Google finally has a device designed to compete on the iPad Pro’s level. The search giant on Tuesday unveiled the Pixel Slate to a packed house and with plenty of Android fans chomping at the bit. The robust tablet runs Chrome OS, making it a huge threat to the dominance enjoyed by Apple.
The device, which we saw leaked a few days ahead of its official announcement, features an expansive 3:2 screen with minimal bezels, as well as an aluminum build with rounded edges. It doesn’t look quite as handsome as the discontinued Pixelbook, but it’s still quite the looker with its incredibly thin 7mm frame. It is powered by Intel Celeron processor with available m3, i5 and i7 processors and will start with 4GB of RAM with 8GB and 16GB also available..
Other notable design features include an 8MP front-facing camera for video calling and an 8MP powerful rear-facing camera that will utilize the same algorithm and machine learning that powers the cameras on the Pixel smartphones, and a fingerprint sensor embedded in the power button. While the fingerprint sensor’s placement is convenient when the tablet is in portrait mode, the implementation seems a little wonky when the device is in landscape.
Of course, we have yet to use the device, so we can’t really speak to its usability.
There’s also a single USB-C port and no 3.5mm headphone jack, which means only Bluetooth headphones can be used with the device. We suspect, however, that the device will come with some type of dongle to allow users to used wired earphones.
The big story here is Chrome OS, which is a popular choice among educators and students. By making the Pixel Slate a tablet with a spacious 12.3-inch display (with a stunning resolution of 3,000 by 2,000), Google is making the device increasingly mobile and will put it against devices like the iPad Pro and even Apple’s more affordable 9.7-inch iPad, which was announced earlier this year.
Chrome OS is powerful enough for productivity and flexible enough for mobile users thanks to its support for the Google Play Store. Users can download their favorite apps and still enjoy productivity features Chrome OS has to offer, such as deep integration with services like Drive, Docs, and more. Its 12-hour battery life will make the Slate a powerhouse tablet.
For users who require a keyboard, Google has also created a keyboard that can attach to a special port found on the Pixel Slate, similar to the iPad Pro. This keyboard features circular keys, a dedicated Assistant button, and a trackpad, essentially turning the device into a Chromebook. It is also backlit, making it one of the few folio keyboards that lights up at night.
The Pixel Slate will start at $599 and go as high as $1,599 for the fully speced out version with the Keyboard going for an additional $199 and the Pen for $99. It will come with three complimentary months of YouTube TV.