The Google Pixel Slate is the anti-iPad Pro, both good and bad


I dream of a tablet that can also be my laptop. the Microsoft Surface already do that. the iPad Pro try for that but only provides half of the equation. And now the Google Pixel Slate claims to offer exactly what the iPad Pro lacks, but at a price just as high. But it brings a host of weaknesses – oddly enough, what the iPad Pro does really well.

Pixel Slate is like the iPad Pro mirror universe, and at about the same price. He has what else is missing, and misses what the other has. And what I would prefer is a merger of the two products. As a working machine, Pixel Slate makes it possible to reach my writing and web browsing goals faster, and more realistically. But this is not my perfect laptop either. Far from there. Still, I would not have spent $ 599 (or £ 549) or more, plus $ 160 to $ 200 more for one of the keyboards.

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

Sarah Tew / CNET

Unlike Google's latest Google Chromebook product, the laptop-like premium Pixelbook, the Pixel Slate turns into a convertible car like Microsoft Surface Pro, with a version of ChromeOS that is more like the friendliness of a Google Pixel phone. This seems like a good idea on paper, but the idea is sometimes better than the execution.

But after a long Thanksgiving weekend with Pixel Slate, I kept wondering: who is this product for? If this is for everyone, the price is too high. If it's address to business users, why not use a Surface Pro or similar system to Windows 10? And if it's for pro-oriented artists and those who want a star tablet. why not an iPad Pro?

That's not to say that a Chrome tablet is not a good idea, and useful as a general working device. I'm sitting here, typing on the Slate Pixel with a Brydge keyboard, and it's really great. It has a good keyboard and a desktop type web browser. So what does not love?

Well, for once, the price. And, hardware and software seem to be a little buggy in my daily use so far … sometimes fast, sometimes strangely slow. Pixel Slate is perhaps Google's model for the future of Chrome, but for the moment, it seems more experimental than perfect, like a beta product, with software that can sometimes be fluid and sometimes anything but.

This is what Pixel Slate gets, and is wrong. "height =" 109 "width =" 194

Reading in progress:
Look at this:

Google Pixel Slate: unpacking the tablet and its accessories


What's great

The keyboard is perfect for a laptop (but which one to choose?)

I've got two keyboard accessories with the Pixel Slate: Google's Pixel Slate Keyboard ($ 199) and the G-Type, manufactured by Brydge ($ 160). Both are really good, and both have big trackpads that help add a laptop-like feel. But they have really different uses and disadvantages.

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The Pixel Slate keyboard works great on tables, not on towers.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Google's Pixel Slate keyboard is very similar to the Microsoft Surface Pro keyboard. It is designed to sit on a desk and the back cover turns into a magnetic adjustable stand. The keys are round, but have a satisfactory mechanism and are widely spaced. The casing attaches with a magnetic connector on the side of the Pixel Slate, which powers the keyboard. It also serves as a folio. But unlike Apple's new iPad Pro keyboard, it's not usable at all. And it's a strange case, too. The plastic keyboard cover appears to slide on the screen of the Slate Pixel when it is closed.

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Brydge G-Type Keyboard: Total feeling of laptop, but impossible to convert to tablet.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Brydge type G was my favorite. It transforms the Slate Pixel into a flip-top notebook, and feels good on the keyboard. But it does not fold to allow the Slate tablet to be used as a tablet, which means it will have to be removed. It couples via Bluetooth and must be charged separately. And it attaches by sliding the slate into rubber mounts that hold the tablet in place, which looks less stylish and less secure than Google's keyboard. This does not offer any protection to the Slate either.

I like G-Type a bit more, but the Pixel Slate keyboard has backlit keys and does a better job as a tablet case while on the go. "height =" 109 "width =" 194

Reading in progress:
Look at this:

First look at the Google Pixel Slate tablet


ChromeOS does exactly what I want it to do

The Pixel Slate Chrome browser works like a normal desktop version of Chrome, which is all I need. With many tabs open at the same time, web pages open and read normally, and everything works. That's the appeal of Chromebooks from the beginning, and the Pixel Slate does the same. This is not a surprise, but it's good compared to the iPad Pro, which is more tedious for office work. The user-friendliness of Chrome makes it a quick tool to pick up and do something at home or to send an email. When the keyboard is connected, it is basically a laptop.

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This side button is also a fingerprint reader.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The fingerprint reader is a nice touch

Logging in without a password is fast enough with the Slate Pixel Side Button, which also serves as a fingerprint reader. As far as I know, it is not linked to many uses, and it is not integrated as seamlessly as Face ID in the iPad Pro.

Battery life is good

A relatively full day of use with a full charge, that's what I got from Pixel Slate. That sounds more than good enough, and keeps a decent charge even when playing games, watching streaming videos and keeping a bunch of open tabs.

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Sarah Tew / CNET

A permanent Google Instant Assistant is useful

Being able to press to ask for things, search for information or do something similar gives the Pixel Slate a Pixel phone appearance on a big screen. I love the way it is integrated with the press of a keyboard. I've had some problems listening to it in a cafeteria via Wi-Fi at the office, but getting recommendations from the hands-free restaurants by saying, "Hey, Google," that's cool, and Google Assistant speaks as you would like, so it's like having another smart screen equipped with a Google assistant.

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A contextual settings menu is convenient.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Display: good looks

The "high-resolution molecular display" of the Slate Pixel, 12.3 inches, 3,000 x 2,000 pixels is very good, but not always great. Colors and text sometimes seemed faded, unlike the latest iPad Pro screen. The glass of the screen is also subject to glare. On a NJ Transit train wagon, writing this review, I had to be suspicious from time to time. At home, the brightness was better.

Two USB-C ports are better than one

If you compare to an iPad, at least the Pixel Slate has an extra USB-C port. This could mean using a wired headset while charging, or connecting to a screen and charging at the same time.

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

Sarah Tew / CNET

What I did not like

The price

The Chromebooks were initially something you could get for a song, a modern alternative to the netbook. That was the dream of the $ 200 laptop.

Now, if the Pixel Slate cost between $ 400 and $ 500, including the keyboard and stylus, it might be tempting too. But at its exorbitant price at the iPad level, it's something I can not imagine buying. Of course, the Pixel Slate starts at $ 599. But the faster systems you would probably want to go up quickly. I could not test all the configuration options, but the exam unit that Google sent me is the first, with a Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. But all you get in the box, it's the tablet and a headphone adapter: the Pixel Slate keyboard at $ 199 (£ 189) and the Pixelbook pen $ 100 (£ 99) are sold separately.

There are many more affordable Chromebooks, including the HP X2 Chromebook, which does most of what Pixel Slate does for a lot less, and hybrids that can replicate their keyboards, such as the Samsung Chromebook Plus V2. And the hybrid touch-screen tablet / laptop Windows such as the Surface Pro 6 make it more for those who need a work machine. And for a tablet, I would go with an iPad anyway.

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USB-C two times, but nothing else.

Sarah Tew / CNET

No expandable storage

There is no SD or microSD card slot on the Slate Pixel, which means you will have to settle for the included built-in storage or use an external USB-C connected drive. The 32GB on the $ 599 configuration should be suitable for the basic purposes of the Chromebook, but it is embarrassing 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 updates itself automatically, it is clean and secure, and it starts instantly. But that 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 as a PC.

The selection of Google Play apps is larger than you think and the Pixel Slate supports many Android apps, but almost all the ChromeOS apps for which I need to be in line to work. There are some offline apps, but the entire offline experience is still a lot worse than an iPad Pro. Chrome is a great environment for kids and for light computing everyday. But I forgive less at a higher price.

Similarly, being able to use standard Android apps on Google Play is a great thing, which would be even better for a cheaper device. The performance and selection of applications, although they are better than the last time I lived on a Chromebook years ago, still do not allow me to win compared to an iPad. Pixel Slate would not be my weekend entertainment tablet. However, Microsoft desktop applications and Adobe Creative Cloud applications are available for download on the Slate Pixel.

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The pen works, but it is not as fast or as accurate as Pencil.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The pen pales in comparison with Apple's Pencil

The Pixelbook pen allows a pressure-sensitive design, much like the Surface pen and the Apple pencil, but it seemed to me the worst option. The thicker pen uses an AAA battery. It is used with various drawing and note-taking applications from Google Keep (to which you can instantly take notes) and Adobe Photoshop Sketch. He is very late. Google's operating system also seems to indicate approximately the direction of the lines, which has resulted in a subtle repositioning of the linear curves as I scribbled. I did not like that.

No headphone jack

The unnecessary discontinuation of the headphone jacks continues: first phones, now tablets. The Apple iPad Pro has been rid of the headphone jack this year and the Pixel Slate is doing the same, having only two USB-C ports. Two USB-C ports are certainly better than one, and Google also includes a 3.5mm USB-C headphone jack adapter in the box, which Apple does not do. But that does not make the death of the 3.5mm jack less annoying.

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The keyboard and stylus are not included, but the USB-C charger and a USB-C headphone adapter dongle are.

Sarah Tew / CNET

It's heavy, for a tablet

At 1.6 lb (731 grams), the Pixel Screen is strangely dense. As a notebook with one of the optional keyboards, it seems more normal. Whatever the case may be, it's not a comfortable laid-back tablet to hold while reading.

Sometimes it's buggy

I've had strange things popping up from time to time. Sometimes a web page did not scroll properly and crashed. Other times, an application would not launch properly. I had trouble associating the Brydge keyboard a few times. The touch tools of Pixel Slate do not seem intuitive either if they are used with the keyboard and trackpad controls. Should these first bugs be tweaked with Chrome updates or is it the very nature of Pixel Slate? It's hard to say.

For whom is this?

I'll be using Pixel Slate even more before a final evaluation and evaluation, but I'm still wondering who would be attracted to a Chrome tablet worth $ 600 and up compared to a more affordable Chromebook, a Surface Pro or an iPad. As a reference model for the next step in converting convertibles for Chrome tablets, Pixel Slate is a solid step forward. But this is not a product I would recommend to anyone to buy and run out … unless you dream of a high end Chrome tablet capable of running under Linux and spend money.

The Pixel Slate proves that a keyboard, a trackpad and a quality browser make all the difference. These are the missing links that the iPad Pro desperately needs. But Pixel Slate does not feel good enough for everything else for its high price.

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