When Google unveiled the Pixel Slate last month, I was quite excited. The new ChromeOS tablet was 7mm thick and weighed a mere 1.6 pounds, making it thinner and lighter than most other 12-inch tablets. While the Pixel Slate wasn’t really positioned as an extreme workhorse or a gaming powerhouse, Google will be offering it with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7, sporting 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. That’s more than enough power to keep up with an intense workday or gaming session, but you’ll I’m not sure too many people will be buying that version since it’s priced at $1599. Most people will opt for the $599 model which is equipped with an 8th Gen Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The basic model should still be very capable, but nowhere near as powerful.
The Pixel Slate represents the perfect middle ground between an Android tablet and a full-featured Windows device, but with the introduction of the new Apple iPad Pro, it’ll likely go unnoticed. To start, the new 12.9-inch iPad is absolutely gorgeous. Surprisingly, Apple managed to finally shrink down the bezels around the display while still including a front-facing camera and the other sensors needed for Face-ID. On top of that, you get a higher resolution camera on the back that can record 4K video at 60fps (Pixel Slate is limited to 1080p at 30fps), 512GB and 1TB high-capacity storage options (the Slate only goes up to 256GB) and support for Bluetooth 5.0. Naturally, at $999, the base model of the iPad Pro does cost more than the Pixel Slate, but the Apple A12X Bionic chip inside Apple’s tablet is faster than “92% of portable PCs.” While we would never blindly take Apple at its word, new iPad Pro Geekbench scores show that the tablet is just as fast as a 2018 Mac Book Pro running a 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7.
If we look at the number, a 2018 iPad Pro with 256GB of storage which costs $1149 offers the same (if not better) performance as the $1,599 Pixel Slate at a fraction of the cost. Now we all know that Google’s hardware products have never been positioned at being budget-friendly, but I never thought that it would lose to Apple on pricing by a 28% margin.
To be fair, the Pixel Slate’s 48 WHr battery is significantly larger than the 36.71 WHr cell inside the iPad Pro. Google’s tablet also features two USB-C posts and front-facing stereo speakers which should deliver much better audio than Apple’s new tablet and the 16GB of RAM you get with the $1599 Pixel Slate is likely a lot more than what Apple will include in the 2018 iPad Pro. But in my book, the new iPad Pro still has the advantage – mainly because it has a broad selection of apps which have been developed to work flawlessly on its 12.9-inch display. Sure, the Pixel Slate can run thousands of Android apps that can be downloaded through Google Play, but it’s still hard to find more than a few apps which truly take advantage of a larger display. On the other side, you have the iPad Pro which can run the new full version of Adobe Photoshop which can edit a 3GB PSD file without a hitch, Adobe Premier Rush (this one is coming to Android sometime in 2019) and the dozens of music editing apps available for iOS.
Apple has simply built a much better tablet ecosystem than Google.
It’s hard to say how well the Pixel Slate will perform. Google will likely push its new tablet with a huge marketing campaign, positioning it as an alternative to Microsoft’s Surface and Apple’s new iPad. I don’t think the Pixel Slate will be a complete flop, but it’ll definitely look that way when Apple announced millions of iPad Pro sales before the end of the year.