With the generation moving towards smaller and more compact devices, a tablet/laptop hybrid is no surprise in 2023. This is why I decided to test the $999 Google Pixel Slate i5.
Packed with a 12.3” screen, an i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, and 128 GB internal storage, it seems like a good buy, considering its optional Pixel Keyboard and Touch Pen. But is its $999 price tag worth it? Let’s find out!
Google Pixel Slate i5 Tech Specifications
The primary specifications of the Google Pixel Slate i5 are:
|12.3” LCD Touchscreen
|8th Generation Intel Core i5
|8 GB (maximum 16GB)
|128 GB (maximum 256 GB)
|Dual 8MP Front Camera, 8MP Rear Camera
|Triple-Axis Gyroscope and Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Magnetic Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Antenna Proximity Sensors, Pixel Imprint Fingerprint Sensor (on Power Button)
|Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi 802.11, 2x Dual-Band MIMO (2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz)
|2x USB C, 4K External DisplayPort
|Anodized Aluminum Body, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
|7 mm (Height) x 290 mm (Length) x 202 mm (Width)
|1.6 lbs (0.72 kg)
Google Pixel Slate i5 Features
While the Google Pixel Slate is a hybrid between a tab and a laptop, its features contain the best (and worst) of both worlds. Here are its main features and what I liked and disliked about them:
Build Quality & Design
The Google Pixel Slate i5 has a decent build quality. While it’s not as tough as a laptop, it’s still tougher than your average tablet. I found it to be durable due to its anodized aluminum chassis.
However, I found its design elegant enough to grab my attention. I loved its rounded edges, which made this tablet feel more premium (which it is). However, it has wide bezels around the screen, bigger than an iPad Pro, but not too big to make it look dated.
If you look at its dimensions, it’s small. It’s smaller and lighter than the Microsoft Surface Pro, Samsung Galaxy Book 2, and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. When I held it, it felt heavier than most smartphones but felt more like a tab, which is excellent, considering this has a keyboard.
The Google Pixel Slate i5 has a 12.3” display with a 3,000 x 2,000-pixel resolution. I found this to be a bit odd since it doesn’t fall under the norms of 1080p, 2k, and 4k resolutions.
However, the quality of the images and videos on-screen is good. The colors are warm and crisp, which made Pacific Rim a blast. Its brightness is also good, boasting 337 Nits. Therefore, when I took it out in broad daylight, the screen did not go dim as it typically does. In addition, I found no dimming edges when viewing the screen from slanted angles from any of the sides.
It’s touch recognition and responsiveness is good since I faced no issues with it. However, since the display is locked at a 60 Hz refresh rate, a higher refresh rate could have been better at this price point.
Let’s face reality – ChromeOS must be more underpowered than other operating systems like Windows and macOS. Since it entirely relies on Google and Android apps, it’s suitable for students. However, most professionals will require something more powerful with a better collection of supported apps.
However, it serves its job fine as a laptop/tablet hybrid. Since you can use this in touchscreen mode, it’s good enough. I believe ChromeOS is suitable for such touch-based devices. Everything is super responsive, and the UI is perfect.
However, even though ChromeOS is built by Google, not all Android apps are supported here. Vehicle essentials like YouTube, Spotify, and more are supported, but most games still need to be. Therefore, if you are a gamer, look at something other than the Google Pixel Slate i5.
Keyboard And Pen
Every product has a unique gimmick to set itself apart from competitors. For the Google Pixel Slate i5, it’s the Pixel Slate Keyboard (which comes as a pricey $199 add-on).
As a writer, I was satisfied with the use of this keyboard. Typing feels like a breeze, which made it one of my favorite 2-in-1 keyboards for tablet/laptop hybrids. While its circular keycaps felt a bit weird initially, I slowly got used to it and started enjoying it. It also has a recliner that turns this device into a mini-touchscreen laptop!
If you are in a dark room, fear not. This keyboard has full backlit support, where each key is noticeable well enough, even in darkness. In addition, the keys make no noise at all. This was a welcome change since I prefer using my clicky mechanical keyboards.
Apathy from the keyboard, the Pixel Pen is another input device you can use (for an extra $99). I found it to be good enough for artists. I opened Google Sketchbook and started drawing, and I was surprised at how smooth everything felt. It also has zero latency, with a pressure sensitivity of 2,048, which is half of most competitors.
However, the Google Assistant Feature for the pen is a hit or a miss. It’s glitchy, and the AI appears to not recognize certain inputs at all.
The 8 MP camera on both front and back is not something to brag about. It’s pretty decent and takes excellent pictures. However, most modern smartphones have better cameras at less than half the price point.
I clicked various pictures of my friends and cats with this, and they all appeared good. Not as good as a DSLR or an iPhone camera, but still good enough. The same can be said for the selfie front cam as well. I appeared handsome as hell as I clicked selfies with this.
However, as you might have guessed, using a giant device like this with one hand to click selfies feels uncomfortable! Therefore, as a webcam for Google Meet, it performs satisfactorily.
I used the Google Pixel Slate i5 for roughly 12 hours on a single charge, which took 2 hours. Therefore, it’s decent compared to most laptops and smartphones. However, most modern smartphones with 4,500 mAh+ batteries will definitely last longer.
Since the Google Pixel Slate i5 has an 8th Generation Intel i5 processor, you expect it to run as fast as a laptop, right?
The truth is, however, very far from reality. It performs more like a high-end smartphone rather than a laptop. Since I couldn’t test various games here, I cannot say anything about that. However, as I used all the Google apps, it felt good, and I saw no slowdowns whatsoever.
Final Verdict: Is The Google Pixel Slate i5 Worth Buying In 2023?
The Google Pixel Slate i5 is a decent laptop/tablet hybrid with proper performance and a great display and backlit keyboard. However, I will not recommend this product for its overpriced $999 price tag.
|Great design and build quality
Amazing keyboard and pen
12 hours of battery life
|Buggy wireless connectivity, especially with the Bluetooth
Most android apps are not supported
Way too expensive
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