Google’s home grown Chromebook last year was the highly acclaimed Pixel Book. A stunning laptop 2 in 1 that flipped over “Yoga” style into a tablet. Despite smaller units sold than say Surface Pro’s or Macbooks, the Pixel Book won the hearts of Chrome OS fans, who were eager for an updated version this year at Google’s “Made By Google” event on the 9th October.
In my opinion, boy did Google deliver. Despite the main attention of the evening, focused on the Pixel phones, the device that really stole the show was the Pixel Slate. No new Pixel Book this year, but a new product directly competing against the Surface Pro and iPad Pro. The Pixel Slate is a detachable 2 in 1, not one that is primarily a tablet, like the iPad is, but one that works as both desktop and tablet. Google made sure to mention that the web browser on Chrome OS is not merely a tablet app, but a fully functioning desktop browser that still works great for touch. Added with the additional android app store and fully compliant with Linux apps for extra functionality and we have a serious work horse.
The iPad Pro has for the last 2 or 3 years the go to for great hardware and software combination for those who wanted a detachable, however the keyboard has been a design flaw for many users. Its only usable at one angle, lack of adjustment means the user is limited to the ways of using the tablet whilst its attached. The Surface Pro’s kickstand seemed to be a slightly better solution for angles, but not ideal for use on the lap. Finally Google have come up with an answer that seems to solve any problems we’ve had in the past, but admittedly a hands on test is needed.
The keyboard attaches just like the iPad’s keyboard through pogo pins, but has an adjustable angle back that you can flip around as well for presentation mode. It has a dedicated Google Assistant key for verbal searches, back-lit cushions keys for silent typing and it doubles up as a protective cover, front and back.
The tablet’s display is a vibrant 12.3 inch 4:3 ratio, Molecular Display sporting 293 ppi (vs iPad Pro’s 12.9 inch, 264 ppi). This display, paired with a front facing stereo speakers should make movie watching and games a pleasure.
Google haven’t skimped on the front facing camera, giving an 8MP wide angle camera, optimised for great Google Duo calls. However the have for some reason decided not to put any camera on the rear, so unlike the iPad Pro, this won’t be used as an oversized snapper on your holidays.
Security has also been improved upon this year. The Slate now has a finger print reader embedded into the power button for easy login and along with the Pixel 3, the slate also includes a dedicated Titan Security chip for improved protection.
The Pixel Slate is launching next month starting at 549 for the Celeron 4gb RAM option all the way up to 1549 for the Intel i7 16gb RAM option. The keyboard is an extra 189 and 99 for the pen. So this setup will cost you at least 837 for the set when it launches.