The oft-maligned Pixel Slate is an odd Chromebook. It is equal parts awesome and frustrating, but much of that consternation comes from the price point Google opted for at its launch. With the Core m3 model coming in at $800 for just the tablet and the Core i5 model starting at $1000, it was a very, very tough sell to recommend a premium Chromebook that wasn’t great at being a tablet or a laptop.
I’ve held to that opinion over the year and a half that the Pixel Slate has been around, largely panning it as an expensive flop that not many people should purchase. Many users, however, have firmly disagreed with me on this and have voiced their opinions quite clearly in comments, emails and on social media and I respect those opinions. For some of you out there, a large tablet is what you are after and if it is an OK Chromebook as well, then that’s just a bonus.
As time has passed, Chrome OS has become far better on the tablet side of things, making me wish the Pixel Slate could have launched closer to this point in the Chrome OS story. If the software experience was better, perhaps my thoughts on this expensive tablet would have been a tad different. Either way, that wasn’t the case at launch and I fear that a solid piece of hardware was simply released at the wrong time at the wrong price and it was just set up for failure.
Things have changed a lot since that launch, though, and one of the biggest shifts has been the drastic price reductions we’ve seen on the Pixel Slate. We saw the biggest, permanent shift happen in March of 2020 when Google dropped the prices across all models by a few hundred dollars. At first, they offered up this drastic price cut alongside a free pen and/or keyboard. The deals fluctuated, but they were solid and worth a look. As time wore on, though, the free pen or keyboard started falling off here and there to the point where now we only get the free pen when ordering a Slate from Google’s own store.
Today, however, it seems that Best Buy snagged a fresh shipment of keyboards and is now selling the Pixel Slate along with the Google Keyboard for only $499. That’s the same sale price we saw months ago, but it seems to be back in play again. For your $499, you are getting the Core m3 Pixel Slate with 8GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The pen is not included in this bundle, so you’ll have to spend an additional $100 on that if you need a writing utensil.
This device is essentially the same baseboard as the Pixelbook Go and for the Core m3 variant of that device, you’re looking at $649. For $150 less, you get a tablet/detachable, pen support, and a better screen. While I don’t love the trade-off of a compromised laptop for, you know, actually working from your lap, this device does everything else really well. It also has the best camera setup in a Chromebook at this point, so there’s that to consider, too. At this price at this point in the narrative, it’s nice to be able to recommend this Google-made Chromebook even if it took a little while to get here. There’s no way to know how many of these bundles Best Buy actually has, so you may want to act fast if the Slate is something you’ve had an eye on.