People are usually torn between choosing a laptop and a tablet. While laptops keep getting thinner and lighter, they don’t match the portability of tablets equipped with lightweight keyboard covers. At the same time, tablets don’t possess enough computational power to run heavy software on them. Although the market is awash with plenty of impressively designed hybrid 2-in-1 devices, it’s also challenging to find an operating system (OS) that does justice to them. While Microsoft’s Surface devices have a solid Windows desktop environment, it lacks the library of touch-friendly apps that Android and iOS offer. Meanwhile, the iPad Pro contains a plethora of apps but lacks the multitasking chops of a full desktop OS.
With a large database of apps and an established, functional desktop interface – Chrome OS has the potential of being the most suited for 2-in-1 devices. Google’s new 2-in-1 device, Pixel Slate, comes with a redesigned Chrome OS that just might have solved the conundrum. It’s a tablet that transforms into a sort-of laptop when its keyboard folio is snapped, offering the best of both worlds with an operating system suited for both formats – the desktop mode and the tablet mode. According to senior product manager Ben Janofsky, the company has “truly delivered the first uncompromised device’ in this field.
The Pixel Slate is a 12.3-inch tablet which is incredibly thin at 0.25 inches and weighs just 1.6 pounds. It comes equipped with Intel’s latest Celeron or Core m3, i5 or 17 processors. The base model has a storage of 4GB that can be ramped up to 16GB on request. Although portraying a generic overall design, its anodized aluminum build provides sturdiness to the device. It comes with a pair of 8-megapixel cameras – one in the rear to take pictures and one in the front optimized for video conferencing.
The standout feature is, undoubtedly, its screen resolution. With a 3,000 x 2,000 screen, accompanied with a pixel density of 293 PPI, the device is one the most pixel-dense in its class. Aptly named as “Molecular Display”, Google was able to squeeze such high-resolution display into a relatively thin device by using a power-efficient LCD tech called low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS). The technology enables the panel to use less energy per pixel, allowing for sharper displays without sacrificing battery life or size. Therefore, in addition to a having a fantastic in-depth display, the Pixel Slate promises 12-hour usage on a single charge.
In addition to the impressive hardware, the real victory for Pixel Slate lies in the fact that the Chrome OS allows the user to seamlessly toggle between the desktop and tablet mode. The switch is automatic when the system detects a mouse being wirelessly attached to the device, changing from tablet to desktop mode. In tablet mode, the multitasking capability enables two apps to run side by side, while other Android features like Do Not Disturb and Night Light toggle is available in the desktop mode. The Assistant that accompanies the Chrome OS is also “four times faster” than it was on the first Google tablets.
As 2018 witnessed a 10% increase in 2-in-1 shipments, Google is hoping to capitalize on the Pixel Slate which designed for people who want to engage in both work and play. It starts at $599, with an additional $200 for the keyboard folio, making the $800 investment look worthwhile for a state-of-the-art gadget.