Our pick

Google Pixelbook

Google's latest tablet

Google Pixel Slate

Despite being over a year old, the Pixelbook is still one of the best Chromebooks that money can buy. It has a great design, one of the best keyboards we've ever tested, and can easily be folded back into a makeshift tablet. The lack of a fingerprint sensor, however, can get irritating.

$999 at B&H

Pros

  • Modern design
  • Fantastic keyboard
  • Solid specs
  • Great display
  • Better value

Cons

  • Thicker bezels
  • No fingerprint sensor

The best way to think of the Pixel Slate is first and foremost as a tablet. We love its gorgeous display, front-facing speakers, and powerful specs, but the official keyboard leaves a lot to be desired and Chrome OS still has a few kinks to be worked out for this form factor.

$999 at Amazon

Pros

  • Detachable form factor
  • Beautiful screen
  • Powerful spec configurations
  • Built-in fingerprint sensor

Cons

  • Keyboard sold separately
  • Chrome OS still feels clunky on a tablet

If you want a Chromebook that you can use for school, work, and play, the Pixelbook delivers a better overall experience and is a much better value for the money. If you really want a Chrome OS tablet and like the detachable form factor of the Pixel Slate, be prepared to pay a pretty penny.

The Pixelbook is still the better choice for most people

If you're looking to buy your first Chrome OS machine, it's hard to go wrong with Google's own products. Similar to the Pixel phones, Pixel Chromebooks often deliver the best experience possible thanks to the melding of hardware and software.

Usually.

The Pixelbook was released in the fall of 2017, and although it's over a year old at the time of publication, we still stand behind it as a sleek and powerful machine. Sure, the bezels are a little thick by today's standards and the lack of a fingerprint sensor isn't ideal, but those are about the only real issues we can think of for the Pixelbook.

The Pixelbook continues to be a force to be reckoned with over a year later.

Its aluminum and glass design still looks downright fantastic, the 12.3-inch LCD screen is sharp and colorful, and the backlit keyboard is ridiculously good. The keys have good travel, the backlighting works well, and the soft touch finish is a joy. If I could use the rest of this article to rave about the typing experience on the Pixelbook, I would. It's that good.

The rests below the keyboard give your wrists a nice place to relax while cranking out email after email, and while the trackpad does work well, it is a little on the small side for my liking.

Category Google Pixelbook Google Pixel Slate
Display 12.3-inch LCD
2400 x 1600
12.3-inch Mollecular LCD
3000 x 2000
Processor Intel Core i5 or i7
7th Generation
Intel Celeron, m3, i5, or i7
8th Generation
Storage 128GB SSD
256GB SSD
512GB NVMe SSD
32GB SSD
64GB SSD
128GB SSD
256GB SSD
RAM 8GB
16GB
4GB
8GB
16GB
Battery 41 Whr
Up to 10 hours
48 Whr
Up to 12 hours
Charging Up to 2 hours after 15 minutes Up to 2 hours after 15 minutes
Connectivity USB-C (x2)
3.5mm headphone jack
USB-C (x2)
Security None Fingerprint sensor
Price $999 — $1649 $599 — $1599
$199 for keyboard

Chrome OS runs really well on the Pixelbook, and unlike something like the iPad Pro, you've got access to the full desktop version of Chrome for all of your web browsing needs. You can also download just about any Android app you'd like, making the argument that Chrome OS isn't a real operating system moot in late 2018.

Along with the thick bezels and lack of a fingerprint sensor, the only other thing that could prove to be a downside is that the Pixelbook is using older Intel 7th Gen Series processors. They're still plenty fast, but if you want the very latest and greatest silicon that's available, you'll want to look at the Pixel Slate.

While the Pixelbook is a laptop that can also be used as a tablet, the Pixel Slate is a tablet that can be used as a laptop. As repetitive as that sounds, it makes a big difference in day-to-day use. The Pixelbook is a phenomenal laptop, but when used as a tablet, it's just OK. With the Pixel Slate, you get a fine laptop experience and, unfortunately, a tablet that's held back by software bugs.

Chrome OS was designed to be used on laptops and just recently started being put on devices with a tablet form factor. As such, it's currently going through a lot of growing pains. Not all of the UI elements are optimized for touch, animations in tablet mode are choppy, and everything just feels like it could use a few more minutes in the oven. These are things that can be fixed over time, but right now, it makes using the Pixel Slate a bit aggravating.

Google's Pixel Slate will either live or die by future software updates.

Something else we're not too keen on is that you have to throw down another $199 for Google's official keyboard cover. The circular keys are backlit, have decent travel, and hardly make any noise when used. It's a good typing experience, but only if you're using the Pixel Slate on a desk or table. The folio design that Google went for makes it virtually impossible to use the Pixel Slate with its keyboard on your lap, which isn't great for commuting.

It may sound like I'm ragging a lot on the Pixel Slate, but it does have a few redeeming qualities. For one thing, its display is fantastic. Google calls it a 12.3-inch Molecular Display, but all you really need to know is that it's a bright, colorful, and crisp LCD panel that's a real pleasure to look at for browsing the web, watching videos, and playing games.

The Pixel Slate also delivers full support for the Pixelbook Pen, 12 hours of battery life, and the excellent build quality we've come to expect from Google's hardware.

Do you want a laptop or a tablet?

A lot of this decision really boils down to what you want to buy. If you want a laptop, the Pixelbook is an easy recommendation — not only when compared to other Chromebooks, but even when stacked up against Windows and macOS machines.

If you want a tablet, it's difficult to give the Pixel Slate the same unwavering recommendation. It's not all bad, don't get me wrong, but there are just better ways to spend your money. Apple's iPad Pro is still the leader for that form factor, and honestly, the Pixelbook delivers a good enough tablet experience for those times when you just want to browse the web or watch some YouTube videos.

Along with all that, there's also the matter of price. The Pixelbook costs $999 when it's not on sale (which happens frequently) for the base model with an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 128GB of storage. You'll pay the same price for the same spec configuration for the Pixel Slate, but then you also need to add on an additional $199 for the keyboard. The Pixel Slate does cost as little as $599 on its own for the cheapest configuration (there are five, by the way), but with an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage, it's seriously underpowered.

Our pick

Google Pixelbook

One of the best Chromebooks you can buy

We loved the Pixelbook when it was first released and still love it just as much today. It's got good looks, capable internals, a gorgeous display, and a great typing experience. Plus, with frequent sales that pop up, there's never been a better time to buy.

Google's latest tablet

Google Pixel Slate

A valiant effort with room to improve

The Pixel Slate is the first tablet Google's released since 2013, and while it has excellent hardware, software limitations with Chrome OS hold it back from being something great.

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