Google's fixing poor tablet mode performance for the Pixel Slate and other Chrome OS devices

Pixel Slate
Pixel Slate (Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

While the Pixel Slate is a welcome addition to Google's hardware lineup, there's one issue that holds it back from being as enjoyable to use as it should be — laggy performance when using it in tablet mode. Whether you're going through the multitasking menu or dragging two apps to be used side-by-side, these actions are met with an absurd amount of jank and laggy animations.

Thankfully, a fix is in the works for this.

As spotted by Chrome Unboxed, a bug report in the Chromium Gerrit from November 8 shows that Google's been aware of this issue and working on a fix for it. Per the report:

A lot of animation jank seems to be coming from the use of Mask Layers to create rounded corners. This combined with background blur adds a lot of additional steps in the paint/rendering pipeline.The performance (fps increase) and memory improvement (tiles don't get discarded and we actually see the content) is quite significant on Nocturne Celeron when rounded corners are removed.

Google's given this bug a priority rating of 1, meaning it's one of the top concerns for the Chrome OS team right now.

It's unclear when exactly a fix will be ready, but here's to hoping it arrives sooner rather than later.

Google Pixel Slate review: Pro tablet, mediocre laptop

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

8 Comments
  • Just a typical Google product buggy.
  • Too late, I bought an iPad pro after buying a slate seeing how crappy it was and returning it.
  • I was excited when I got my Google Nexus tablet in 2012. And it was a nice device... for a while. But after a year or two, every successive forced upgrade made the tablet less and less usable. I ended up buying a cheap 'RCA' tablet from Walmart that was maybe not up to the video level of the Nexus (though it looks fine, the lower resolution still is too tiny to see individual pixels) -- of course, for a price of 15 cents on the dollar I wouldn't expect it to be -- but over time it worked much better because it wasn't always updating itself into greater and greater instability and more and more turgid performance (though it has updated once or twice for security, thank you, 'RCA') -- as the auto-updating Google-branded Nexus sadlly did.
  • What's crazy is my $200 Acel R11 with Celeron N3150, 4GB RAM & 32GB eMMC runs ChromeOS perfectly fine, even the Overview mode. When I tried the $600 Pixel Slate with similar specs it felt MUCH slower with certain functions, like there was an issue with the graphics processing. While I agree the Nexus 2012 sucked after just a few months, I still use the 2013 version every day for news, email, casting & light gaming. It runs OK with the stock & ParanoidAndroid versions of Marshmallow 6.0.1, as well as LineageOS & Resurrection Remix versions of Nougat 7.1.2 (I may give one of the Oreo 8.1.0 ROMs a shot one day just for fun). However, my old work-provided 2014 iPad Air 2 still outperforms nearly any pre-2018 Android tablet or ChromeOS device for tablet-mode tasks.
  • So Android Central lied in their Pixel Slate review. Because I can remember Jerry saying there was no lag when mentioned other reviews that demonstrated this lag in their videos.
  • Who knows, maybe some tablets aren't affected. Although I do find that hard to believe myself. Regardless, this is sad that Google didn't get this right in the first place and even shipped a product with such a horrible glitch to it. I think it's just bizarre. That just shouldn't happen.
  • It's Google, every product they produce is in/a beta. It doesn't even matter because sites like AC continue to lie in their reviews just so Pixels become a "thing".
    AC's Pixel Slate review said it very good lag free bla bla...now they remember it has severe lag. Will they update that rubbish review? Never.
    AC's Pixel 3/3XL review: best phone ever produced, plus phone of the year. But according to Andrew Martonik the camera, which is "the best evah" is a sluggish, laggy mess. Will they ever update their review with this info. Nope.
    Software bugs abound in Google's Pixel line, despite Google software being hailed as the be-all-end-all, don't even get me started on shoddy hardware and abysmal quality control that makes buying a good Pixel device a lottery. Of course AC and other websites e.g Droid-life never ever seem to count these issues as negatives when reviewing Google products. Pixel 3/XL RAM management issues? Doesn't matter. Display issues? Doesn't matter. Terrible audio when recording video? Doesn't matter. Camera not saving some photos? Doesn't matter. I hardly ever read articles on this website anymore because they intentionally lie about or downplay issues and bugs that plague Google's devices.
  • I have the i5 version and can confirm I experience zero lag. Just about every negative review or comment I’ve seen regarding the performance of this device was written by someone with one of the cheap processors. Marques Brownlee orders the extreme base model then ******* about how it doesn’t compete with the iPad Pro. No kidding... I think the main mistake google made was even releasing the entry level models, because it just makes the entire line look bad.