Google’s Pixel Slate tablet running on Chrome OS is now available to pre-order online from a number of retailers, including the Google Store, Best Buy and Amazon with prices starting from just $599 in the US. This marks a significant change in status for the Chrome OS-powered device considering up until now there had been no information on when pre-orders would start let alone when the device would go on general sale. For those thinking of buying during the pre-order period, and in spite of Google not officially confirming a launch date so far, the Google Store currently states during the checkout process that Pixel Slate pre-orders will ship “in 2 - 3 weeks,” while the Best Buy listing is a little more authoritative on the topic stating those who pre-order can expect to receive theirs by the release date - Thursday November 22. Amazon's pre-order page currently doesn't specify a date although with the Google Store and Best Buy dates tallying as they do it should be assumed November 22 will be the date when the Pixel Slate ships out from all three retailers.
Background: The Pixel Slate is one of the new made by Google products that the company announced during its hardware event back in October. However, unlike the new Google Pixel 3 phones, the Home Hub, and pretty much every other device Google announced at the time, the Pixel Slate has yet to hit the market or even have an official launch date announced by the company. One of the reasons that had previously been suggested for the delay was the suspected absence of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) certification at the time of launch. Presumably, with pre-orders having now gone live at multiple places, that seems unlikely to still be an issue.
As for the actual device, this is the latest device to come from Google running on Chrome OS although unlike previous Chromebook options from the company, such as the Pixelbook, the Pixel Slate is in effect - a tablet. As this is a device which primarily comes in just a display form with the option for it to connect to and work with an attachable keyboard when needed. Making it the first detachable Chrome OS device from Google, and a follow on to the Chromebook Tab 10 from Acer - the first tablet powered by Chrome OS in general.
Besides its more portable design, the Pixel Slate also features a 12.3-inch “Molecular Display” along with a 3000 x 2000 resolution, and the option to use the display with the company’s own stylus solution, the Pixel Pen - which sells separately at a cost of $99 in the US. Other main selling points include a fingerprint sensor for safer and quicker unlocking, automatic updates, and a wide-angle lens for video chatting. This is all in addition to a battery that’s rated to last up to twelve hours on a single charge, with a 15-minute quick charge understood to result in an additional two hours of usage when needed. In terms of the main performance specs, this is a customizable device with users able to choose from varying levels of RAM, storage and the type of processor, which in turn impacts on the purchase cost.
Impact: While there’s still technically no official confirmation from Google on the launch of the Pixel Slate, this is still good news for those who want to place an order as soon as possible with a view to being one of the first to get their hands on the new device when it becomes available. What’s more, the coinciding between the expected ship dates from Best Buy and the Google Store do highly suggest early buyers will not need to wait much longer than November 22. For those less interested in pre-ordering, it could also be assumed the same November 22 date will be when interested parties can pop into their local Best Buy store and get hands-on with the device to see if it's right for them. As for those who do intent to pre-order, it’s worth noting that not only has the pre-order listing gone live but all of the main models seem to be available to order. For example, one of the cheaper versions costs $799 in the US and comes equipped with a Intel Core m3 processor along with 8GB RAM and 64GB storage. For $999 buyers can opt for an Intel Core i5 model along with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. While those looking for the best in class option can choose the Intel Core i7 model which comes with 16GB RAM and 256GB storage at a cost of $1,599. Of course, all of these prices are just for the tablet portion as in addition to the Pixel Pen which costs an additional $99, the keyboard designed to work with the Pixel Slate sells in the US for $199 on its own. Though neither accessory are needed to use the Pixel Slate, and if wanted can be picked up at a later date.
It’s also worth noting that that the cheapest version here is not the cheapest version in general as the Pixel Slate can be picked up in a baseline form with 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, and powered by an Intel Celeron processor for just $599. Although that model does not seem to be as readily available to pre-order at the moment with only the Google Store showing availability as of right now. Whether that continues to be the case going forward remains to be seen although it's interesting neither Amazon or Best Buy are even listing the cheapest option. In either case, this does mean that those interested in pre-ordering soon may find they are limited in terms of where they can pre-order from depending on the model they are after. Another area of concern will likely be the shipping as while the Google Store is currently showing the greatest variety of options to choose from, it’s not necessarily known for fast shipping. Therefore, those who do want to get their hands on the Pixel Slate as soon as possible may want to opt for a purchase form either Amazon or Best Buy.