Google is taking another shot at a Pixel tablet, with a high-end detachable meant to rival the iPad Pro and Surface Pro. The Pixel Slate is a Chrome OS tablet with a detachable keyboard cover that turns it into something very closely resembling a laptop. It can get fairly high-end, too, with 8th Gen Intel processors on the inside that go up to a Core i7 paired with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
The tablet has front-firing stereo speakers, 8-megapixel front and rear cameras, and a 12.3-inch screen that Google says is faster and more efficient than a traditional LCD. It also includes a fingerprint sensor built into the power button, which is a first for a Chromebook. Google product director Trond Wuellner said the Pixel Slate will deliver “a modern computing experience.”
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While the tablet will be sold on its own, it’s meant to be paired with a keyboard cover that Google’s calling the Pixel Slate Keyboard. The keyboard has a stylish — but unusual — set of circular keycaps. It’s backlit, too, and Google says it’ll be quiet to type on. The tablet also supports the Pixelbook Pen, which debuted last year.
The Pixel Slate will go on sale later this year starting at $599 with a Celeron processor, but it’ll run up to $1,599 and higher for better specced options. The keyboard will be sold separately for $199, while the pen will remain at $99. .
This is Google’s second attempt at making a Pixel-branded tablet. Its last try, the Pixel C, was also a detachable meant to be paired with a keyboard cover. But the Pixel C ran Android, which has never excelled on tablets due to a lack of optimized apps. The Pixel Slate, on the other hand, may have the best of both worlds. It runs Chrome OS, which works on laptops, and it supports Android apps, which work well with touch.
That makes the Pixel Slate a much more promising proposition, but it doesn’t guarantee a hit. Chrome OS has only just started coming to tablets, and initial results show that it doesn’t provide as robust of an experience as it ought to. Google will have to have improved the situation enough in the past few months to make it worth buying into such an expensive product, instead of going with a traditional Chromebook.