Larry Dignan and Jason Hiner discuss the pros and cons of Google’s latest mobile devices and how they advance the company’s hardware strategy.
In October 2018, Google revealed the Pixel Slate, see our full review, and I started using it instead of my Pixelbook. I later sold off my Pixelbook and went all-in on the Pixel Slate. It has served as my primary home/office computer for the past year and it has helped me stay productive and get work done.
The Google Pixel Slate offered some improvements over the Pixelbook, primarily in hardware design elements such as narrower bezels, a higher resolution display, and a tablet form factor with the flexibility to function with a couple of capable keyboard options. The headphone jack was removed, but with two USB-C port and Bluetooth I didn’t even notice it missing over the past year.
The new Pixelbook Go is not going to compete with the Pixelbook or Pixel Slate as it targets the mass market with more of a media focus while the other two high-end models are built for getting work done.
When the Pixel Slate was first released, there were some issues with animation when switching up apps through the multi-tasking interface. This was clearly shown in a number of videos, but that’s not at all how I use the Chromebook daily so it was never an issue for me. That said, it was great to see that Google addressed the animation issues with updates over the past year so if you do use your computer in this manner then you no longer need to be concerned about slow performance on the display.
Also: One month with the Google Pixel Slate: Productivity unhinged
For my needs, I have ten shortcuts pinned along the bottom taskbar with a mix of Chrome shortcuts and Android apps populating this area of the display. I’ve tried iPads and other tablets over the past year, but nothing beats having the ability to use a full and unrestricted Chrome web browser for getting work done. Safari has come a long way with iPad OS, but it still can’t match the performance of Chrome on a Chromebook.
In addition to the full Chrome browser experience, I have used many Android apps to get work done, both in a connected setup and when offline. I’ve written hundreds of articles, worked with spreadsheets, created/edited/printed documents, engaged with social media, read magazines and books, edited and shared photos, enjoyed movies and music, and so much more on the Pixel Slate that I would have to buy another Slate if this one ever died. The Pixel Slate has become an integral and necessary part of my life.
For my engineering consulting business, I have a Microsoft Surface Pro 6, but I don’t like using it as a tablet and the only reason I use it for my freelance writing and home computer is to record the MobileTechRoundup podcast with Kevin Tofel. When I retire from consulting engineering, I’ll be using a Chromebook to get work done.
Also: Pixel Slate review: Google tablet vs iPad or Surface? It’s beyond compare
While I enjoy using the tablet mode with the Pixelbook Pen, Chrome OS, and Android apps, I am clearly most productive with a keyboard under my fingertips. The Pixel Slate keyboard is awesome for desktop-mode usage, but I much prefer the Brydge G-Type while commuting on the train, traveling by airplane, and working around the home or office away from a table. It’s an awesome companion to the Pixel Slate, including having that same midnight blue color.
Over the past year, a few of my work processes have changed and improved because of the Pixel Slate. I now regularly use Google Assistant to get tasks done while I’m sitting with the Pixel Slate working. I’ve never really tried using an assistant in the past to do more than lookup some information, but Google Assistant is now truly functioning as an assistant to help me get work done.
The Pixel Slate is not perfect as there are still some oddities with some Android apps and it is expensive when compared to other Chromebooks. If you keep your eye out though, Google often offers special deals for the Pixel Slate. As a guy who has used Chromebooks for a long time, I still can’t get over how impressive the hardware and stunning display is on the Pixel Slate considering I used to use Chromebooks with terrible resolution and basic hardware design elements. Nothing is really compromised here on the Pixel Slate.
I’m not sure why there seems to be so much hate for the Pixel Slate and think maybe it is because the Pixelbook was so good to start with and there were some initial software issues to work out. However, here we are a year later and it’s honestly one of my favorite computing devices of all time and never lets me down while helping me get work done daily.