If your dad’s a techie and you still don’t know what to get him for Father’s Day, consider an Apple iPad 10.2 or Google Pixel Slate — both of which are in the bargain bin at Best Buy today. You’ll need to order fast if you want to make sure they arrive before the big day, though: Tablets are the must-have gadget at the moment and, consequently, retailers are starting to run out of stock of the most popular models like the iPad 10.2.
The standard iPad 10.2’s bezels are still obscenely large (slimming them down would have made it look a bit more contemporary), but this tablet now boasts a bigger 10.2-inch screen compared to the previous model’s 9.7-inch display. In comparison, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S6’s trimmed bezels look fetchingly modern, and so do those of the iPad Pro. None of this means that the iPad feels cheap, though. It has a nice substantial weight to it, plus it sports a 100% recycled aluminum enclosure, which is good for the environment. Instead of Face ID, which remains exclusive to the iPad Pro and the latest iPhones, you get Touch ID, although that’s not exactly a deal-breaker for most users. What sets this apart from the older iPad 9.7 is support for the Smart Connector so you can use it with Apple’s Smart Keyboard (sold separately).
As mentioned earlier, this device offers a slight increase in screen size. The LCD panel’s pixel density is the same at 264 pixels per inch, although it looks sharp, and is colorful and very bright. And thankfully the headphone jack has not been removed, unlike the iPad Pro. You don’t have to go hunting for a 3.5mm-to-Lightning jack once your Bluetooth headphones lose power.
Strangely, the iPad 10.2 didn’t get a processor upgrade, unlike the rest of the iPad lineup, which now boasts the A12 Bionic chipset. However, this tablet’s A10 Fusion processor still packs plenty of power. Multitasking with several apps open won’t be an issue, and navigating the new iPadOS is buttery smooth. The previous iPads ran with just a slightly altered version of the iOS, but the iPadOS is an entirely different beast. You have the ability to use multiple apps in the Slide Over menu, a revamped home screen layout that includes the Today View widgets, desktop-grade Safari, and multi-window apps. You can now even use Split View on the same app, like having two Google Docs open side by side.
The Google Pixel Slate feels solid and particularly well-designed. It may not have the slick two-toned look of the Pixelbook or the Pixel phones, but it still looks impressive. It is nicely light and slim, weighing in at 1.6 pounds and just 0.28 inches thick. Furthermore, the rounded edges are easy to grab and the large bezels offer a better grip if you’re using it one-handed.
Its screen is exceptionally stunning. The 12.3-inch display is packed with over 6 million pixels that are sharper and more minutely detailed than either the Pixelbook or the Surface Pro 6, and even surpass the iPad Pro. With a 3:2 display aspect ratio, this makes the Pixel Slate the perfect tablet to watch movies with, offering stark blacks and vivid colors. Even more delightful is the Pixel Slate’s set of speakers, which happen to be the best we’ve ever heard on a tablet.
Unlike other tablets, the Pixel Slate runs on Chrome OS instead of Android (a lot of Android apps are available for download though). Working with an eighth-generation Intel Core m3 processor and 8GB of RAM, this Pixel Slate is unfortunately not meant for heavy work. It works fine for normal tasks like browsing the internet and streaming music, but it doesn’t fare well with graphically demanding games like Asphalt 9: Legends. The animation becomes glitchy and intermittently freezes. We blame the notoriously bad Intel graphics processor.
To optimize the Pixel Slate’s functionality (and for it to transform into a laptop as advertised), you should consider buying the Folio keyboard, which is sold separately. The keyboard is ingeniously designed for the top to fold up and magnetically attach to the back of the Slate, serving as a kickstand. Changing the angle of the screen is easy and can be done even with one hand. The keyboard is also very comfortable to use, and its large touchpad is extremely responsive.
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