Google Pixel Slate Review – Chrome OS Tablet that runs Android / Linux

Buy it on Amazon – http://lon.tv/sdaty (affiliate link) – This review is for the $599 version. Google’s Pixel Slate attempts to bring the Surface experience to Chrome OS but it unfortunately doesn’t quite stack up. See more Chrome devices: http://lon.tv/chromeos and subscribe! http://lon.tv/s

VIDEO INDEX:
00:43 – Hardware Overview
00:50 – Price and Configuration
02:18 – Build Quality
02:22 – Screen and Weight
03:11 – Battery Life
03:30 – Great Speakers
03:40 – Cameras
03:54 – No Headphone Jack
04:09 – 2 USB-C Ports
04:32 – Power Switch has Fingerprint Reader
05:09 – Keyboard
05:56 – Keyboard Backlight
06:16 – Trackpad Issues
07:01 – Adjusting the display position
07:25 – Keyboard connection issues
07:40 – Folded Keyboard Slides Around!
08:05 – Performance: Web Browsing and YouTube Playback
09:02 – Benchmarks: Speedometer
09:47 – Chrome OS and Use in Tablet Mode
11:48 – Difficult to Use as a Tablet
12:36 – Using the Pen
15:42 – Google Assistant Built-In
16:59 – Running Android Apps
18:12 – Playing Android Games
18:35 – Running Linux Apps
19:39 – USB-C Functionality
20:44 – No Self-Powered External Displays!
21:19 – Final Thoughts

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Comments

Gadget Addict says:

I’m really still not sold on Chromebooks. You pay so much and get so little.

Charles E Bright says:

I have the Samsung Chromebook 3 and I’m little scared on using linux. I don’t know how to use it so I may never activate it. If I wanted to try it how do I get apps and what apps do you recommend that I try? Thanks.

xguy9 says:

Half baked ☹️

thelastmike says:

So many comments about pricing. It seems like people are not generally familiar with the notion of economies of scale in manufacturing.
It’s fine to say it costs too much for how it performs. That’s a decision from a consumer point of view and makes sense if you feel that way.
However the comments about why it costs that much show a very naive understanding of producing something like this. Google is probably not making big profits on it if any.
It does not cost Google the same to make one of these as it does Apple to make an ipad or for any popular Windows device. And I’d add that for the price every review I watch or read says the same thing – the hardware is excellent. Even the Google branded folio keyboard gets knocked over two design decisions alone. Lack of stiffness allowing accidental trackpad clicks on a soft surface. And lack of solid hinge between the screen and keyboard allowing too much movement on a soft surface or when closed. OK. But most every review also points out that on a solid surface the keyboard is really excellent. Great keys, backlighting, a large trackpad. It has obvious flaws yes, depending on how you intend to use it. But it isn’t like Google has tried to pawn off some low rent piece of junk at an insane price point.
For people saying it costs too much, including Lon. OK. But an ipad won’t do what I want it to do – exceptional as the hardware is. And neither will a Windows device.
As it is I plan to wait a while and keep an eye on this but I suspect Google will get things sorted out from the software side. And while you can do much of the same things on cheaper Chrome OS hardware – as Lon points out here – you cannot do all of them. One thing new here for Chrome OS is a fingerprint reader. That’s a big deal to some people. It’s a big deal to me. Is it a deal breaker for other devices. No. But it is something I’m willing to pay a good deal extra for. And it’s not something I can get today on a $200 Chrome OS device or even a $700 Google Pixelbook from last year.
And is the Slate still too large and heavy to act decently as a stand alone tablet. Perhaps. I’d have to try it for myself to know as we are all different people. But one thing I know is that it’s about a pound lighter than last years Pixelbook and won’t have keys on the back while I hold it.
So is it overpriced for what it is. It certainly seems so. But are there other options on the market that do what it does for less money. No. There aren’t. Not only don’t I want a Windows device but it will not do some of what I need to do. And while that new ipad Pro is damned sweet for similar money it too will not do some of the things I need/want to do with such a device.
Perhaps a year from now a new version of iOS will do those things. Or more of them anyway. But then maybe with that new OS update Apple will throttle the current ipad Pro to save people’s batteries for them too. You never know.

metro2002 says:

expensive, yet slow and cheaply built. Thanks but no thanks.

Timothy Vreeland says:

I think it’s priced fairly against the competition, and is actually a better value than them, if you are looking for a full 2 in 1.

The Surface Pro and iPad Pro are it’s competition, and they cost the same or more. But neither is a true 2 in 1. With iPad, you get a tablet that functions as a tablet, and that’s it. With Surface you get a touchscreen laptop that can be detached, but doesn’t really function like a tablet.

With Slate you get that full 2 in 1 experience. If that’s what you are in the market for, this is all there really is.

You get Android apps, and a mode that makes it operate like a tablet. It functions well as a touch device.

You get full Linux desktop software, and you get to use that software in a real multitasking desktop environment with sizeable windows, and a cursor.

If you want something that functions exceptional as a tablet, go iPad. If you want something that functions exceptional as a desktop, go Surface. If you want a balance between both, go Slate. They are all going to cost around $1000 with a pen and keyboard though.

Aaron Herbst says:

I have the Chromebook x2 and love it. It has replaced my iPad for me entirely. The keyboard and stylus included with a core m3 at $599. I can’t recommend it enough for anyone who’s looking at the Pixel Slate.

jagardina says:

You got the gimp? Nice.

Hazard says:

This things sucks

mkyeny9 says:

This channel is criminally underrated for the quality of content provided.

John W says:

Google churns out a lot of garbage

BernardPY says:

Bang On! After seeing a couple of complacent reviews of the Pixel Slate, it’s refreshing to hear Lon’s straight talk.

Carlos Dominguez says:

That pricing is an absolute joke. Consider it a flop already

Al Mueller says:

It is a great concept but it’s got a long way to go. Matter fact I ended up with a pixel book which is a much better machine. I’m quite happy with that.

Chris Pistocco says:

Great review!!!! i use a surface pro for work everyday and I love it… thinking of purchasing the new home version.

St. Batu says:

11:17-11:47
Should be stressed more in tablet reviews.

R Jones says:

In my opinion, Google had a winner with their Pixel C, before they abandoned Android and Pixel C along with it. The tablet wasn’t cheap but it was/is great, if it still worked. The first failure happened within the warranty period — the dreaded half screen garbled problem. They shipped out a warranty replacement and that one worked to the 1.5 year mark. Now the problem is the backlight doesn’t turn on reliably, at least when it is commanded to do so (another common problem, it appears). Since it does work occasionally and keeps working until it chooses to go back to sleep, I’m not positive its a hardware problem. The thing kept updating itself and who knows if one of the updates caused that problem. Now here is the kicker — there is no way to get it repaired even outside of warranty. I considered the Slate but its expensive and runs Chrome OS, which is not known to run Android apps consistently. For example, HDHomeRun is not said to run. Anyway, the fact that Google left Pixel C owners high and dry really bothers me, especially considering the $$$ lost. Typing this on my new Surface Pro, which I got for $800 with the keyboard and pen. Everything, of course, runs fine but media consumption is a bit easier on Android (e.g. youtube app vs Chrome browser). The Surface Pro screen is much bigger and has similar/excellent pixel density. Oddly, the highest pixel density tablet was/is my Amazon HDX, which while similarly abandoned by Amazon, still works and never once failed. I considered the Apple tablet but lean toward Windows historically because, well, computers are boring if they just work. Seriously, I’d consider the iPad pro over the Slate but am happy with the Surface Pro so far.

Larry Doolittle says:

I know it is a dumb comment but you look better without showing your undershirt all the time. I know, I know. Great videos and I always watch.

Burajira says:

Extremely detailed, an excellent review! An entirely underrated reviewer, and you deserve a million subs for sure!!

TinBin - Craig says:

wow not good and too expensive…

PixelVogue says:

Rather get the Lenovo!

Francesco Varrato says:

A nice review, as usual a great job

matthew s says:

its saving grace is ,,, google updates its Chromebooks every 6 weeks or so, just wait, and it should improve over time.
i bought an acer Chromebook 14, it was once just chrome browser, now it has new Ui, android & Linux too,, a different machine

matthew s says:

Lon, your an intelligent man, but you want a carrot to be a banana at the same time an orange too
my opinion the tablet mode is work in progress, like apple pro, is work in progress
You bought a concept machine which google uses internally, and made avilable for a $$price , to you

El Último 10 says:

Best tech reviews channel if you want to hear honest and wised opinions. Thank you for your work, mr. Lon.

Ricky Fiasco says:

hurry up and get the pixelbook before it’s gone. The slate is crap.

Toby D says:

20:43 – Whoa, I think we have the same ultrawide monitor. 😀

TechLeatherCraft says:

That keyboard is ridiculous for $200 that mouse jump is unacceptable. Makes it desktop use only. A $100 surface keyboard is way better.

Lamar Doss says:

Wow. I wasn’t even expecting half the price for this in comparison to other chrome-based devices. Yikes.

Teddy says:

Performance issues and cost definitely are downers. But I am having a harder time understanding your criticism for the keyboard. I am guessing the keyboard is powered by the tablet’s internal battery. So can any other 3rd party Bluetooth keyboard and mouse be used with it? Does the tablet stay in tablet mode when connected to a 3rd party Bluetooth keyboard?

CF542 says:

Definitely a first gen product with expected problems. I’d wait for the third gen myself or get the Pixel book which is far superior and cheaper.

Chris Cuthbertson says:

This is a huge fail for Google. Premium price but not a premium product.

Matthew Etling says:

Please review the Galaxy Book 2 (LTE)

Scott Bae says:

One of the best detailed reviews that I have seen for this device.

J Garcia says:

I still prefer a “hackish” ChromeOS – with its astounding depth of functionality – to iOS (for tablet), which is purposefully crippled by Apple so as to only excel in those few areas that it knows its customers will care about the most. Google knows they are trying to build too much functionality into/onto a poor foundation, so that’s why project Fuchsia exists. I really hope it arrives soon to replace ChromeOS and Android. But in the meantime, if Google could just steal HP’s leather folio design (with a 3:2 display, not HP’s 16:9) and slap ChromeOS onto it…then we would really be talking.

David Robinson says:

I have the Lenovo 300e Chromebook which is the more well built education market version of the C330 I’d recommend that over the Pixel Slate and it’s only around £266 to £280 in the UK, if you want slightly more power there is the 500e with a Quad Core Celeron for about £70 more.

Kawshik Ahmed says:

The only reviewer I seen that showing Linux app support on his review of the Pixel Slate. Thank You.

Chon-bae Sun says:

I still have my Nexus 10. Never upgraded to the successor Pixel series nor got another tablet. Surprised to see issues with YouTube playback on pixel. My N10 shuts off when I try to view YouTube vids at 1080p 30fps.

usmale47374 says:

Very overpriced, indeed!

Harry Flores says:

It’s not meant to be on your lap. It’s not called Slatetop. It’s meant to be on table

Christine Roy says:

That’s my main complaint with Google in so many areas: things are like 80%, 90% done and they release them. and if the adoption rate is low, they abandon it and try something else: Play Music (becoming You Tube Music), Google +, various messaging apps, Pixel book, the original Google tablet thing, etc. I love Android and especially Chrome and Linux integration on Chromebooks but it feels risky to shell out for a Google device.

Brian Kass says:

i have the zenscreen go and it works with the pixel slate. but i have the pixel slate connected to the power supply at the same time. it works without using the zenscreen’s built in battery too. it looks like you didn’t have your pixel slate connected to external power when you tried to connect the zenscreen

plunder1956 says:

I feel that the Slate is only worth it if you go to a Core i5 and NEED a really good Chromebook.
At the low end its just not a compelling device. An iPad Pro or just a decent Laptop BOTH seem far more sensible.

saturnotaku says:

This makes an iPad Pro almost seem like a bargain, doubly so as refurbished ones have dropped to around the $550 price point for the 10.5-inch model.

Burajira says:

@Lon, what are you going to do with the device? Keep it? Return it?

youmd77 says:

can you make a comparison between flagship devices head to head on the same points you mentioned.. flagship android, chrome, surface and ipad.. I know it might be a long video but very interestin

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