To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Google Pixel Slate review: Hands on with Google’s slick Surface rival

The Google Pixel Slate will be available from 1st November, with prices starting at £549.99 – and it's looking good

The Pixel Slate, announced in October, is the firm’s very first tablet to run ChromeOS. The 2-in-1 device was launched alongside an array of other hardware including the Google Pixel 3, Google Home Hub and all-new Chromecast at the company’s #madebygoogle event.

With prices starting at £549, Intel processors are providing the power and there’s a high-resolution 3,000 x 2,000 LCD display up front. Just like the Apple iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface Pro, Google is offering a £189 detachable keyboard as an optional extra and it works with last year’s £99 Pixelbook Pen too. 

Google Pixel Slate review: Key specifications, price and release date

  • Screen: 12.3in 3,000 x 2,000 ‘Molecular’ display 
  • Processor: Intel Celeron – Intel Core i7
  • RAM: From 4GB
  • Storage: From 32GB
  • Camera: 8MP, f/1.9 front camera, 8MP f/1.8 back camera, video: 1080p HD at 30fps
  • Price: Starting at £549
  • Release date: 1 November from Google Store

Google Pixel Slate review: Design, key features and first impressions

It comes as no surprise to hear that Google thinks the new Pixel Slate is the perfect device for both work and play, combining desktop processing power with a light, thin mobile form. Perhaps its main selling point, whichever way you intend to use it, is the 12.3in 3,000 x 2,000 LCD display which is covered in a protective layer of Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5. With a 293ppi pixel density, it’s absolutely pin-sharp.

It’s also surprisingly lightweight and thin. The tablet weighs just 721 grams and measures 7mm deep. That’s just 0.1mm thicker than the 12.9-in iPad Pro and around 50g heavier – not bad for a device that starts at £220 less than its rival.

The Pixel Slate gets powerful dual-front facing speakers, and 8MP cameras front and back. We’ve not had a chance to put these snappers to the test properly yet, but the front camera has a handy wide-angle field of view and also uses larger 1.4μm pixels to improve image quality.

After this, which components your Pixel Slate has depends on how much you’re prepared to spend. The entry-level £549 configuration comes with an Intel Celeron Processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, but if you have £1,549 spare you can upgrade all the way up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 Processor, 16GB of RAM and 256GB of solid-state storage.

The perk to buying a Pixel Slate over a regular Android tablet is primarily that it runs a new version of ChromeOS that’s been redesigned for touchscreen. Among other functions, this means you can run the desktop version of the Chrome browser (with full extension support), and run full-powered Linux applications.

And if you prefer not to navigate using swiping and taps alone, the Pixel Slate can also be used with a separate snap-on, magnetic keyboard. At £189, it isn’t cheap, but it comes with a full-size trackpad and it’s slightly unusual round keys feel more akin to those on a laptop than a 2-in-1 tablet. If you’re a stylus fan, then you can always shell out another £99 for the Pixelbook Pen.

Google Pixel Slate review: Early verdict

We’ve had limited time with the Pixel Slate, but there’s no reason to believe it shouldn’t challenge the very best 2-in-1 tablets on the market.

It has a gorgeous screen, the design is slick, and if you’re prepared to pay for it there’s all the power and performance of a premium ultraportable. 

The only obvious downfall is the cost. With the price rapidly soaring past the £700 mark with the detachable keyboard, we’ll be expecting the Pixel Slate to deliver big things when it arrives for review. Let’s just hope it doesn’t fall short of the mark.

Read more

News | Tablets