Google’s Pixel Slate is the latest entry into the booming category of tablet-laptop hybrids. With Chrome OS, a detachable keyboard, a stylus, and Android app support, it’s trying to be a machine that can handle all your productivity and multimedia needs.
Can you use the Pixel Slate as your primary computer? Would you even want a price tag that adds up so quickly? Read our full Google Pixel Slate review to find out.
In keeping with its other hardware, Google keeps the design of the Pixel Slate simple. Finished in a stealthy midnight blue, its body is made of anodized aluminum. Currently there are no other color options, so if you’re looking for something a little more colorful you’re out of luck.
The Pixel Slate has a very clean design 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. The Pixel Slate is made of metal, and it weighs 1.6 pounds, so it doesn’t feel too heavy nor too light. Its 7mm thickness, rounded corners, curved sides, and curved edge glass make it very comfortable to hold.
Front bezels are thick, but not unnecessarily so. These areas are just wide enough for you to rest your thumbs comfortably, and they also provide space for a great pair of front-facing speakers. Speakers are loud, crisp, and clear, and there is no sign of distortion even at high volumes. Watching YouTube or Netflix while listening to music or listening to stereo sound is much more immersive due to the speakers being pointed directly at your ears.
It has the same 12.3-inch screen size and 3:2 aspect ratio as Google’s previous tablet-laptop hybrid, the Pixelbook, but at a much higher resolution. With a 3,000 x 2,000 resolution, the Pixel Slate’s LCD display is incredibly sharp. Google calls the screen a “Molecular Display,” which sounds like a marketing ploy to compete with Apple’s Retina display.
Marketing buzzwords aside, the screen is phenomenal. A 12.3-inch screen is large and comfortable to use as a tablet and a laptop. It’s a joy to watch movies, play games, or just browse the web on Slate’s colorful, vibrant, and contrast display. This panel’s black levels are so good you might mistake it for an AMOLED panel. Should you wish to take your productivity or entertainment outdoors for the day, the screen gets bright enough to comfortably read.
Storage cannot be expanded, regardless of configuration.
Pixel Slate performance will vary depending on the model. Pixel Slates are available in five different configurations, varying in RAM, storage, and which Intel chip is used. The model I have been testing is equipped with an Intel Core i5 y-series processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. This is the second-highest tier model. There is no expandable storage on the Pixel Slate regardless of configuration.
Performance on the i5 variant is great, but I cannot speak for the lower-end models. Chrome OS on the Pixel Slate runs smoothly. It is possible to have a bunch of Chrome tabs open and switch between multiple Android apps without the Pixel Slate slowing down. Additionally, the Pixel Slate can be used to play video games well. Graphically demanding titles like Shadowgun Legends from the Google Play Store run on high graphics settings and with consistently smooth gameplay.
Although the model with a Core i7 will undoubtedly offer even better performance, I haven’t encountered any problems with the i5 model. I am confident that it is powerful enough to use it as my daily workstation and entertainment device.
The Pixel Slate has a 48Wh battery that can provide up to 12 hours of battery life, according to Google. Your mileage may vary, but I’m getting closer to nine or ten hours on a single charge. However, I am a very heavy user of the Pixel Slate. Besides emails, social media, and browsing the web, I’ve been using the Pixel Slate as my primary computer for both work and play. This entire review was written on the Pixel Slate and I spent many hours watching YouTube, Twitch, and playing games on it.