The Pixel Slate: Everything you need to know

The Pixel Slate is now available for pre-order with a release date of November 22

Google Pixel Slate Hands-on
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Pixel family welcomed a new member on October 9: The Pixel Slate, a highly-rumored new Pixel tablet that uses Chrome OS and may provide a viable alternative to conventional Chromebooks. Here’s everything you need to know about about the Slate’s specs, design, and important features.

Pricing & Availability

After months of endless leaks and speculation, Google took the wraps off of its premium new Pixel Slate at a media event in New York City on October 9 alongside its flagship Android phones. But the company didn’t put a date on the Slate’s availability, saying only that it’ll be available “later this year” in the U.S., Canada, and U.K.

Following the Pixel Slate’s announcement, Best Buy’s pre-order pages for the tablet and its accessories originally indicated that a ship date of November 22, in time for the Thanksgiving holiday in the US and the busy Black Friday shopping rush. The date was at one point pulled from Best Buy’s website, but the current pre-order page again now shows free shipping, and seemingly confirms a “Release Day Thursday, November 22.”

At Best Buy, the pre-order price on the Intel Core m3 64 GB Pixel Slate starts at $800. Pricing rises from there to $1,000 for the midrange model, and then $1,600 for the top-tier model. The keyboard is $200 and the pen is $100, but both accessories are optional and not included in the base price. Unfortunately, the cheaper $600 entry-level Pixel Slate with Intel Celeron processors aren’t available for pre-order at Best Buy, and could likely instead appear on the Google Store once a release date is more official.

everything you need to know about the pixel slate capture
Best Buy’s listing

The long stretch between the Pixel Slate’s product announcement in early October to its rumored availability date in November may be due to regulatory hurdles. At this time, Google’s online store noted that the device has not gained FCC approval in the United States. “This device has not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission,” Google said. “This device is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.”

A quick Google search, however, generated a Google card noting the tablet will be released in November, though an exact date was not given. The Google search card contained a link to Google’s online store for additional information about the product. Now that Chrome OS 70 is out, the Pixel Slate will be able to take advantage of some of the newer tablet-centric features once it ships in November.

A thin and simple design

Google Pixel Slate Hands-on
Juliana Jara/Digital Trends

The Google Pixel Slate has a simple, thin design with rounded edges and comes only in midnight blue. It’s a tablet at its core, unlike the Pixelbook, with the Pixel Slate keyboard sold as an expensive ($200) extra. Since it’s a tablet first, the design of the device isn’t too remarkable, but it fits nicely into Google’s prevailing design language. It’s simple, but inviting.

According to Google’s official specifications, the Pixel Slate is just seven millimeters thin, 202 millimeters tall, and 290 millimeters wide. That’s remarkably thin given its overall dimensions. It weighs 1.6 pounds, which is comparable to a Surface Pro and a bit more than the most recent iPad.

There are a few feature hidden in the design that might make a difference. One is a fingerprint reader in the power button. There’s also dual front-facing speakers for better audio while holding the device. And finally, the tablet has front-facing and rear-facing cameras. These cameras support portrait mode and can take wide-angle shots.

The Pixel Slate Keyboard is an optional add-on. It’s a folio style, which means it connects to the base of the tablet and then folds over it to provide protection. Strangely, Google has opted to use round keys for the keyboard — an odd choice rarely seen on mainstream keyboards. The keyboard is backlit.

Google’s Pixel Pen also returns, but the company didn’t say anything about changes to its design aside from a new midnight blue color that matches the Pixel Slate.

The display is a doozy

Google Pixel Slate Hands-on
Juliana Jara/Digital Trends Espanol

Google made the Pixel Slate’s display a focus during its reveal, going so far as to include a small video where it spoke to creators about how the Pixel Slate did justice to their work. Google apparently hopes that owners will use the Slate to watch high-quality video content on Google.

That said, the display isn’t surprising. It offers a 12.3-inch screen with 3,000 × 2,000 resolution, which means it has a 3:2 aspect ratio similar to Microsoft Surface devices. The resolution works out to 293 pixels per inch, or 6 million pixels overall.

Overall, the Pixel Slate is comparable to many of its competitors and is directly comparable to the Microsoft Surface Pro.

No specification surprises

Google Pixel Slate Hands-on
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Buying the basic $600 version of the Pixel Slate will net you an Intel Celeron dual-core processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage. The range scales up to the $1,600 model, which has an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage.

These internals aren’t a big surprise. They’re basically the same as you’ll find in the Microsoft Surface line, or in other 2-in-1s like the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. We doubt they’ll be much performance gap between the Pixel Slate and its peers, though the Pixel Slate’s unique operating system will make direct comparisons difficult.

A new version of Chrome OS

Google Pixel Slate Hands-on
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

There was a lot of speculation about what the Pixel might run ahead of Google’s event. In the end, it appears Google has decided to update the existing Chrome OS with a new look.

Since it’s a tablet, the new design is focused on touch use. It looks a lot like Android, with rounded icons, big buttons, and heavy use of large grid-like menus to provide easier navigation. Android app support continues, but the rumored addition of support for Windows installations wasn’t mentioned.

The new version of Chrome OS boasts a few other features focused on security. That includes built-in virus protection, automatic background updates that ensure the OS is always up to date, and Google’s Titan security chip, which helps prevent hackers from hijacking the device.

Editors' Recommendations

Product Review

Why spend more? The Yoga Chromebook outdoes most laptops for $600

The Yoga Chromebook features great build quality, a 1080p display, and all-day battery life. All that for $540? That’s right, but there’s one catch.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Computing

New rumors say the Pixelbook 2 could show up at CES 2019

What will the Pixelbook 2 be like? Google hasn't announced it, but thanks to rumors and leaks, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the potential new flagship Chromebook will be like.
Product Review

It's not the sharpest tool, but the Surface Go does it all for $400

Microsoft has launched the $400 Surface Go to take on both the iPad and Chromebooks, all without compromising its core focus on productivity. Does it work as both a tablet and a PC?
Computing

Intel's dedicated GPU is not far off -- here's what we know

Did you hear? Intel is working on a dedicated graphics card. It's called Arctic Sound and though we don't know a lot about it, we know that Intel has some ex-AMD Radeon graphics engineers developing it.
Computing

Firefox 64 helps keep your numerous tabs under control

Mozilla officially launched Firefox 64 by placing new features into the laps of its users including new tab management abilities, intelligent suggestions, and a task manager for keeping Firefox's power consumption under control.
Computing

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.
Computing

Apple MacBook Air vs. Microsoft Surface Pro 6

The MacBook Air was updated with more contemporary components and a more modern design, but is that enough to compete with standouts like Microsoft's Surface Pro 6 detachable tablet?
Computing

Installing fonts in Windows 10 is quick and easy -- just follow these steps

Want to know how to install fonts in Windows 10? Here's our guide on two easy ways to get the job done, no matter how many you want to add to your existing catalog, plus instructions for deleting fonts.
Computing

Email take-backsies! Gmail's unsend feature is one of its best

Everyone has sent a message they wish they could take back. How great would it be if you could undo that impulsive email? If you're a Gmail user, you can. Here's how to recall an email in Gmail.
Computing

These laptop makers produce the most reliable, quality hardware today

If you want to buy your next laptop based around a specific brand, it helps to know which the best brands of laptops are. This list will give you a good grounding in the most reliable, quality laptop manufacturers today.
Computing

Here's why 64-bit (not 32-bit) dominates modern computing

Today's computing world isn't the same as it once was. With 64-bit processors and operating systems replacing the older 32-bit designs, we look at what 32-bit vs. 64-bit really means for you.
Computing

Microsoft’s Windows 10 updates have been a disaster despite safeguards

After a string of Windows 10 update issues, including severe data loss for a number of users, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of Windows, Michael Fortin, has spoken out about quality control surrounding Windows development at…
Computing

No more wild goose chase: ‘Duck.com’ now leads to DuckDuckGo instead of Google

DuckDuckGo recently acquired a shorter domain name from fellow search engine competitor Google. As a result, longtime and new DuckDuckGo users can now access the privacy-focused search engine by going to duck.com.