Google Pixel Slate vs. Microsoft Surface Pro 6: Which Should You Buy?

  • MORE

With Pixel Slate finally launching in the Google store, it's time to see how the company’s newest detachable fares against our overall favorite, the Surface Pro 6. While they both run on completely different operating systems, which one is better at detaching and reattaching?

PixelSlate-vs-SurfacePro6-001

No, but seriously, here’s how the two premium 2-in-1s stack up.

Google Pixel Slate vs. Microsoft Surface Pro 6: Specs Compared

  Google Pixel Slate Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Price $599 $899
Colors  Midnight Blue Matte Black, Platinum
Accessories Pixel Slate Keyboard ($199), Pixelbook Pen ($99) Type Cover ($129), Surface Pen ($99)
Display 12.3-inch, 3000 x 2000 pixels 12.3-inch, 2736 x 1824 pixels
CPU 8th Gen Intel Celeron, Core m3, i5, i7 8th Gen Core i5, Quad-Core i7
RAM 4GB, 8GB, 16GB Up to 16GB
Storage 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB Up to 1TB SSD
Ports Two USB Type-C One USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, 3.5mm audio jack, Surface Connect, microSD card slot
Size 11.5 x 8 x 0.3 inches 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches
Weight 1.6 pounds 1.7 pounds

 

Design

The Pixel Slate and Surface Pro 6 both sport sleek aluminum chassis. The Pixel Slate is lathered in a gorgeous Midnight Blue, and the Surface Pro 6 comes with a choice of Matte Black or Platinum.

pixel slate design

The Pixel Slate Keyboard comes in Midnight Blue and features cute, circular keys that are designed to be quiet while typing. The exterior is surrounded by a soft polyurethane cover used to place the detachable in multiple positions.

Meanwhile, a majestic Alcantara fabric surrounds the Surface Pro 6's Type Cover keyboard that comes in Black, Platinum, Burgundy and Cobalt Blue. The Surface Pro 6 is not as versatile as the Pixel Slate in staying up straight, as it relies on a metal plate in the back. On the other hand, the Pixel Slate is forced to rely on the keyboard to stand up and the Surface Pro 6 also has full range of motion past its standing point.

Pixel Slate does have slimmer and more natural looking bezels than the Surface Pro 6.

surface-pro-6-sale

The Pixel Slate weighs 1.6 pounds (2.9 pounds with keyboard) and measures 11.5 x 8 x 0.3 (0.6 with keyboard) inches, while the Surface Pro 6 is just slightly lighter and thinner with its keyboard, at 1.7 pounds (2.4 pounds with keyboard) and 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 (0.53 with keyboard) inches.

Winner: Draw

Ports

The Pixel Slate and Surface Pro 6 both skimp on ports, but the Pixel Slate had the audacity to get rid of its headphone jack and only offer two USB Type-C connections. The Surface Pro 6 doesn’t have a USB Type-C, but it does have one USB 3.0 Type-A port, a Mini DisplayPort, a 3.5mm audio jack, a Surface Connect port and a microSD card slot.

Surface Pro 6 ports

Winner: Surface Pro 6

Display

While the Pixel Slate and Surface Pro 6 both rock 12.3-inch panels, the Slate outdoes the Pro with its 3000 x 2000 resolution compared to the Pro's 2736 x 1824 pixels.

 

Microsoft-Surface-Pro-6-014

When the titular character danced down the zombie-infested street in the trailer for Anna and the Apocalypse, her tie gleamed bold blue on both laptops. The clip looked a shade brighter on the Surface Pro 6, but sharper on the Pixel Slate. The Surface Pro 6 did a better job revealing the corners of the dark room that a bloodied Anna was chased through.

The Surface Pro 6 isn’t as sharp, but it sure is more colorful, covering 136 percent of the sRGB spectrum compared to the Pixel Slate's 120 percent. The Pro 6 also wins in terms of brightness, measuring 408 nits while the Pixel Slate averaged 337 nits.

MORE: 6 Reasons to Buy the Surface Pro 6 (and 2 Reasons to Skip It)

The Pixel Slate is slightly sharper with slimmer bezels, but it’s hard to beat all that extra color and brightness on the Surface Pro 6.

Winner: Surface Pro 6

Keyboard and Pen

Due to its round keys, the Pixel Slate Keyboard ($199) took some time to get used to. But despite its 1.1 millimeter key travel (we prefer at least 1.5mm), it was nice and bouncy when I typed on it. However, the Surface Pro's Type Cover ($129) is much cheaper and offers a meatier 1.3 mm of key travel. On top of that, its soft-touch Alcantara fabric palm rests felt infinitely better to type on.Microsoft-Surface-Pro-6

Unlike the Surface Pen ($99), which offers 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity along with tilt functionality for shading, the Pixelbook Pen ($99) features only 2,048 pressure levels. On top of that, the Surface Pen is outfitted with three customizable buttons, including an eraser button, whereas the Pixelbook Pen has just one. The Pixelbook Pen comes in Midnight Blue or White, while the Surface Pen offers more options with Black, Platinum, Burgundy and Cobalt Blue.

Winner: Surface Pro 6

Performance

Since we tested the Pixel Slate with an Intel Core i5-8200Y CPU, the Surface Pro 6 straight up kills it with an Intel Core i5-8250U processor, as it has double the amount of cores.

Microsoft-Surface-Pro-6-015

On the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, Surface Pro 6 scored 13,025, crushing the Pixel Slate's 8,071.

The Surface Pro 6 nailed 215.74 on the JetStream test for Javascript performance, beating the Pixel Slate’s 146.84.

We don’t have many benchmarks to compare the two due to their differing operating systems, but the Surface Pro 6 has a clear lead on performance due to its ramped up processor.

Winner: Surface Pro 6

Battery Life

The Pixel Slate lasted 9 hours and 51 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, while the Surface Pro 6 fell just slightly behind 9 hours and 20 minutes. While they're neck and neck in terms of endurance, you do get an extra half hour of battery life with the Pixel Slate

pixel slate 4

Winner: Pixel Slate

Operating System

With the Pixel Slate’s improved ChromeOS, you’ll get new features like Google’s on-screen keyboard accompanied by a squiggle icon that will enable a handwriting mode. While Windows 10 on the Surface Pro 6 also has the same features, the Pixel Slate’s conversion of text is even faster. Plus, ChromeOS has a much cleaner interface than Windows and it’s more secure, considering all you need to hold onto is your Google password.

MORE: Google's Pixel Slate Wants to Replace Your Laptop

However, Windows 10 offers more options for apps and software. There are better video and photo editing applications, a variety of web browsers to choose from, better file management and more gaming options (even with integrated graphics).

Overall, Windows 10 gives you more, and in this case more is better.

Winner: Surface Pro 6

Value

The Pixel Slate starts at $599, which is a much cheaper starting point than the minimum $899 you'll have to pay for the Surface Pro 6.

pixel slate display

This price gap can be attributed to each system's specs, as the Pixel Slate comes with an Intel Celeron CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD, while the Surface Pro 6 is armed with a much more powerful 8th Gen Core i5 U-Series CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. If you wanted the same specs on the Pixel Slate, it’d cost $999, but you’d be at a deficit in performance with a Y-series processor. So you immediately get more performance value from the Surface Pro 6.

The Surface Pro 6's souped-up configuration runs for $2,299 and upgrades you to a Core i7 U-series CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. The Pixel Slate caps at $1,599 with a Core i7 Y-series CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. The capped out price point is much higher on Microsoft's machine, but that’s due to the extra storage and quad-core processor. Even if you drop the Surface Pro 6 to 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, it’d be $1,499, which offers more value due to its better processor.

Microsoft-Surface-Pro-6-006

Let’s not forget that you have to pay for the accessories separately. The Surface, however, offers a much better deal. For one, the Surface Pro Type Cover is cheaper ($129) and more comfortable than the Pixel Slate Keyboard ($199). And while the Pixelbook Pen and Surface Pen both cost $99, you get more value from the Surface Pen due to its additional features.

In most cases, the Surface Pro 6 offers more valuable components for the price despite the Pixel Slate offering lower tier components.

Winner: Surface Pro 6

Overall Winner

Aside from its slightly better battery life, the Pixel Slate doesn’t even come close to the Surface Pro 6. After all, there's a reason we gave the Surface Pro 6 a 4.5 out of 5 with an Editor’s Choice Award and the Pixel Slate a modest 3.5. Microsoft's detachable has a better selection of ports, a slightly better display, more comfortable keyboard, a blazing fast CPU in comparison and better value for parts.

  Pixel Slate Surface Pro 6
Design (10) 8 8
Ports (10) 5 6
Display (15) 12 13
Keyboard/Pen (15) 12 14
Performance (15) 7 10
Battery Life (15) 11 10
Operating System (10) 5 8
Value (10) 5 6
Overall (10) 65 75

That’s not to say that the Pixel Slate should be completely off limits. As far as premium Chromebooks go, it’s still pretty solid due to its performance relative to other Chromebooks, incredibly sharp panel and a uniquely designed keyboard. It’s also the only detachable Chromebook you can get right now.

But overall, we recommend getting the Surface Pro 6, as it one-upped the Pixel Slate at every turn. Plus, Windows 10 is more robust than ChromeOS -- just saying.

Credit: Laptop Mag