Pixel Slate: Can you tell the difference between the Core m3 and Core i5 in this video?

After yesterday’s terrible showing by the $599 Celeron version of the Pixel Slate, I reached out to my podcast co-host, Matthew Miller, because he’s the only person I know with both a Core m3 and Core i5 slate. We both agree that the base Celeron configuration with 4GB of memory needs some work on Google’s part. It’s undeniable. The good news is, the Chromium team filed a bug report to address the animation lag and sluggishness.

I still believe that the $599 Celeron option shouldn’t be the torch-bearer for the Pixel Slate lineup, nor should it be compared to a more expensive iPad Pro. As it stands now, many folks have seen the lag from MKBHD’s video and have written off the entire product line. That’s not my opinion, that’s from reading through hundreds of comments on the video.

Regardless, many folks are wondering if the Core i5 is worth the $200 price difference from the less expensive Core m3 Pixel Slate. It’s a great question to ask since the HP Chromebook X2 has a Core m3 and in my brief time owning one, I found it to run quite well. I only returned it because it didn’t want to be limited by the 32GB of local storage as I use my Chrome devices for Android and Linux apps as well as Chrome OS.

If you’re in this boat of debating the $799 and $999 Pixel Slate, Matt’s brief video may help you decide. I’ll give you fair warning though: Matt doesn’t tell you which device is which until the end. See if you can correctly guess between when he’s using the Core m3 and the Core i5 Pixel Slate.

6 thoughts on “Pixel Slate: Can you tell the difference between the Core m3 and Core i5 in this video?

  • December 23, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    “the base Celeron configuration with 4GB of memory needs some work on Google’s part. It’s undeniable. The good news is, the Chromium team filed a bug report to address the animation lag and sluggishness.”

    And, that is why the earlier article that implied MKBHD’s criticisms were somehow out of line was entirely uncalled for. It seems to me that MKBHD’s comments and straightforward approach have been entirely vindicated. MKBHD not About Chromebooks is looking more like the genuine defender of common consumer interests, in this case. Not only has MKBHD raised an issue of substance here but his comments have prompted Google to give its full attention to finding a resolution.

    • December 23, 2018 at 3:58 pm

      My issue with MKBHDs video wasn’t with what he saw or described. It’s how the video was misleading since not everyone would know he was using the base model. And he agreed with me to a point, saying “True if you don’t watch the whole video and don’t read the top of the description, it can appear misleading. Hopefully people don’t do that tho!” People are doing that, however, and this could have been avoided. My other issue was his expectations or hope of replacing a $999 iPad Pro with a $599 Pixel Slate. He’s an intelligent, tech reviewer and knows better than to expect that. Many commenters on his video said the same. It’s your prerogative to “read into” my article how you see fit of course but IMO, there’s really nothing to read into. The fact is: The base Celeron as tested offers awful performance. I get it. But without the clarity of the device details up front, a false narrative about the device line has been seen by more than a million people. As I told MKBHD yesterday, had the info on the device specs been made clear early on, I wouldn’t have written my post. And I’m thrilled that the Chromium team is aware of the issue. It’s in everyone’s best interest.

      • December 24, 2018 at 2:35 am

        I think MKBHD was crystal clear concerning his comments being about the base model Pixel Slate, alone (notwithstanding other comments, here, that indicate the issue might be more widespread than that). Also, he was actually using the common (and reasonable) standard by which system functionality and performance is judged in the consumer electronics/digital appliance/consumer computing domain – the stance of the non-expert user. That is exactly as it should be. A manufacturer of computing devices ignores this kind of user reportage at their commercial peril.

        Now, I am not suggesting that you are mistaken about the specific ‘background conditions’ that have conspired to produce the dissatisfying experience that MKBHD reported. You are probably right about that (although we can hope further optimization improves things). The thing is having “6 to 8 apps and such running and…who knows how many browser tabs…[o]n a Celeron…[w]ith 4GB of memory and a 3000 x 2000 resolution touchscreen display” is a valid test scenario, albeit a tough one, for a device like this.

        All Pixel Slate models come with a high spec touch screen and it isn’t too much to expect that even the entry level/memory limited models should be able to support that screen and the deliberately designed touch driven app multitasking capability that partially defines the Chrome OS tablet experience. But, unfortunately, the entry level model that MKBHD reviewed (using an unspecified version of Chrome OS) is beset by unsettling lag and janky operation. Anyone who checks out the MKBHD video that you linked in the earlier article will be able to confirm that for themselves.

        I can see no significant shortcomings in MKBHD’s reportage on this. It would, of course, be enlightening to try to replicate what he has reported to ascertain whether there are well defined circumstances under which this troubling system behaviour emerges. Reducing the level of challenge and thus eliminating the troubling system behaviour, by deliberately failing to provoke it, is not a valid move in this situation. That goes against every tenet of testing of computer systems and we learn nothing from such an exercise. Testing that leads to exposure of defects is a constructive exercise. That is what MKBHD has done (perhaps unintentionally). Personally, I am thankful for that.

  • December 23, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    Regardless of which model you buy it seems choppy everywhere. I agree with MKBHD, this is unacceptable and Google should be held to a much higher standard.
    In other words, use the iPad pro for a couple weeks and then pick up the high end Slate. You’ll see what I mean.

  • December 23, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    It seems to me the lag and performance issues are present in every version of the pixel slate and not just the “cheap” “slow” “bottom end” or whatever other name the fanboys are coming up with to make it sound like the issue is only in the Celeron model.

    The pixel slate has genuine performance issues no matter what model you buy and it has absolutely nothing to do with the Celeron model that still has better specs than most Chromebooks out there.

  • December 24, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    It seemed pretty obvious to me in the video which of them was the Core i5 and which the m3 (by which I mean, after he went to the Verge in the m3, I called it, and skipped ahead to the conclusion). I suppose that might be because I’m sitting here using the m3 Chromebook X2, so its slight hesitations are extremely familiar to me.

    My takeaway is that the $999 version is absolutely worth the extra $200, if I were to get a Slate… but also that it probably doesn’t make sense to get a Slate when the X2 is the same basic thing with a better keyboard for half the price.


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