For the past several months, I’ve seen code commits and comments indicating that the Chromium team has been working to improve the Pixel Slate’s tablet mode. When the device first launched, switching between apps was abysmal on the Celeron-powered base model of the Pixel Slate, less so on higher-end configurations.
Chrome OS 75 brings a visually noticeable improvement to the Pixel Slate according to u/clubtech on Reddit, who is running the Beta Channel, although I’m not sure which Slate configuration was tested. Still, this sounded promising when I read it:
The latest beta (75.0.3770.19) that was released today for the Slate has done wonders for the the device. The overview animation is finally buttery smooth in both desktop mode and tablet mode. They also fixed other UI bugs with notifications and the way they sometimes showed squared vs. circled. This is the best update the slate has seen since it was released. It’s like a new machine in terms of fluidity.
I have the Chrome OS 75 Dev Channel on an Intel Core i5 model with 8 GB of memory and at the moment both the Dev and Beta Channels are both running the same Chrome OS version: 75.0.3770.19. So I took a look and videoed the experience of tablet mode, switching between eight different apps running as PWAs, native Chrome OS and Android.
You can easily see the difference from how the Pixel Slate performed in tablet mode at launch to this version of Chrome OS. The animations are much smoother and the overall experience of using the Slate without a keyboard is actually enjoyable.
Is there room still for improvement? Sure, I’d say so. But at least one of the main knocks against the Pixel Slate can be crossed off the list. Well, at least for the $999 Pixel Slate with Intel Core i5 and 8 GB of RAM, that is. That’s the only Pixel Slate configuration I have, so if you have a different one and feel up to the challenge of running Chrome OS 75 in the Dev or Beta Channel, give it a go and tell me if you see the improvements as well.
For the less adventurous Pixel Slate owners out there, June 11 is the expected date for Chrome OS to hit the Stable Channel, so you can wait about four more weeks before you get the improved tablet experience.