Google Pixel m3 Slate is a maddening device to review. It’s the latest in a line of premium, expensive Chrome OS devices from Google — but the first that’s a tablet, meant to compete with the iPad Pro and Surface Pro. Based purely on its hardware, the Pixel Slate should be up to the task: It has powerful specs (an Intel i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage), an OLED screen that looks fantastic, and a nearly bezel-less design with four speakers tuned by AKG to provide excellent sound quality for watching a video or listening to music.
The Google Pixel Slate m3 has a sleek magnesium body with a glossy, high-end finish. The bezels are trimmed with aluminum and there’s an 8MP camera on its rear side that faces towards you when using it in laptop mode. The specs are top-notch: you can get it with either an Intel Core m3-7Y30 processor or Intel Core i5-7Y54 chip; it has up to 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of SSD storage space. It also has two USB-C ports, a fingerprint scanner, a 2MP front camera, an NFC chip, and dual stereo speakers with four mics for far-field voice control.
When you’re using a Chrome OS device like Google’s Pixel Slate m3, apps that run Android apps need to be downloaded from a separate Google Play Store tab, and they won’t show up in your app drawer until you download them. Most users will find most of what they want here (we didn’t encounter any app compatibility issues on our review unit). And if you prefer to browse for more Chrome-specific software, there’s an additional Chrome Web Store tab for that. For those wondering about support for iOS apps, don’t bother: The Pixel Slate doesn’t support iOS software at all.
Google Pen & Keyboard
Both come standard with every Google Pixel Slate m3, and they’re both pretty great. There’s a reason that Apple has kept its Smart Keyboard around for so long, and it has to do with text input. The on-screen keyboard is fine (and better than ever in Android Pie), but there’s no replacement for a hardware keyboard when it comes to typing speed and accuracy. That’s doubly true when it comes to touch-typing — I found that I could type up to 80 words per minute on my old MacBook Air, a feat impossible with any virtual keyboard in handheld form.
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