The Pixel Slate isn’t as much a “book” as it is a Chrome OS redux incarnate. With a refreshed software UI and a singular Midnight Blue soft-touch finish, it seems that the key word here is “versatility” rather than hunger for power.
That said, don’t count on this machine skimping on media consumption: the low-temperature polysilicon LCD is being dubbed a “Molecular Display” and spans 12.3 inches. Google claims that the older display technology has been improved to the point that it updates pixels faster and more accurately for the best picture there is on LTPS. Stereo front-firing speakers deliver powerful sound to accompany stunning visuals.
For video chats, there are 8-megapixel front and rear cameras with that rear one being wide enough for two people or more. For selfies, there’s a Portrait Mode to amp up software-generated bokeh.
The Slate itself has a centered balance point for reliable portability, even with its 726-gram mass. The side-mounted power button has an embedded Pixel Imprint fingerprint sensor for quicker security. There are two USB-C ports with the capabilities of 4K output, unspecified fast data transfer and charging. The battery is rated for 10 hours of general use.
Chrome OS has been improved with machine learning to bring up apps on the desktop when users want them. Full-blown Linux apps — after all, Android and Chrome OS are rooted in Linux — can be brought into play in addition to items from the Google Play Store. Updates are handled automatically when the device is not expected to be used and, speaking of, digital health measures such as Night Light screen-tuning for more comfortable vision in dark environs and Do Not Disturb mode have made their way on.
Google’s new Titan M chip is on-board and is able to store vital personal information, device passwords and the operating system in encrypted form locally.
The Pixel Slate starts from US$599 at its base configuration and goes to at least $1,599 depending on which Intel processor is chosen. With the keyboard costing $199 and the Pen an additional $99, the full experience can get pricey quickly.
The United States, Canada and the United Kingdom will be able to place orders later this month — customers can enroll on a waitlist in the meantime. Buyers will get a free YouTube TV subscription for 3 months.