When the Pixel Slate landed in reviewers hands last year, it was almost universally panned. About the only positive reviews out there were mine and Jerry Hildebrand’s over at Android Central.
There were valid reasons for the general negativity, ranging from the relatively high price, poor performance on lower-end models and animation lag in tablet mode.
I think most reviewers also had unrealistic expectations as well, comparing the Pixel Slate to the Apple iPad: Even though the form factors are the same, the Slate is based around a desktop browser while the iPad is a mobile-centric operating system.
Regardless, one of the issues is at least partially resolved since all available models of the Pixel Slate are now $200 less expensive.
How long will that discount last? I don’t know but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s around for a while. Or if it does disappear quickly, I’d expect to see it again every few weeks or so.
But a discounted price alone doesn’t absolve the Pixel Slate of all its initial faults. However, the Pixel Slate of today isn’t the same one that launched in October. There have been four full OS updates to the Stable Channel since then and there are currently newer versions in the works that I’ve been following.
Chrome OS 75 actually addresses what turned off many would-be buyers who planned to use their Pixel Slate solely as a tablet instead of a Chromebook with a detachable keyboard: The animation lag. It’s still not perfect but it’s unarguably much improved.
Then there’s the relatively small 12.5-inch screen size for the Pixel Slate. I’ve read numerous comments around the web from folks who felt it’s just not enough of a workspace. No, the discounted Slate doesn’t have a bigger screen but we know that virtual workspaces are coming to all Chrome OS devices, including the Pixel Slate, making it easier to manage apps across up to four desktops. It might be a mental thing, but I know I’ll feel less “cramped” on my Slate, once this feature arrives.
When it comes to gaming on the Slate, you’re generally relegated to Android titles or games in Linux. The Pixel Slate can now take advantage of GPU acceleration in Linux, making games go from totally unplayable to actually possible now.
Of course, Google’s Stadia game streaming service is expected this year, turning the Slate into a 1080p gaming rig. We’ll have to see how much it costs, of course, and more details are expected in a few weeks at the E3 gaming show.
And while other features that have debuted since the Pixel Slate launched aren’t specific to this device, they make the Slate far more useful. For example:
- Audio playback support in Linux
- Backup/restore of Linux containers
- Native PDF annotation support that works with (or without) the Pixelbook Pen)
- Support for Android movies and music downloads to an SD card, which can be done with a USB-C card reader or hub on the Slate.
- Mounting of Google Drive files in Linux
Simply put, today’s Pixel Slate isn’t the same as the device that debuted last year. Sure the hardware is the same, but the software experience and performance is much improved. And it’s only going to get better.
11 thoughts on “With Chrome OS improvements and a $200 discount, the Pixel Slate is worth a second look”
“Then there’s the relatively small 12.5-inch screen size for the Pixel Slate. I’ve read numerous comments around the web from folks who felt it’s just not enough of a workspace.”
Actually, what keeps me from considering a Pixel State is that its screen size is way too large. If it were 10.1 inches, I’d buy it in a NY minute. That is, as long as I have the option of adapting the Chromebook to my use case by using an extended display. When I’m mobile, I really hate having to pull out a device any larger than 10.1 inches. And when I’m seated at my desk, I just want to plug the Chromebook’s USB connector into a hub and take advantage of viewing multiple application windows on a giant monitor and even on multiple displays. Have these ‘folks around the web’ never heard of attaching an extended display?
But have they fixed the fact you cannot use the touchscreen keyboard as an IME in Crostini/Linux/crouton/crosh yet or is it still quiet?
I was going to say exactly this! You read my mind. I’d love to see a quality Chrome OS tablet with iPad-like dimensions (10.5″ screen). The Acer Chrometab 10 doesn’t cut it.
I’d love to see a quality Chrome OS tablet with iPad-like dimensions (13.3 screen). The 12.3 doesn’t cut it.
“[Buy this even though it’s not perfect] And it’s only going to get better.”
This is the worst possible reason to buy ANY hardware especially from Google. Did you forget Nexus S,, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus Q, Nexus 10, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 (2013) Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P? All massive hardware failures after 9 months which were supposed to be fixed with software but nothing.
Terrible advice from a tech blogger especially knowing the history.
Since I already have a Plus v2, I’ll probably get the second version of Slate. Or wait for a smaller form factor. But this is a good deal for those who doesn’t have a Chromebook yet.
My Pixel Slate arrived this afternoon and so far I have been very happy with it
I am actually thinking about replacing my Pixelbook and HP chromebook x2 with Pixel Slate i7/16GB….after I used HP x2, I found that it is the best that I have, iPad to me doesn’t cut it because of browser. 12.3″ is perfect size to me. And definitely love the Android and Linux capabilities. So thinking about consolidating my device into one.
M3 version is still a whopping $950 in UK.
I got the itch and ended up ordering the m3 for work. Should arrive today, can’t wait!
Sweet deal! Hope it meets your needs; let me know what you think of it.