Skip to main content
Loading...

Featured Post

Amazon's Black Friday Sale Begins: See What's On Offer

Amazon's Black Friday Sale is finally here. Here are some of the best deals on now.
We've had our fingers poised over our keyboards long enough in anticipation of Amazon's Black Friday Sale, which went live at midnight and will last until 25 November.

Google Pixel Slate Review: Hands-on

Google gets back to tablets with the Pixel Slate, with a 12.3in screen and an updated version of Chrome OS. Is it the right machine for you to work and play on? We take a look at it.

SHOULD I BUY THE GOOGLE PIXEL SLATE?
As thin as a phone but with a 12.3in screen, the Pixel Slate is a well-built and attractive tablet. The entry price gets you fairly low-specification components, and we don’t yet know how much the higher-spec models will be. And with the exorbitant cost of the optional (but not optional) keyboard, the Slate isn’t as cheap as it might appear.
Removing the headphone jack is a curious decision as there’s no obvious reason behind it, although its demise seems inevitable these days even if it isn’t something users want.
The Slate’s software needs polishing before launch, but it’s well worth understanding exactly what you can and can’t run on ChromeOS before buying.


PRICE WHEN REVIEWED
  • From US$599
Alongside the Pixel 3 and new Home Hub, Google launched the much-rumoured Pixel Slate. It’s a 12.3in tablet that seems a lot like an evolution of the Pixelbook concept, aimed at those who want a detachable keyboard. It’s also a model which gives Google something to compete against the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface Pro.

But it runs ChromeOS, Google’s own operating system which can also run Android apps, another Google OS. It seems that Android has failed as a tablet OS, and the Slate is Google’s first tablet since the Pixel C.

We spent some time with the Pixel Slate and came away somewhat confused about who would want one and why you’d choose Chrome OS over Windows or iOS.

So there are our initial thoughts, which we’ll turn into a full review when the finished device becomes available.

PRICE & AVAILABILITY
The entry-level Slate costs US$599. No official UK price has been announced, but it could be £549. And there’s no set release date just yet. It’s “coming later this year”. 

This comes with an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.

But you’ll be able to spec it up to a Core i5, 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. There’s no word on other prices or what the top-end model will cost, but it’s going to be a lot more.

And the official keyboard isn’t cheap: its US$199. That’s a heck of a lot for what is going to be an essential, rather than optional, accessory for most buyers. Add another US$99 for the Pen: this is the same as the one you could buy for the Pixelbook but it’s colour-matched to the Midnight Blue hue in which the Slate comes.

FEATURES & DESIGN
At 7mm thick, the Slate feels impossibly thin. As Google says, it’s perfectly balanced thanks to even weight distribution, so it isn’t top-heavy, bottom-heavy or side-heavy. It weighs 721g, or 1.6lb, which is a little lighter than the 12.3in Surface Pro.

Under the artificial light at the London launch it was hard to get a sense of its real colour and just looked black: it’s very dark.

The matt aluminium finish feels great but is instantly covered by fingerprints the moment you pick it up.

You’ll find two USB-C ports, one on either side, a volume rocker on the left, a power button on top with a built-in fingerprint scanner and a pair of 8Mp cameras, one front, one rear.

Conspicuous by its absence is a headphone socket, and there’s no microSD slot. That’s frustrating as you’ll need a USB-C card reader if you want to transfer files – from a GoPro, say – and you can’t expand the internal storage.

The screen is impressive. It uses a similar- if not the same - low-temperature polymer technology (LTPS) as some current smartphones. This allows for the high 3000x2000 pixel resolution, giving a density of 293ppi – higher than the 12.9in iPad Pro.
Colours are vibrant, viewing angles good and detail excellent. There’s no support for HDR which is a shame, but not a deal-breaker.

Flanking the screen are stereo speakers. Because they face you, they sound better than most tablets, but they’re still pretty tinny.

Software
Hardware is all well and good, but the operating system can’t be ignored. Unfortunately, despite the fact that ChromeOS had been breathed upon so it works exclusively on a touchscreen, it still feels unfinished.

Pick up the Slate without a keyboard and you’ll initially find it unintuitive. There’s no obvious home button, and you have to try gestures to see what will happen. Swiping down doesn't bring up an Android-style control centre - that's found bottom right because this is ChromeOS.

The home button is found in the bottom-left corner, but during our brief test didn’t always work as expected, bringing up one of the other running apps instead of displaying the home screen on more than one occasion.

Swiping down from the top actually brings up the multitasking screen, and you can drag an app left or right to run two side by side. It depends upon the app as to whether you can resize the divider or not to give one app more space than the other.

In desktop mode, which is automatically enabled when you pop the Slate onto the keyboard, windows can be resized at will, just as with any desktop OS.

Dragging apps and using the multitasking screen resulted in a fair amount of jitter and jerkiness, which we were told should be ironed out by the time the Slate launches.

The specs of the Slate we tried weren’t disclosed, but if it was the Celeron, it does make us wonder if the entry-level model will have enough grunt to get real work done.

Another confusing aspect is that apps can be from the Google Play Store (Android) or the Chrome Web Store. Plus, you’ll spot a tiny grey Chrome icon on some apps, indicating that it's a web app or website.

The fact Android apps are supported makes a big difference, but many are still not optimised for tablets and treat it like a giant phone.

Compare this to the iOS App Store and the vast amount of software available for Windows and it makes it all the tougher to recommend a ChromeOS-based machine.

Google has added a few features to keep up with other Oses including a Night Light to reduce blue light before bedtime and a Do Not Disturb option. There’s also Family Link, the new parental controls that allow you to keep track of how your kids are using their devices and put limits on how long they use them for.

Keyboard
The keyboard cover has the novelty of circular keys. It looks good, but most importantly is easy to type on and responsive. The layout is similar to a Chromebook, with the top row of keys primarily for controlling navigation on web and media playback. At the bottom you’ll find a Google Assistant Key.

We noticed that the Play/Pause button works if an app (such as Spotify) is in focus, but it doesn’t work if you switch to another app such as Google Docs. Another niggle that will hopefully be ironed out before launch.

There’s a touchpad, something you won’t find on an iPad Pro, which controls the on-screen cursor. Behind the tablet, there’s a flap which acts like a kick-stand and allows you to adjust the tilt to the perfect angle. When closed, though, the cover feels a bit loose and moves around a bit: not really what you’d expect given the high price.
VERDICT
The Pixel Slate is an impressive piece of hardware, and we wouldn’t expect anything less from Google these days. However, software isn’t nearly as polished as its rivals and with some worries over performance, we’ll have to wait for the finished article before we can make a final judgement.

SPECS
  • Google Chrome OS
  • 291x202x7mm
  • 721g
  • aluminium casing
  • Midnight Blue colour
  • Power button with fingerprint sensor
  • Storage: 32GB / 64GB / 128GB / 256GB
  • 12.3in Molecular Display
  • 3000x2000 pixels, 293ppi
  • 10-point multi-touch
  • Pixelbook Pen Input
  • 8th generation Intel Core i5 / Core m3 / Celeron Processor
  • 4GB / 8GB / 16GB RAM
  • Wi-Fi (802.11ac)
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • Two 8MP Full HD cameras, front- and rear-facing
  • Microphone, Stereo speakers
  • 2x USB-C ports
  • Pixel Slate Keyboard port
  • Titan security chip
  • 48Whr battery, up to 10 hours



Comments

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Loading...

Popular posts from this blog

LG G5 Review In-Depth

Can LG take on the Galaxy S7 with a metal design, dual-cameras and an accessory slot? Here's our first LG G5 review, focusing on LG G5 design and build, LG G5 specs, LG G5 cameras and LG G5 software and apps.
Alongside the Galaxy S7, the LG G5 is one of the biggest phones (not literally) to launch in 2016 – and we're not just talking in the Android world. It's one of the heavyweights and LG will be looking to set the market alight with the G5's alternative and innovative modular design.

Amazon Echo Plus (Second-Gen) Review

The second-gen Amazon Echo Plus is shorter, louder and better-looking than ever. What's not to like? Here's our review.
Should I Buy The Amazon Echo Plus (2nd-gen)?
The new Echo Plus offers a radical redesign compared to the original, ditching the plastic body for a fabric mesh housing that helps the speaker blend into the home environment. It’s not only better-looking either, as a larger speaker and tweeter provide improved audio quality and Dolby Play 360 audio support helps fills the room with music. What’s not to like?

Google Pixel Review

Not everyone wants a phone with a big screen, but most small-screen phones compromise on performance and cameras. Not so with Google’s latest flagship Android phone: Here’s our Google Pixel review.
Joining the ranks of the Pixel C and Chromebook Pixel are Google’s new Pixel phones. We’re reviewing the smaller 5in Pixel here, but you can read our separate Pixel XL review if you’re after a bigger phone.

Oppo RX17 Pro Review: Hands-on

We had time with Oppo’s new RX17 Pro. It may be blue and purple but how different is it to the similar OnePlus 6T and is it worth your time?
Should I Buy The Oppo RX17 Pro?
Oppo has made a solid mid-range phone in the RX17 Pro. Build quality is premium, fast charging is industry-best fast and the display is of high quality.But the price is high at 599€ considering the OnePlus 6T with a better processor starts at £499/€529. And while functioning as it’s supposed to, ColorOS is still unrefined for the western market with far too many changes to Android to recommend over competitors.

Xiaomi Mi Band 2 Review: The Best Cheap Fitness Tracker Money Can Buy

The Xiaomi Mi Band 2 is the best cheap fitness tracker we’ve seen. Read our Mi Band 2 review to find out what’s new in this excellent-value budget activity tracker.
Should I Buy The Xiaomi Mi Band 2?
With a new OLED screen the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 offers better value than ever. We’d like to see better integration with third-party apps, but at this price the Mi Band 2 is impossible to fault.

Like Fan Page