Google Pixel Slate is the anti-iPad Pro, in good and bad condition


I have a dream of a tablet that can also be my laptop. O Microsoft Surface already do this. O iPad Pro tries for this, but provides only half of the equation. And now the Google Pixel Slate claims to offer the exact things that the iPad Pro lacks, but at an equally high price. But this brings a lot of weaknesses – strangely, the things that the iPad Pro does very well.

The Pixel Slate is like the mirror universe of the iPad Pro, and almost at the same price. You have what the other has not, and you do not have what the other has. And what I prefer is a fusion of both products. As a working machine, Pixel Slate achieves my goals of writing and surfing the Web faster, and in a more portable way. But neither is my perfect laptop. Far from it. Despite everything that does right, I would not pay $ 599 (£ 549) or probably even more so – plus $ 160- $ 200 more for one of the must-have keyboards.


iPad Pro 12.9 (left) and Pixel Slate (right). There are similarities in accessory design.

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Unlike the latest Google Google Chromebook product, the laptop-like premium Pixel Book, the Pixel Slate turns into a convertible in the mold of Microsoft Surface Pro, with a version of ChromeOS that leans more towards the feel of a Google Pixel phone. It sounds like a great idea on paper, but the idea is sometimes better than execution.

But after a long Thanksgiving weekend with the Pixel Slate, I was wondering: Who is this product for? If it is meant for everyone, the price is too high. If it is intended for professional computer users, why not a Surface Pro or something similar with Windows 10? And if it targets pro-minded artists and those who want a stellar tablet. why not an iPad Pro?

This is not to say that a Chrome tablet is not a good idea and useful as a general working device. I'm sitting here typing Pixel Slate with a Brydge keyboard, and that's great. It has a good keyboard and a web browser similar to a desktop. So what's not to like?

Well, on the one hand, the price. And the hardware and software seem to still be a little buggy in my daily use so far … sometimes fast, sometimes strangely slow. Pixel Slate may be Google's model for the future of Chrome, but at the moment it looks more experimental than perfect, like a beta product – with software that can sometimes be fluid and sometimes nothing.

Here's what the Pixel Slate hits and misses. "height =" 109 "width =" 194

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What is great

Keyboard is perfect laptop (but what to choose?)

I received two keyboard accessories with Pixel Slate: Google's Pixel Slate keyboard ($ 199) and Brydge's G-Type ($ 160). Both are very good, and both have large trackpads that help add some laptop feel. But they have really different uses and drawbacks.

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The Pixel Slate Keyboard works well on tables, not on laps.

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The Google Pixel Slate keyboard is much like the Microsoft Surface Pro keyboard. It is intended to sit at a desk, and its back cover turns into an adjustable magnetic holder. The keys are round, but have a satisfactory mechanism and are generously spaced. The case connects through a magnetic connector on the side of the Pixel Slate, powering the keyboard. It also doubles as a folio case. But unlike Apple's new iPad Pro keyboard, this is useless anywhere. And it's a strange folio case as well. The plastic keyboard cover appears to slide through the screen of the Pixel Slate when closed.

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Brydge's G-Type keyboard: full laptop feel, but not convertible to use as a tablet.

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Brydge's G-Type was more of my go-to. It happens the Pixel Slate on a clamshell laptop, and it's great for typing. But it does not unfold to allow the Slate to be used as a tablet, which means it will have to be removed. It is paired via Bluetooth and needs to be charged separately. And it's attached by sliding the Slate into rubberized holders that hold the tablet in place, which looks less elegant and secure than the Google keyboard. It also does not offer Slate protection.

I like the G-Type a little more, but the Pixel Slate Keyboard has backlit keys and does a better job as a moving tablet case. "height =" 109 "width =" 194

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ChromeOS does exactly what I want to do

The Google Chrome browser on the Pixel Slate works like a normal version of Chrome for computers, which is all I need to do. With many tabs open at the same time, web pages open and read normally and everything works. This has been the appeal of Chromebooks since the beginning, and Pixel Slate does the same. Not a surprise, but it's good compared to the iPad Pro, which is more of a hassle for office work. The efficient feel of Chrome makes it a quick tool to pick up and do something at home or send an email. When the keyboard is connected, it is essentially a laptop.

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This side button is also a fingerprint reader.

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The fingerprint reader is a nice touch

Logging in without a password is quick with the side button on the Pixel Slate, which works like a fingerprint reader. But there are not many uses, as far as I know, and it's not as integrated as the Facial ID in the iPad Pro.

Battery life is good

A relatively full day of use with full charge is what I received from Pixel Slate. It seems more than adequate, and kept a decent load, even playing games, streaming videos and keeping a lot of tabs open.

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The ever-active and instant Google Assistant is useful

Being able to tap to order things, search information or do something similar gives the Pixel Slate more of a Pixel phone feel on a big screen. I like the way it's integrated when pressing a keyboard. I had some trouble listening in a Wi-Fi cafeteria, but receiving recommendations from restaurants without using my hands saying "Hey, Google" is cool, and Google Assistant speaks exactly like you expected, so it's like having another smart screen equipped by the Google assistant.

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A menu of pop-up settings is useful.

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Display: looks good

The high resolution Molecular Display of 12.3 inches and 3.000×2.000 pixels of the Pixel Slate is very good, but not always great. The colors and text sometimes seemed faded from the latest angles of the iPad Pro. The screen glass is also quite prone to shine. In a NJ Transit train car, writing this comment, I had to squint sometimes. At home, bright, it looked so much better.

Two USB-C ports are better than one

If you're comparing with an iPad, at least the Pixel Slate has an extra USB-C port. This may mean using wired headphones while charging or connecting to a monitor and charging at the same time.

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USB-C ports on both sides (do not worry, they're on the bottom when the tablet is docked).

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What I did not like

The price

Chromebooks started out as something you could get for a song, a modern alternative to the netbook. It was the dream of the $ 200 laptop.

Now, if the Pixel Slate had between $ 400 and $ 500, keyboard and pen included, it could also be tempting. But with its outrageous Pro-level iPad price, it's something I can not imagine anyone actually buying. Of course, the Pixel Slate starts at $ 599. But the faster systems you would probably want to upload quickly. I was not able to test all the configuration options, but the unit of analysis that Google sent me is $ 1,000 with a Core i5 processor, 8 GB RAM and a 128 GB SSD. But all you have in the box is the tablet and a headset adapter: the $ 199 Pixel Slate keyboard and the $ 100 Pixelbook Pen are sold separately.

There are many more affordable Chromebooks, including HP X2 Chromebook, which does most of what the Pixel Slate does for much less, and the hybrids that can bend their keyboards back, like the Samsung Chromebook Plus V2. And the tablet-laptop hybrids with Windows touch screen, like the Surface Pro 6, do more for those who need a working machine. And for a tablet, I'd still use an iPad.

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USB-C times two, but nothing more.

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No expandable storage

There is no SD or microSD card slot in the Pixel Slate, which means you will either have to settle for the included built-in storage or use an external USB-C-connected drive. The 32GB of the $ 599 setup should be good for the basic purposes of the Chromebook, but it's annoying not to have the microSD option.

You're stuck with Chrome OS and Google Play is not as good as the iOS App Store

Chrome has its advantages: it automatically updates, is clean and safe, and boots instantly. But it also means that Google's operating system is the only way to get things done. Multitasking between applications does not always seem fluid, although applications can be moved in windows like a PC.

Google Play app selection is bigger than you think, and Pixel Slate supports many Android apps, but almost all ChromeOS apps need to be online to work. Some offline apps do exist, but the whole offline experience is still much worse than an iPad Pro. Chrome is a great environment for kids and for everyday light computing. But I forgive less at a higher price.

Likewise, being able to work with standard Android apps on Google Play is great and would be even more impressive for a lower priced device. The performance and selection of apps, though better than the last time I lived on a Chromebook years ago, still do not convince me compared to an iPad. Pixel Slate would not be my favorite weekend entertainment tablet. However, Microsoft Office applications and Creative Cloud from Adobe are available for download in Pixel Slate.

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The pen works, but it does not look as fast or accurate as the Pencil.

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The pen pales in comparison to the apple pen

The Pixelbook Pen allows pressure-sensitive drawing, much like the Surface Pen and the Apple Pencil, but it seemed to me the worst option. The more compact pen uses an AAA battery and, using it with a variety of sketch applications and annotations from Google Keep (you can take notes instantly) and Adobe Photoshop Sketch, it shows a long delay. The Google operating system also seems to get closer to where the traits are going, which created a subtle repositioning of line curves as I was scribbling. I did not love it.

No headset

The unnecessary lack of headset connectors continues: the first phones, now tablets. The Apple iPad Pro got rid of the headset this year, and the Pixel Slate does the same, having only two USB-C ports. Two USB-C ports are better than one, surely, and Google also includes a USB-C 3.5mm headset adapter in the box – something that Apple insanely does not. But this does not make the 3.5 mm jack less irritating.

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The keyboard and pen are not included, but the USB-C charger and the USB-C headset adapter dongle are.

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It's heavy for a tablet

At 1.6 pounds (731 grams), the Pixel Slate looks strangely dense. As a laptop with one of the optional keyboards, it seems more normal. Either way, it is not a comfortable casual tablet to hold while reading.

Sometimes it's buggy

I've had weird things popping up occasionally. Sometimes a web page would not scroll properly and would only be stopped. Other times, an application does not start correctly. I had a hard time getting Brydge's keyboard to stop a few times. Pixel Slate's touch tools also do not look intuitive when used with the keyboard and trackpad controls. Do these early bugs need to be changed with Chrome updates or is this the nature of the Pixel Slate? It is hard to say.

Who is it for?

I'm still going to use Pixel Slate more before a final rating and rating, but I still wonder who would be attracted to a Chrome tablet of $ 600 or more for a more affordable Chromebook, a Surface Pro or an iPad. As a reference design to where convertibles for Chrome tablet can be used, the Pixel Slate is a solid step forward. But it's not a product I would recommend to anyone who goes out and shopping … unless you dream of having a high-quality Chrome tablet that could run Linux and have money to burn.

Pixel Slate proves that a great keyboard and trackpad and a great browser make the difference, and are the lost links that the iPad Pro desperately needs. But the Pixel Slate does not look good enough on everything else for its high price.

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