It’s official. Google just announced the Pixel Slate, the company’s brand new Chrome OS tablet with a detachable keyboard cover. The device vaguely resembles a Microsoft Surface and toes the line between touchscreen mobile device and laptop.
The Pixel Slate is technically Google’s second Pixel-branded tablet, with the last one being the Pixel C that was released back in 2015. The big difference this time around is that the new Pixel Slate runs Chrome OS (rather than Android). The other difference is that the tablet can be decked out with pretty powerful hardware compared to the Pixel C. The high-end version of the Pixel Slate features 8th Gen Intel processors that go up to a Core i7, 16 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of storage.
The Pixel Slate is equipped with a 12.3-inch display that features 6 million pixels at 293 pixels per inch (which is also significantly better than the 2015 Pixel C’s screen). The Pixel Slate takes a page from Google’s flagship phones that were also released today with dual front-facing speakers, and has an 8-megapixel lens on the front and back.
The tablet is technically being sold on its own, but it’s meant to be paired with a $199 Pixel Slate Keyboard cover, which turns it into a full-size laptop. The Pixel Slate tablet starts at $599 for the version with a meager Celeron processor and climbs up to $1,599 for the higher-end versions with the Core i7 processor. You can also buy a Pixel Pen for $99 if you plan to draw or animate on the device.
Chrome OS finally has tablet friendly optimizations as well, something that the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 was missing. Design elements on the home screen are now a bit larger making it easier to navigate. Plus the launcher has an AI feature with recommended apps at the top, and the Google Assistant will live in the bottom toolbar. Split-screen will allow for true multitasking, and quick settings is getting a Night Light mode toggle. Automatic updates are still here, and a physical Titan security chip (similar to the Titan Security Key) is inside the Pixel Slate for added protection.
Whether the Pixel Slate is embraced by the public remains to be seen, but we could see the lower-end models being popular among certain crowds. It’s at the higher prices that the tablet gets harder to justify. Chrome OS is relatively new on tablets, and so far, reviews of existing devices haven’t been great. The Pixel Slate certainly seems promising, and it may even be the best Chrome OS tablet available. Whether it’s the most practical choice for consumers will be an entirely different story.