Google Pixel Slate vs. Pixelbook: Which Should You Buy?

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Google's just-released Pixel Slate is the company's first attempt at a detachable laptop, and somewhat of a leap from the Pixelbook. Now that our review for the Pixel Slate is finally here, and we've stacked Google's newest detachable against the more traditional Pixelbook, which currently our best Chromebook for business.

Pixelbook_v_Pixel-Slate_COV

Here's how Google's two Chrome OS devices compare.

Google Pixel Slate vs. Pixelbook: Specs Compared

  Google Pixel Slate Google Pixelbook
Price  $599-$1,599

$999-$1,649

Accessories Pixel Slate Keyboard ($199), Pixelbook Pen ($99)  $99 Pixelbook Pen
Display  12.3-inch, 3000 x 2000 pixels 12.3-inch, 2400 x 1600 pixels
CPU 8th Gen Intel Celeron, Core m3, i5, i7 7th Gen Intel Core i5, i7
RAM 4GB, 8GB, 16GB 8GB, 16GB
Storage 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Ports Two USB Type-C Two USB Type-C, headphone jack 
Colors Midnight Blue Silver
Size 11.5 x 8 x 0.3 inches 11.4 x 8.7 x 0.4 inches
Weight

1.6 pounds

2.5 pounds

 

Design

Google's Pixel Slate and Pixelbook both come in a single color, but the Pixel Slate stands out from the Pixelbook's traditional Silver with its gorgeous Midnight Blue scheme.

pixel slate design

Despite the Pixel Slate technically being a tablet, its clean back looks sleek compared to the awkward two-tone design of the Pixelbook. And if you get the Pixel Slate Keyboard, a soft polyurethane cover will protect the exterior and comfort your precious fingers.

google-pixelbook

We thought that the Pixelbook was quite stylish in our review, but I'm not a fan of the multiple shades of white in the interior, especially because it makes the keyboard look out of place. It's hard to miss the bezels on the display, and the silicon palm rests look a little awkward.

The Pixel Slate sports slimmer bezels, and the Pixel Slate Keyboard features a simple, dark-blue shade with keys that form a cute, circular shape.

The Pixel Slate and Pixelbook both have sturdy aluminum chassis and are similar in size. The Pixel Slate weighs in at 1.6 pounds (2.9 pounds with Pixel Slate Keyboard) and measures 11.5 x 8 x 0.3 (0.6 with Pixel Slate Keyboard) inches. The Pixelbook is technically lighter and thinner, at 2.5 pounds and 11.4 x 8.7 x 0.4 inches, when comparing the two devices as clamshells.

Winner: Pixel Slate

Ports

The Pixel Slate and Pixelbook both skimp on ports (two USB Type-C connections), but the Pixel Slate commits the ultimate sin and ditches the headphone jack. You might want to keep that 3.5mm to USB-C handy if you plan on getting a Pixel Slate.

Winner: Pixelbook

Display

Right out of the gate, the Pixel Slate ramps up its resolution to 3000 x 2000 and sticks it to the Pixelbook's 2400 x 1600.

pixel slate display

When I watched the trailer for Pokemon Detective Pikachu, the titular character’s fur was slightly sharper on the Pixel Slate than the Pixelbook, and the color in Pikachu’s red cheeks was bold on both laptops. However, the alleyways of Ryme City looked more vibrant on the Pixelbook’s panel.

MORE: Best and Worst Laptop Brands

On our tests, the Pixel Slate’s 12.3-inch panel produced 120 percent of the sRGB color spectrum, while the Pixelbook’s 12.3-inch display covered 117 percent. Despite its advantage in color, the Pixelbook crushed it on brightness, emitting a solid 421 nits, whereas the Pixel Slate averaged 337 nits.

The Pixel Slate has slimmer bezels, a sharper display and slightly more vivid colors, but the Pixelbook is so much brighter that it catches up to the Pixel Slate.

Winner: Draw

Keyboard and Pen

The Pixel Slate's keyboard was quite springy to type on despite being completely flat, but it can take some time to get used to due to its round keys. Its 1.1 millimeter key travel also beats the the Pixelbook's 0.9 millimeters during our hands-on time. The Pixelbook does have a pair of silicon palm rests, which makes typing that much more comfortable. And while the Pixel Slate’s palm rests aren’t silicon, they’re equally as comfortable.

pixel slate keyboard

The good news about the stylus is that it has not changed, so the Pixelbook Pen ($99) is compatible with both the Pixelbook and the Pixel Slate. And the bad news is … well, it hasn't changed, so there aren't any improvements made upon the original. We would have liked to see the pressure sensitivity jump from 2,048 to 4,096, like on other competing pens. However, the pen does now come in Midnight Blue.

Winner: Pixel Slate

Performance

Despite sporting the latest-generation processor, the Pixel Slate’s Intel Core i5-8200Y CPU runs at nearly the same pace as the Pixelbook’s Core i5-7Y57 CPU.

pixelbook performance

On the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, the Pixel Slate scored 8,071, narrowly surpassing the Pixelbook’s 7,927.

The Pixel Slate scored 146.84 on the JetStream test for Javascript performance, whereas the Pixelbook (during our retest) earned a 128.66.

Both the Pixel Slate and Pixelbook displayed 5,000 fish on the WebGL Aquarium simulation at around 28 frames per second.

Winner: Pixel Slate

Battery Life

The Pixelbook lasted only 7 hours and 42 minutes on our Laptop Mag battery test, which was a bit concerning considering that Google rates it for 10 hours -- the same battery life that it claims the Pixel Slate has. Despite that, the Pixel Slate nailed 9 hours and 51 minutes on the same test, coming much closer to Google's claims.

Winner: Pixel Slate

Value

Regarding value, the Pixel Slate and Pixelbook are fairly evenly matched, but the Pixel Slate has more configurations.

google-pixelbook-display

The Pixel Slate starts as a mainstream laptop at $599, but the Pixelbook jumps right into premium at $999, which is wide gap for a starting price. The Pixelbook's base configuration comes with an 7th Gen Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD for $999, and the Pixel Slate has the same configuration for the same price with the exception of an 8th Gen CPU. The catch is, of course, that you have to pay $199 for the keyboard.

If you're comparing them as clamshells, you're technically paying $199 to jump from the Pixelbook's 7th Gen CPU to the Pixel Slate's 8th Gen processor, which is well worth the processing power. You should also consider the jump in resolution as well, from the Pixelbook's 2400 x 1600 to the Pixel Slate's 3000 x 2000.

MORE: Best Laptops Under $500

While the Pixelbook supports up to a 512GB SSD, the Pixel Slate has lower-tier components at lower prices, such as a Celeron and Core m3 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 32GB to 64GB SSDs.

Winner: Pixel Slate

Overall Winner: Google Pixel Slate

While the Pixel Slate and the Pixelbook run a tight race, the Pixel Slate offers a sharper display, longer battery life, better value for its components and a really neat keyboard (if you're willing to pay extra for it).

  Google Pixel Slate Google Pixelbook
Design (10) 8 5
Ports (10) 5 6
Display (15) 12 12
Keyboard/Pen (15) 12 11
Performance (20) 14 13
Battery Life (20) 16 14
Value (10) 6 5
Overall (100) 73 66

On the other hand, the Pixelbook already comes with a keyboard (with silicon palm rests) and has a configuration with a beefier 512GB SSD. Plus, the overall performance on both laptops are so similar that you’re not losing anything if you’re going with the Pixelbook.

On top of the Pixel Slate’s comfort and performance advantages, it also looks a lot better and functions well as a detachable, making it a more versatile version of Google's Chromebook.

 Credit: Laptop Mag 

 

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