Google on Tuesday introduced its first tablet PC based on its Chrome OS operating system, the Pixel Slate. Being based on Intel’s high-performance x86 SoCs and equipped with a 12.3-inch display, the new Pixel Slate can rival low-power 2-in-1 laptops in terms of performance and LCD real estate. Straddling the line between a tablet and a formal 2-in-1 convertible, Google is also producing an official keyboard attachment that will sell separately from the Pixel Slate, which is similar to how Microsoft is handling the Surface Pro.

The Pixel Slate is Google’s fourth-generation computer running Chrome OS and is also the company's second tablet (the first one was based on Android and was arguably not a success, considering the state of software on this platform). The company has learnt quite a lot throughout its journey and one of the key things that differentiate its own computers from numerous competing offerings is performance. The new Pixel Slate is offered in a wide range of configurations covering the performance and storage spectrum, from the entry-level Intel Celeron-based model with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage, up to a powerful Core i7-based model with 16 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD. Typical Chromebooks often use similar entry level specs, but few offer configuration options that scale into the performance and capacity of a full notebook PC.

Just like the previous-generation Pixelbook, the new Pixel Slate comes with a 12.3-inch display covered with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5. The display is laid out in a 3:2 aspect ratio, which Google finds ideal for the majority of typical use cases. The LCD has a 3000x2000 resolution, a maximum brightness of 400 nits, and covers up to 72% of the NTSC color space. The display can work with Google’s Pixelbook Pen stylus for those who need it, just like similar tablets from Apple and Microsoft.

Google Pixel Slate
  Entry Low-Power Mid-Range High-End
Display Diagonal 12.3"
Resolution 3000×2000
Brightness 400 cd/m²
CPU Celeron Core m3 Core i5 Core i7
Graphics Intel, integrated
RAM 4 GB 8 GB 8 GB 16 GB
Storage 32 GB SSD 64 GB SSD 128 GB SSD 256 GB SSD
Wi-Fi 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi module
Bluetooth BT 4.2
USB 1 × USB Type-C (5 Gbps?) for data, charging, display output
Other I/O webcam, speakers, microphone, fingerprint sensor
Dimensions (H × W × D) 290.9 mm × 202 mm × 7 mm
11.45 inches × 7.95 inches × 0.27 inches
Weight 725 grams / 1.6 pounds
Battery Life 48 Wh | 10 hours
Price $599 $799 $999 $1599

The new tablet from Google comes in an aluminum unibody that is 7 mm thick and featuring a midnight blue finish. As for the battery, the Pixel Slate is outfitted with a 48 Wh battery that is rated for 10 hours.

Two distinctive things that set the new Pixel Slate apart from its predecessors and offerings from other PC suppliers are a keyboard with round keys as well as a fingerprint reader integrated into its power button, a first for any PC based on the Chrome OS. Another noteworthy feature of the Pixel Slate are front-firing stereo speakers, which are not typically found on tablets, but are common for laptops.

Moving on to connectivity. On the wired side of things the Pixel Slate has a USB-C port used for charging and connecting an external display (up to a 4K resolution is supported). On the wireless side of things there is 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2 adapter.

Google’s Pixel Slate will be available later this year directly from the company and from major retailers. Prices will start at $599 for a Celeron-based convertible laptop. More powerful machines will obviously be more expensive and will end up at $1,599. Meanwhile, the keyboard will be sold separately for $199, whereas the stylus will cost $99.

Google is not the first PC maker to offer a tablet running its Chrome OS. A number of its partners from the Chromebook camp introduced such devices earlier this year and took advantage of the fact that Android apps now work on Chrome OS as well. Meanwhile, Google is the first company to offer a tablet-format  (or shall I say convertible, given the performance and optional keyboard?) Chrome OS-based PC based on high-performance Intel’s processors, essentially targeting notebook users with its Pixel Slate. Keeping this fact in mind, it is not surprising that Google’s Pixel Slate is not as affordable as typical Chromebooks.

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  • zepi - Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - link

    72% NTSC probably means roughly sRGB gamut.
  • Sam-i-am123 - Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - link

    Why do companies insist on using 72% NTSC instead of 99% sRGB. Isn’t NTSC an outdated TV color gamut and is irrelevant in modern context? What’s the old joke again.... NTSC = Not The Same Color?
  • baka_toroi - Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - link

    I think it's "Never The Same Color."
  • Lord of the Bored - Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - link

    NTSC as a broadcast standard is retired(and the infamous hue fluctuations were exclusively in over-the-air broadcast on 60s hardware. Wired environments and more advanced electronics both did away with those issues).

    The NTSC color gamut, by contrast, is still relevant today, in part because it one of the broadest gamuts that has ever seen any sort of widespread adoption(and in part because the long life of analog color TV means it became heavily entrenched in the video production world).

    If you only quote sRGB gamut coverage, it just means your display can't do better than the bare minimum, because your display sucks. And many companies can't even get THAT.

    And, ultimately, if a manufacturer quotes the NTSC gamut coverage, they have made a conscious choice to print the number that makes them look worse, and I respect that.
  • casperes1996 - Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - link

    "The LCD has a 3000x2000 resolution, a maximum brightness of 400 nits, and covers up to 72% of the NTSC color space"

    Nice resolution, descent enough brightness.... Wait, wait... What? 72% NTSC? Is this a joke?
  • id4andrei - Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - link

    People don't use ChromeOS for color accurate work. ChromeOS, just like Android, lacks any meaningful color system management, so why invest in a wide color display.
  • ianmills - Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - link

    Pretty underwhelming... You can get a laptop with better specs for the base price... not only that the keyboard + pen add 50% to the price! I've been looking for a writing tablet for a reasonable price (as that's pretty much my only use case). It seems a 2018 apple ipad is the best option at half the price of the pixel slate but I really don't want to deal with iOS or (God forbid!) ever have to install that malware app itunes to my main machine again
  • osxandwindows - Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - link

    I haven’t had to use iTunes for any of my devices for years
  • Speedfriend - Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - link

    If you don't use iTunes how can you get a ripped movie onto your iPad? Please tell me there is another way as iTunes is possible the sh*ttest software ever. Why I have to go through 20 steps to do what takes 3 steps for my Android tablet, I don't know.
  • Impulses - Friday, October 12, 2018 - link

    I'm still trucking along with a Nexus 7, heh... For movies on planes and browsing on the couch (plus some photo browsing on vacation) it's more than enough... The N7 kinda ruined the value proposition for Android tablets for a while.

    I guess Asus has some appealing models, none with pen or decent keyboards... I really liked the Nexus 9 form factor, the buggy state and slightly hiked up price at launch really held back what could've been a big hit for them, I bought one for my mother later on and it still works great.

    There's no way I'm paying $500+ for a tablet with a mobile OS tho, might as well get a Surface Go or indeed a laptop.

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