The devices that are trying to be two things at once are not always hitting the mark. It could be seen on the examples of iPad Pro and Surface Pro 6. They are both great devices, but neither of them delivers an equal experience as a laptop and as a tablet. The iPad is lean toward the tablet one, while the Surface is prone to the laptop.
For you who cannot decide between those two, the third option became available in form of the Google Pixel Slate. With both Chrome OS and Android under its belt, Google develops two platforms which could unite the mobile and desktop, if brought together properly.
Lately, Google design is hitting the right spots with light, colorful and playful elements featured in their redesigned web apps and Pixel 3 smartphone. The Pixelbook is one of the good examples since it really looked refreshing amid the bunch of silver MacBook look-alikes. However, the Pixel Slate takes a different path, being darker, simpler, and honestly a bit drab. Compared to the competition, like the Surface Pro and iPad Pro, Slate looks a bit outdated with its blocky chunks of black around the display. The thing that Google did right with the Slate is the feel of the device in hands. It’s rigid, durable, and feels balanced because Google packed most of the heavier components in the center of the device.
Google Pixel Slate is a pretty light device, weighing around 800g, with dimensions pretty much identical to the Surface Pro 6, but still bigger than the iPad Pro. Along the edges of the device, you will find two USB-C ports, a power button which is also a fingerprint scanner, and the volume gauge. The USB ports are placed on both sides, which is pretty convenient, considering the device doesn’t have a headphone jack. This opens a lot of multitasking options. Unlike the competition, the Pixel Slate has a 3.5mm to USB converter in the box.
The Google Pixel slate has a 3:2 display aspect ratio, which is great for a multi-practice device like this. It’s not a square like the iPad Pro, but it has more vertical space compared to a 16:9 widescreen format. The screen resolution is an astounding 3,000 x 2,000, or 293 pixels per inch. Google likes to call it a molecular display. That’s a huge leap in sharpness, surpassing even the iPad Pro. And it looks incredible. It’s a beautiful device to watch movies on, and even the dark scenes will look clear and atmospheric. To match that incredible display is one of the best set of speakers we’ve ever heard on a tablet. We are not sure what kind of magic Google used, but these set a new standard.
This device comes in a wide specter of configurations. The base model, worth $599, is that really recommendable since it’s powered by a slow Intel Celeron processor usually found in a budget level Chromebook. What we do recommend is to boost it up to at least the 8th-gen Core m3 model ($799), which comes with 8GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD. If you really want to go fancy, you can buy a device based on the new series of Whiskey Lake processors from Intel, with 8GB of RAM, dual-core, fanless processor and 128GB SSD.
There’s a lot of games to play on the Google Slate, but not all of them will play nice, thanks to the notoriously bad integrated Intel graphics. 3D games will be hit or miss. PUBG, for example, is not optimized for Chrome OS, so the graphics are locked at lower settings and there is no support for mouse and keyboard. It’s kind of weird that the Pixel 2 XL has better gaming performance than an Intel-powered device.
In conclusion, the Pixel Slate is a better laptop than the iPad Pro, and a better tablet than the Surface Pro 6. However, iPad pro is a better tablet, and Surface Pro 6 is a better laptop. Google maybe bit off more than it could chew with the software support, while hardware wise the Pixel Slate is in a really good position, despite not vanquishing all of its competition.