Google Pixel Slate Review: An Upgrade To The Pixelbook?

Google Pixel Slate is the latest device in the tablet/laptop series. Google has added a ton of nifty features to this device which includes; Chrome OS, a removable keyboard and other software enhancements, some may complain of the price tag but it’s worth checking out.

The Pixel Slate is a powerful device that can serve as your computer.

I’ll start by giving you the specifications of this device

GOOGLE PIXEL SLATE SPECIFICATIONS

Display 12.3-inch LTPS LCD

3,000 x 2,000 resolution

Processor 8th Gen Intel Core m3, i5, i7 or Celeron

RAM 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB

Storage 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB

Rear camera 8MP sensor with ƒ/1.8 aperture, 1.12um pixel size, Auto Focus, 1080p video at 30fps

Front camera 8MP sensor with ƒ/1.9 aperture, 1.4um pixel size, 1080p video at 30fps

Audio Dual front speakers, two microphones

No 3.5mm headphone jack

Connectivity/Extras Two USB Type-C ports, keyboard connector, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, fingerprint scanner

Battery 48WHr, 10 hours battery life

Dimensions and weight 7.0 x 290.85 x 202.04mm

The Google Pixel Slate Review

RAM AND STORAGE

Performance on the Pixel Slate varies across different model. The Pixel Slate comes in five configurations, varying in RAM, storage, which Intel chip is used. One of the model is powered by an Intel Core i5 y-series processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. This is the second highest tier model. There is no space for a removable SD CARD regardless of any model you decide to get.

DISPLAY

The Pixel Slate has the same 12.3-inch screen size and 3:2 aspect ratio as Google’s previous tablet-laptop hybrid, the Pixelbook, but it has a much higher resolution.

SOFTWARE

The Pixel Slate comes with some great hardware, but the software makes the experience powerful. The Pixel Slate runs Chrome OS and has access to every Android app available on Google Play Store. Google has optimized the software for the Pixel Slate to work better as a tablet and desktop interface.

When using the Pixel Slate by itself, Chrome OS goes into a tablet UI. This places all of your apps onto the desktop and a multitasking button will appear on the bottom right corner. Docking the Pixel Slate into the keyboard will switch it to the desktop UI. The desktop UI is the same as any other Chromebook. Split-screen multitasking is supported in both UI modes to help you get the most out of your workflow.

If you own a Pixel phone you can connect it to the Pixel Slate to send and receive text messages on either device. You can also continue browsing web pages open on your Pixel phone on your Pixel Slate. Both of these will appear underneath the Google search bar as a recommended shortcut.

DESIGN

As with other Google products, Google is keeping a simple approach to the Pixel Slate’s design.

The Pixel Slate has a very clean appearance with nothing on the back except for Google’s G logo in the upper left corner and the rear-facing camera in the upper right.  At only 7mm thick, the tablet is sleek, with rounded corners, curved sides, and curved edge glass that make it very comfortable to hold.

DISPLAY

The Pixel Slate has the same 12.3-inch screen size and 3:2 aspect ratio as Google’s previous tablet-laptop hybrid, the Pixelbook, but it’s much higher resolution.

THE PIXEL SLATE KEYBOARD

To get the most out of the Pixel Slate for productivity purposes, purchasing the additional keyboard is a must. The keyboard will cost you $199. The Pixel Slate Keyboard is not cheap but it’s a very well thought out piece of hardware that serves as more than just a detachable keyboard. The Pixel Slate Keyboard is also a protective case for carrying your Pixel Slate around. The exterior has a soft texture that’s easy to hold onto and does not attract any fingerprints.

The keyboard’s power source is from the tablet, so you don’t have to worry about charging it. The tablet and keyboard connect via the copper connection points and magnets firmly hold them in place. It’s easy to connect them, and once they’re attached, you can immediately start typing.

THE PIXEL SLATE PEN

The other accessory you can pick up for the Pixel Slate is the Pixelbook Pen. It will cost you $99 to get the pen which is the same one available for last year’s Pixelbook.

This year Google is offering a midnight blue variant to match the Pixel Slate. Otherwise, it still runs on a single AAAA battery and offers the same functionality. Aside from writing and drawing the pen works as a laser point, a magnifying glass, and a screen selection tool. Pressing the button on the side of the pen will let you conduct a search with Google Assistant by circling the desired area of the screen.

Unlike the keyboard, the pen isn’t a compulsory accessory to get the most out of the Pixel Slate. It’s a great tool for writing notes and letting your creative side flow free but you won’t be missing out on much if you choose not to buy it. The other downside to the pen is that there is nowhere to store it. It doesn’t have any magnets to attach itself to the tablet or anywhere to place it on the keyboard. You’ll have to treat it as a normal pen and be careful not to lose it.

CAMERA

The Pixel Slate comes with 8MP cameras on both the front and back. As with most tablet cameras, you can take pictures with it, but don’t expect it to outperform the smartphone in your pocket.  I’d imagine most people will use these cameras for Snapchat and video calling. You won’t find any of the Pixel 3’s camera features on the Pixel Slate, but Google uses the same machine learning algorithms as the Pixel 3 phones for portrait mode photos

CONCLUSION

Google has gone a long way to upgrade on last year’s PixelBook. With the fusion of AI and Chrome OS, Google is offering the best laptop/tablet experience. What are your thoughts about the Pixel Slate?