1. WillysJeepMan's Avatar
    One decision that Pixelbook owners need to make has to do with the Google Pen... should I, or shouldn't I (buy it)?

    On the one hand, it is designed specifically for the PB and the style is well-matched. The button on the Pen triggers Google Assistant to search for things that are circled with it... that's cool!

    I'm a big fan of active styli on screens that support them. They add a layer of functionality that is missing with a touch-only experience.

    I heavily use my Apple Pencil + 2018 iPad everyday throughout the day as my digital planner, project notebook, brainstorming device. Using GoodNotes with the customer planner I designed is PERFECT for how I interact with my notebooks.

    Sadly, the Google Pen falls far, far short. Not because of any technical issues (the Google Pen feels BETTER on the PB than the Apple Pencil does on the iPad), but because of the software.

    For notebook apps on the PB, there really is only Squid (an Android app). The entry level version is very simple in function. There are a few IAP options (I bought the PDF importing functionality), as well as a subscription model for more features.

    The subscription doesn't add anything of any value that justifies the cost of the subscription, IMO.

    Relative to the Android and Chrome OS alternatives it does a "good" job. Compared to what is available on iOS... not even close.

    There's also Google Keep. Prior to Chrome OS 70, the Android version of Keep supported the Pen better than the Chrome/web version. It was smooth and responsive whereas the web version had inconsistent responsiveness. With Chrome OS 70 and beyond, the web version is now better than the one for Android.

    A third option is MS OneNote. Both the web and Android versions do a fair job of supporting the Pen. I use it, but it is not a pleasant experience.

    If one is wondering whether or not to buy the Pen, I'd recommend skipping it. If you have experience with the Apple Pencil, definitely do NOT buy the Pen. If you don't have experience with the Apple Pencil (or Surface Pen) and want to explore what it would feel like to use an active stylus and $80-100 won't break the bank, then I think for that experience it is worth doing.

    Google really had a swing-and-a-miss with the Pen. Even my original Lenovo Yoga Book (Android model) came with a Wacom stylus that could be used on the Halo keyboard AND the screen and offered a better experience than the Pen on the PB. That Lenovo originally sold for $500, I bought mine new for $275 a year ago, and now can be found for $200 new.

    My comments are based on the current state of the Pen and Chrome OS/Android support for it. Obviously if that changes, my opinion will as well.
    01-10-2019 11:52 AM
  2. DMP89145's Avatar
    I have a similar set up, 2017 10.5 IPP with 1st gen Apple Pencil that's used mainly used for note taking and some off hours media consumption. When I picked up the PixelBook, I was a bit torn b/c I originally was considering a Slate w/ Google Pen. Clearly that would've been a misstep because I was replacing a laptop, not tablet.

    Still... I did purchase the Pen, but my use has indeed been limited so far. I need to really give it an honest run soon.
    01-10-2019 07:38 PM
  3. WillysJeepMan's Avatar
    I have a similar set up, 2017 10.5 IPP with 1st gen Apple Pencil that's used mainly used for note taking and some off hours media consumption. When I picked up the PixelBook, I was a bit torn b/c I originally was considering a Slate w/ Google Pen. Clearly that would've been a misstep because I was replacing a laptop, not tablet.

    Still... I did purchase the Pen, but my use has indeed been limited so far. I need to really give it an honest run soon.
    I'm really diggin' my Pixelbook. I'm delighted in the way that (except for Pen input) it has replaced by my 12.9 iPad Pro and 11" Macbook Air. Even using it in tablet mode (especially post-Chrome OS 70) is pleasant. But. dat Pen!

    I'm interested to hear your experiences with the Pen once you give it an honest run. I'm always eager to learn new ways of approaching tasks and I'm very open to the possibility that I totally missed the proper way to get the most out of the pen.
    01-11-2019 06:40 AM
  4. Kirstein Gourlay's Avatar
    I bought a Lenovo pen from Amazon. Shipped to the UK from the USA was less than £29. Works flawlessly. I still get the assistant when I click the button on it and it was a fraction of the cost.
    03-02-2019 06:50 PM

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