It’s no secret the tablet market isn’t what it used to be. It’s hard to get excited about a tablet in 2018, but Google hopes to change that with its newly announced Google Pixel Slate.
The Google Pixel Slate is a Chrome OS-powered tablet that is also capable of transforming into a laptop using a keyboard dock. Essentially this is Google’s take on the Microsoft Surface.
The design is functional, though far from game-changing
There’s really only so many ways to design a tablet, and so there’s nothing particularly innovative to be seen here in terms of design. On the front sits a 12.3inch QHD LCD display with a 3:2 aspect ratio. You also get front-firing stereo speakers.
The Pixel Slate sports two 8 MP cameras, one above the display and the other in the top right corner of the tablet’s back. Using a tablet as a camera isn’t the most practical experience, though it’s certainly possible. Of course, the main purpose for the camera setup will be video calling.
At the top of the left edge, you will find a volume rocker, with a single USB-C port located near the bottom of the tablet. On the right edge of the Google Pixel Slate you’ll find a fingerprint scanner embedded into the power button. This is a first for Chrome OS devices.
At the bottom of the tablet are magnetic pogo pods that are used for communicating with the laptop dock and other accessories.
More than one configuration to choose from
The Google Pixel Slate isn’t a one-size-fits-all device. There will be multiple configurations, though they are all powered by 8th Gen Intel processors.
At the low-end you get just 4GB of RAM and an Intel Celeron processor. At the highest end you’ll get a Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage.
Here’s the full spec rundown:
|Google Pixel Slate|
|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 mics
No 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
Chrome OS gets a new look
You’ll notice right away that the interface looks different from default Chrome OS. The new layout consists of a grid of apps that are designed with touch in mind. The new launcher even uses machine learning to suggest apps you are most likely to use and places them at the top.
While the taskbar remains at the bottom the icons are now centered and look more like a dock.
Google is also more deeply integrating Google Assistant into Chrome OS, though they don’t go into too many specifics just yet.
Tablet to laptop in a snap
The Google Pixel Slate is meant to be a tablet but can easily transform into a full desktop experience by connecting it to the keyboard dock.
Officially dubbed the Pixel Slate Keyboard, the keyboard is fully back-lit and Google says it was designed to make typing comfortable and quiet. The keyboard also stands out due to its unique circular keys.
Google Pixel Slate: Price and availability
The Google Pixel Slate is far from cheap, starting at $599 and ranging up to $1,599. Here are the different configurations you can expect:
- Celeron with 32GB/4GB RAM – $599
- Core M3 with 64GB/8GB RAM – $799
- Core i5 with 128GB/8GB RAM – $999
- Core i7 with 256GB/16GB RAM – $1599
Keep in mind that pricing is just for the tablet. The keyboard attachment will be sold separately for $199. The pen will also cost extra at $99.