The Pixel family has welcomed a new member on October 9: The Pixel Slate (also known under the code name “Nocturne”), a highly-rumored new Pixel tablet that uses Chrome OS and may provide a viable alternative to conventional Chromebooks. Here’s everything we can say about the Slate’s specs, design, and important features.
Here’s the quick-and-easy specifications for the Google Pixel Slate.
- Display size: 12.3-inch
- Thickness: 7mm (without keyboard)
- Weight: 1.6 pounds (without keyboard)
- Processor: Intel Celeron up to 8th-gen Intel Core i7
- RAM: 4GB up to 16GB
- Storage: 32GB up to 256GB
- Screen resolution: 3,000 x 2,000 (293 pixels per inch)
- Audio: Dual front-firing speakers
- Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
- Battery: 48 watt-hour
- Ports: Two USB-C, Pixel accessory connector
- Camera: 8MP with wide FOV
- OS: Chrome OS
A thin and simple design
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, with the Pixel Slate keyboard sold as an expensive ($199) 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 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 x 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
Buying the basic $599 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 $1,599 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 a 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
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
Pricing & Availability
Google 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.
Pricing starts at $599 for the tablet only. Pricing rises from there to $1,599 for the top-tier model.
The keyboard is $199 and the pen is $99. Both accessories are optional and not included in the base price.