Once, while my MacBook was being repaired, I took an iPad Pro and associated Apple keyboard on a work trip to Gothenburg. En route I unexpectedly had to put together a text-heavy piece of work and suddenly the tablet-plus-wireless keyboard combo became a little irksome. Not having a keyboard trackpad and cursor was frustrating and having to rely on the Apple Pencil for marking out text and moving it around, while not impossible, was irritating and slow.
Google’s new Pixel Slate with its optional keyboard is not the most glamorous of road-warrior kit: it’s thicker and heavier than the latest iPad Pro and lacks the iPad’s top-of-class processing speed. Yet as a workaday hybrid laptop equivalent (ultra-tablet as they are sometimes called), it’s superior. Much of the advantage lies in the terrific keyboard, with a trackpad controlling a cursor and proper clicky keys that are lighted, which always makes me, er, delighted. There are also two USB-C ports, a fingerprint scanner and the benefit of Google Assistant, which is more agile than Siri. Non-Apple, non-Windows tablets normally suffer from having Android as the operating system, but the Pixel Slate has Chrome OS, which is more PC-like and supports Google Play, allowing you access to Android apps. The Pixel Slate is not a full PC, but it’s still more flexible and serious-work-friendly than an iPad. Do opt for the Intel Core versions, though. Functionality is noticeably snappier.