Meet Pixel Slate: Google's Chromebook resembles a Surface knock-off, starts at $599

The Pixel Slate lands as expected. It's a Chromebook that could be mistaken for a Microsoft Surface.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Google launched the Pixel Slate, which broadly speaking is a clone of Microsoft's Surface and its derivatives, with a bet that the company's artificial intelligence, Google Assistant, and software will be a differentiator.

The Pixel Slate is a convertible 2-in-1 Chromebook. Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of Hardware at Google, rolled out the Pixel Slate with the Pixel 3 and new Google Home Hub. Google outlined its hardware lineup at an event in New York.

Also: Best 2-in-1 laptops, convertibles, and hybrid laptops

Google's hardware portfolio goes like this...


Google Pixel Slate: A Surface clone?

What was most striking about the Pixel Slate is how much it looked like the Surface with its kickstand. The difference is that Pixel Slate will function as a Chromebook. The rumors turned out to be accurate. Perhaps the difference shouldn't be that surprising since Google did hire more than a few people who worked on the Surface team.

Also: Today's Google Pixel 3 event: Everything we expect and how to watch

Coming after Microsoft's Surface update the Chromebook version of the Surface was even more notable. Clearly, the Surface design language has been an influence.

Also: A short history of Microsoft's Surface: Missteps and successes | Microsoft's refreshed Surface Pro, Laptop and Studio: New specs, pricing, availability

Google Pixel Slate: It isn't a laptop trying to be a tablet

Trond Wuellner, director of product management at Google, argued that the Google Pixel Slate is a new experience on Chrome OS and the ability to work with one hand. Machine learning customizes the app launcher based on your usage. "It isn't a laptop trying to be a tablet. Or a tablet that's really a phone," he said.

Also: Chromebooks: A cheat sheet, 17 ways to recycle or sell your smartphone TechRepublic

Indeed, the Pixel Slate has rounded edges in midnight blue and a display with 293 pixels per inch, dual front-firing speakers, 8GB to 16 GB of RAM, 3000x2000 display, and support for biometrics. Single USB-C ports are on the left and right side.

"Pixel Slate represents a new chapter for the Chrome OS," said Wuellner.

The Pixel Slate has a keyboard with round keys that snap into the base.


Not surprisingly, Google touted G Suite integration, a desktop Chrome browser that is the desktop version, Google Play integration for Android apps and the AI tools to go with a reimagined Chrome OS.

Also: Best Budget Laptops for 2020 CNET

Google Pixel Slate: Technical specs

  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Display12.3" Molecular Display
  • Audio: Dual front-firing speakers for better surround sound
  • Processors: Intel processors
  • Memory & Storage: 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB RAM
  • Dimensions & Weight: 11.45 in (290.85 mm) • 7.95 in (202.04 mm)
  • Materials & Color: Midnight Blue
  • Battery: 48Wh battery
  • Camera: 8 MP with wide FOV
  • WirelessWi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2x2 (MIMO), dual-band (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz)Bluetooth 4.2
  • Security: Fingerprint Sensor
  • Sensors: 3-axis Gyroscope/ Accelerometer
  • Ports: Two USB-Cs for charging, 4K display output and quicker data transfer; Accessory connector for Pixel Slate Keyboard

Google Pixel Slate: Pricing and release date

As for the pricing, Pixel Slate will start at $599 and be available from November via the Google Store. The Pixel Slate Keyboard will run you $199, while a Google Pixelbook Pen is $99.

Also: The best business laptops of 2018 TechRepublic

Google Pixel 3 event: All the key moments from the show

Previous and related coverage:

As new iPad Pros loom, Surface Go provides your daily dose of Windows

Portable and affordable, the Surface Go has launched at the right time to invade a coffee shop near you. But with Apple likely prepping new iPads, Microsoft still has work to do on the Surface's keyboard-free tablet experience.

Best ultraportable laptops for bu

siness 2018

Ultraportable laptops are the mobile professional's friend, but which size and model should you buy? We explore the options and list some of the best.

Why are PCs sales growing while Mac sales are crashing?

After years of decline, PC sales are showing tentative signs of recovery, while the last quarter was a disaster for the Mac. What gives?

Windows PCs, Macs are slow and crash constantly, mocks Google

Google's new Chromebook video reminds the world of the worst of Apple and Microsoft computers.

Related stories:

Editorial standards