Google Pixel Slate first look

Google Pixel Slate: Everything you need to know about the new Google tablet, including its price, release date and specs.

Key Features

  • Review Price: £549
  • 12.3-inch 3000 x 2000 (293 ppi) LCD display, 400 nits for use in bright areas
  • Intel CPU options
  • 4-16GB RAM
  • 32-256GB Storage
  • 46Wh battery
  • Chrome OS

The Pixel Slate is Google’s latest stab at making a do-it-all convertible running its software. It sits between the company’s elderly Pixel C tablet and top-end Pixelbook convertible, targetting the same space as Apple’s iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface Pro.

For Chromebook fans and basic users on the market for a slick, easy-to-carry tablet-cum-laptop, on paper this is a pretty enticing device.

But with Chrome OS’s app offering being well behind Apple’s, and key creative suites such as Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo not running on it, is there enough on display to lure creatives away from iOS?

From what I’ve seen after a hands-on go with the Pixel Slate, quite possibly, but only with more work on the OS app offering. Here’s everything you need to know about the Google Pixel Slate.

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Google Pixel Slate – Price

The Pixel Slate will be available in four different version in the UK. The cheapest will set you back £549.

The keyboard will set you back another £200 and the Pixel Pen a further £99. This puts it in the same price bracket as both the iPad Pro and Surface Pro, depending on what spec you pick.

Google Pixel Slate – Release date

Google hasn’t given the Pixel Slate a specific release date. The only information we have is that it’ll be this year.

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Google Pixel Slate – Design

The Pixel Slate looks more like the Galaxy Tab S4 and iPad Pro than Google’s last convertible, the Pixel Book. The slim 7mm-thick tablet section comes in a fairly deep midnight blue colouring and has slightly rounded edges plus a 2.5D screen.

The display is far from edge-to-edge, but in hand, the tablet’s metal chassis feels every bit as premium as the iPad Pro and it has all the trimmings of a modern convertible. It’ll charge using a USB-C cable, and has a fingerprint scanner built into the side-facing power button.

On its front, you’ll see twin dual-speakers that Google claims “are custom-tuned to deliver industry-leading audio”. I didn’t get a chance to test the speakers during my demo, due to the noisy press room conditions, but the lack of Dolby Atmos branding is a minor disappointment given its appearance on many other modern tablets and convertibles.

Dolby Atmos on a tablet is a virtual surround sound that aims to make gaming and movie-watching more immersive. It’s worked a treat on past mobile devices I’ve tested with it.

The big differentiator design-wise stems from its atypical keyboard design and docking mechanism. For starters, the Pixel Slate’s option folio keyboard cover is full-sized. This is a big step up on the iPad Pro keyboard cover, which is squished no matter how you look at it. It also has a full-sized trackpad, which makes using it as a laptop/Chromebook far more pleasant.

I’m also pleased that the snap magnetic docking system lets you set it at any angle you like and doesn’t give you a limited number of angles, as the iPad Pro does.

Typing on it, the keys were noticeably more reactive and suitably spread out so that I could see myself working a full day on the Pixel Slate. Though until I use it a little longer I can’t confirm this.

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Google Pixel Slate – Specs and Chrome OS

Under the hood, things get more interesting. Google is offering the Pixel Store in a variety of different configurations. You can see a breakdown of them in the tablet below.

Spec Option One Option two Option three Option four
Display 12.3-inch 3000×2000 (293 ppi) LCD display, 400 nits for use in bright areas

72% NTSC colour

12.3-inch 3000×2000 (293 ppi) LCD display, 400 nits for use in bright areas

72% NTSC colour

12.3-inch 3000×2000 (293 ppi) LCD display, 400 nits for use in bright areas

72% NTSC colour

12.3-inch 3000×2000 (293 ppi) LCD display, 400 nits for use in bright areas

72% NTSC colour

CPU Intel Celeron Unspecified Intel Core M3 Unspecified Intel Core i5 Unspecified Intel Core i7
Memory 4GB/8GB 8GB 8GB 16GB
Storage 32GB/64GB 64GB 128GB 256GB
Battery 48 Wh 48 Wh 48 Wh 48 Wh
Camera 8-megapixel front and back 8-megapixel front and back 8-megapixel front and back 8-megapixel front and back
Price £549 £749 £969 £1549

The screen is one area I’m particularly interested in. The iPad Pro’s Trutone screen is a key selling point. This is because it’s been tailor-made for creative work and targets the DCI-P3 colour gamut favoured by artists and cinematographers. Coupled with the Apple Pencil and a full suite of creative apps designed for the tablet, this made it one of the only non-Windows convertibles I’ve ever tested that I’d happily use for photo-editing and digital painting.

Google claims it’s optimised the screen to offer ‘accurate colours’, but has shied away from giving screen temperature, Delta E or colour gamut coverage figures, which makes doing a direct comparison without a colourimeter hard. But my naked eye impressions were positive. The screen didn’t look overcooked and whites were nicely clean. Judging blacks was all but impossible in the conditions but didn’t look terrible.

This means, if you pay for a top i5 or i7 version, it should be powerful enough to do basic creative work, though I wouldn’t want to do anything too taxing like video editing.

My bigger concern, as ever, is its use of Chrome OS. Chrome OS is great for basic web browsing and media streaming, and runs wonderfully well on low power hardware. Which is why it can work smoothly on a Celeron CPU. But the app offering isn’t there for power users.

Pretty much all the apps focus on entertainment, or office work, like the newly added Adobe Acrobat suite. Hardcore digital painting, vector, 3D modelling and video-editing apps are few and far between.

Google claims you can get around this by installing full-fat Linux apps, like GIMP or Blender in a secure container. This is possible, but I just can’t see someone wanting to do it when they’re already paying the price of a Surface Pro or iPad Pro, which have apps that work on them out of the box.

Hopefully, I’ll be proven wrong come my full review. Otherwise, I can only really see the lower power and cost models winning people over.

Google Pixel Slate – Opening impressions

The Pixel Slate is a beautiful looking Chrome OS convertible that has the chops to be a fantastic travel companion, student laptop replacement and mobile workstation for basic office busywork.

It looks gorgeous and from what I’ve seen has one of the best keyboard covers available on a tablet. My only concern is that, like the Pixel Book before it, there won’t be enough apps to justify the top specced version’s price, which will put off power and creative users.