in the red button with a white square in the center of it.
The recorded video is saved as an .MKV type file. Open the Files app on your Chromebook, then choose Video from the upper-left menu to access your recorded video.
How to use Pixelbook Go for online meetings
In addition to a high-quality webcam, the Pixelbook Go includes dual microphones, which makes it an excellent device to use for web meetings. I’ve used it for several hours of web meetings without any issues. It has handled these meetings without any noticeable change in temperature, which is good, since the device lacks a fan. The lack of a fan is also a big benefit, in my opinion. I much prefer silent, fanless devices to older-style laptops with fans that whir and whine.
However, in Hangouts Meet, the Pixelbook Go defaults to a send resolution of 360p and a receive resolution of 720p. I have the option to adjust the send resolution to 720p, which significantly improves the image. Of course, this option requires a sufficiently fast internet connection to support this setting. Even with my fast internet connection though, there is currently no 1080p web conferencing option in Hangouts Meet.
What’s your Chromebook video recording or meeting experience?
If you use a Chromebook, what has your experience been with using the device for web meetings or video recordings? What has been your perception of the quality of your device’s webcam video? If you’ve used a Pixelbook Go to record 1080p video, how does the quality compare to other devices you’ve used? Let me know—either in the comments below or on Twitter (@awolber).
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