I've now spent a month with Google's new Pixel Slate Chrome OS tablet, see my full review, and decided it was better for me than the Pixelbook thanks in large part to the Brydge G-Type Keyboard. I sold my Pixelbook on Swappa and my own $799 Intel core m3 model arrives today.
The Pixelbook served as a productivity powerhouse and I was thrilled to have finally purchased my first Google-branded Chromebook in late 2017 after skipping the earlier Chromebook Pixel computers. When the Pixel Slate arrived with the Google Pixel Slate Keyboard, I was impressed by the hardware of the Slate while also believing the flaws in the Google Pixel Slate Keyboard (wobbly hinge, inadvertent activation of the trackpad, and sloppiness when serving as a cover) would keep me from moving from the Pixelbook to the Slate.
After now using the Brydge G-Type Keyboard with the Pixel Slate for a couple of weeks, this combination offers me a more premium package while also enhancing the tablet mode in a way that the Pixelbook could never achieve with the keyboard always attached.
As I look back over the last month of use and towards the future, here are several reasons I love using the Google Pixel Slate for hours every single day:
- Full desktop web browser: Thanks to the use of Chrome OS, I have zero limitations when using the internet with the Pixel Slate. Apple iPads are excellent tablets when you use iOS apps, but there are always compromises when using the Safari mobile browser. It is truly enlightening for me to use the web without any restrictions using the Pixel Slate.
- Fit, finish and design: The Pixel Slate improves on the high end design of the Pixelbook with smaller top and bottom bezels, curved 2.5D glass, an attractive Midnight Blue color, a stunning high resolution 3000x2000 pixels resolution display, great sounding stereo speakers on either side of the display, and solid cameras.
- Solid battery life and fast charging: The stated battery life is up to 12 hours and after pulling the Pixel Slate off the charger in the morning I have no trouble using it all day long without charging. If I want to charge it up, I can get another couple hours of battery life in just 15 minutes.
- On-screen keyboard options: Since the Pixel Slate is a tablet first, I've tried splitting my time between tablet and laptop modes over the past month. With the Pixelbook Pen and the new minimized pop-up keyboard that can be moved around the display I have been able to maintain a high level of productivity in tablet mode. The Pixel Slate seamlessly switches between portrait and landscape as I use it around the office and on my commuter train.
- Easy multi-window mode: While it is handy to have a couple of apps open side-by-side, I love that I can drag a Chrome browser tab down and off to the side to have it open and working next to another tab. The ease with which you can view tabs in this mode is awesome and I use it all day long.
The Google Pixel Slate is not perfect, no device ever is, so here are a few things I would like to see in the future:
- Pen included or discount keyboard combo: While there are five pricing levels of the Pixel Slate, it is still quite expensive. With the focus on it as a tablet, the Pixelbook Pen should be included. For those who want to use it in laptop mode, a bundle discount with the keyboard would be wonderful. We now see major discounts on the Google Pixel 3/3 XL phones so I imagine we will see discounts on the Slate and accessories in a few months too.
- More fingerprint sensor integration: While it is handy to secure the Pixel Slate with your fingerprint and unlock it with ease, I would like to see more integration of this sensor. For example, the ability to view my bank account either in the browser or with the Android app would be useful.
- Better Android app tablet optimization: I do not use a ton of Android apps on the Pixel Slate, especially after Kevin Tofel showed me how to activate web apps by clicking on the three-dot menu in the top right corner of the browser, selecting More Tools, and then choosing to Create Shortcut. While handy, Google needs to devote resources to making popular apps work well with tablets and it has been far too long that this has gone on with little attention from Google.
- Better keyboard with Quick Snap support: I love the way the Google Pixel Slate Keyboard snaps right in and connects with the Quick Snap Connector, but want to see version two with an improved rigid hinge design. While the Brydge G-Type is awesome, there are times when Bluetooth has to be turned on to get up and running.
- Integrated LTE option: Google has improved the connection to phones, especially if you have a Pixel phone, but I would still like to see an integrated LTE option in the future.
Can you think of anything else to improve on the Google Pixel Slate?
While I believe the Google Pixel Slate, in combination with the Brydge G-Type Keyboard, is the perfect combination for my home/office, daily train commute, and business travel, there are many other reviewers who prefer the Pixelbook, iPad Pro, or Surface Pro. We all have our own unique needs and desires so there is never one single device that is best for everyone. The Google Pixel Slate is an essential tool for me and I'll offer up more details as I test out the Intel Core m3 processor on my own device.