Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Google has created two very successful operating systems for portable devices: The Chrome OS, designed for Chromebooks, and the ubiquitous Android for tablets and smartphones. Over the years it has gradually tried to mesh the two together by creating laptop/tablet hybrids, like the Google Pixel Slate. This 2-in-1 device boasts the mobility of a tablet and the wider functionality of a laptop, wrapped in a premium package that’s meant to compete with Apple’s iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface Pro.
You can get the Pixel Slate with an Intel Core m3 processor for a massive $250 (31%) off on Amazon. Pay $549 instead of its usual price of $799. And if you order now you have a chance to get $50 off instantly via the Amazon Rewards Visa card, which brings the price down even further, to $499.
Just looking at it, the Google Pixel Slate feels solid and well-designed. It doesn’t have the slick two-toned look of the Pixelbook or the Pixel 3 smartphone, but it still has an impressive look. In your hands, it is nicely light and slim, weighing in at 1.6 pounds and just 0.28 inches thick. Furthermore, the rounded edges are easy to grab and the large bezels (while ugly) offer a better grip if you’re using it one-handed.
Its screen is particularly stunning. The 12.3-inch display is packed with over 6 million pixels (Google calls it “molecular display”) that’s even sharper and more minutely detailed than both the Pixelbook and the Surface Pro 6, even surpassing the iPad Pro. With a 3:2 display aspect ratio, this makes the Pixel Slate the perfect tablet to watch movies with, offering stark darks and vivid colors. Even more delightful is the Pixel Slate’s set of speakers which happen to be the best we’ve ever heard on a tablet. The bottom line is the hardware is incredible.
Unlike other tablets, the Pixel Slate runs on Chrome OS instead of Android (a lot of Android apps are available for download though). Working with an 8th-gen Core m3 processor and 8GB of RAM, this Pixel Slate is unfortunately not meant for heavy work. Still, it works fine when browsing multiple tabs on the internet while simultaneously streaming music, but it doesn’t fare well with mobile games, especially graphically demanding ones like Asphalt 9. The animation became glitchy and intermittently freezes. We blame the notoriously bad Intel graphics processor.
To optimize the Pixel Slate’s functionality (and for it to transform into a laptop as advertised), you should consider buying the Folio keyboard, which is sold separately. The keyboard is ingeniously designed for the top to fold up and magnetically attach to the back of the device, serving as a kickstand. Changing the angle of the screen for your viewing pleasure is easy and can be done with one hand. The keyboard is also nicely designed with its round keys that are comfortable to use, with a large touchpad at the bottom that’s extremely responsive.
Is the Google Pixel Slate the best laptop/tablet hybrid out in the market today? Hardly. Its awesome hardware (impeccable display, speakers, and keyboard) deserves a lot of praise, but its Android integration and performance need work.
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