Google announced its first tablet in almost three years.
This time it was not an Android tablet, but a Chrome OS sporting one. The Google Pixel Slate was announced alongside other Google hardware such as the annual phone refreshes — Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL, Google Home Hub and a new Chromecast were unveiled. While everything about the Google Pixel 3/3XL was known, we had only seen a glimpse of the Pixel Slate before the launch.
The Pixel Slate is the first ever Chrome OS-based tablet launched by Google. So far, we have only seen Chrome OS-based laptops and convertibles. Considering we haven't seen Google releasing any Android tablets for a while now, it is safe to assume that Chrome OS will be the OS of choice for non-iOS tablets. The Pixel Slate pricing starts at $599 (up to $1,599 for the top-spec model). The companion Pixel Slate Keyboard costs $199 and Pixelbook Pen costs $99.
The choice of Chrome OS is interesting, as it brings a mix of desktop and mobile device features making it a legit hybrid so to speak. With a keyboard snapped on, you can use the Pixel Slate as a regular laptop as well. Chrome OS on the Slate promises the full, desktop-class Chrome browser, full support for Android apps via Play Store integration and a whole suite of apps that were originally designed to be used with the laptop form-factor of Chromebooks.
Here are all the variants of the Pixel Slate that would be selling later this year on the Google Store as well as retailers in the US, Canada and the UK. We don't know if the Pixel Slate would be coming to India.
- $599 for 4 GB RAM, 32 GB SSD, 8th Gen Intel Celeron
- $699 for 8 GB RAM, 64 GB SSD, 8th Gen Intel Celeron
- $799 for 8 GB RAM, 64 GB SSD, 8th Gen Intel Core M3
- $999 for 8 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD, 8th Gen Intel Core i5
- $1599 for 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, 8th Gen Intel Core i7
The Pixel Slate looks like an ideal competitor for the iPad Pro (2017), which itself is up for a refresh, and the Microsoft Surface Pro 6. Although all three come with completely different operating systems and price points, the category of users they are trying to woo are the same. So let's take a look at how they compare against each other.
|Name||Google Pixel Slate||Apple iPad Pro (10.5)||Microsoft Surface Pro 6|
|Price ($) (Wi-Fi)||$599 to $1599||$649 / $799 / $999 for 64GB / 256GB / 512GB||$899 to $2,299|
|Price ($) (LTE)||-||$779 / $929 / $1129 for 64GB / 256GB / 512GB||-|
|Price (Keyboard) ($)||$199||$159||$129|
|Price (Pen) ($)||$99||$99||$99|
|Weight (gm)||700||469 for Wi-Fi; 477 for Wi-Fi+LTE||792|
|Resolution (pixels)||3000 x 2000||2224 x 1668||2736 x 1824|
|Pixel Density (PPI)||293||264||267|
|Operating System||Chrome OS||iOS 12||Windows 10 Home|
|Processor||8th gen Intel Celeron to Intel Core i7||Apple A10X Fusion||8th gen Intel Core i5 - i7|
|Storage (GB)||32 / 64 / 128 / 256||64 / 256 / 512||128 / 256 / 512 / 1024|
|Charging Port||2x USB Type-C||Lightning Port||Surface Connect|
It is difficult to say from the comparison which would be an ideal hybrid device. The iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface Pro have been around for a while and have their fan following and use cases. The Pixel Slate, on the other hand, is a brand new entrant in this category. Chromebooks with Chrome OS have been the only devices which we have seen in India, but it has had a very niche user base and most of them are budget buyers. The requirement for a reliable internet was also, initially, a barrier. Hopefully, things have changed now.
Windows 10 and iOS are still popular operating systems. The important question right now is whether Chrome OS mature enough to convince you to spend a premium on the platform. Moreover, will the Pixel Slate even make it to Indian shores?