Tech

Google Pixel Slate hands-on: Chrome OS built to take on the Surface

Google Pixel Slate hands-on: Chrome OS built to take on the Surface

There's a Snapdragon 845, 4GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of storage, a 12.2MP dual-pixel single camera, dual front firing speakers (40% louder than last year), Active Edge squeeze sensors, dual front-facing cameras (the second is a wide angle sensor), a Titan security chip, wireless charging, and three colors: Clearly White, Just Black, and Not Pink. It promises to pull out better music suggestions, too, and will come with six months of YouTube Premium too.

Google on Tuesday matched rivals Amazon Inc. and Facebook Inc. with a smart speaker that has a display to show visual responses to voice commands.

In terms of the concept of a smart home, the philosophical difference is apparent, especially when you put the Google Home Hub up against the competition.

The Pixels have barely made a dent in the market since their debut two years ago, but Google is hoping to change that with the latest models unveiled Tuesday at an event in NY. We liked it but were struck by its limited functions.

Well, we just dug out the dusty box, plugged it in, updated it, and waited to see how much had changed. The detachable keyboard and Pixelbook Pen also make it a direct competitor to the Microsoft Surface and Apple's iPad Pro.

More news: Dettori repeats Arc de Triomphe success on flying Enable

With a new data breach being reported nearly every day, security is an important feature.

"We want to give people choices", says Ivy Ross, Google's VP of Hardware Design. Duplex, which we first saw demoed in May at Google I/O, pretends to be an actual human assistant to book you restaurant reservations and hair salon appointments. It has been created to blend in with your home - the screen automatically adjusts to the level and type of light in the room. It piggybacks on the Nest ecosystem to work with all Nest devices, as well as other smart-home products that are part of the "works with Nest" program.

In short, it looks like a very useful product that pulls together a series of useful functions and strengthens Google's position in what is a rapidly growing market. The software, launching in the United States only, answers phone calls, requests information about the nature of the call and shares it as text with the recipient. You get to choose from either 64GB or 128GB of storage with no support for storage expansion. This means you can now use your Pixel and Google Assistant to make calls for you to local establishments, at least in the United States that is. But if you are willing to accept that proposition, it is less obnoxious than the alternatives.

A lot of fuss has been made about Android and the customization that companies like Samsung make to it. If you want the happy accident, that's fine. Depending on who you ask, it's either a flaw or a feature. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google was aware of the issue since it was fixed in March, yet neglected to disclose the bug due to concerns over increased scrutiny. Increasingly, it seems likely that whatever company gets an initial foothold in your home, that will drive future purchasing decisions. Google has equipped the Pixel 3 with a 2915mAh battery, while the larger Pixel 3 XL comes with a 3450mAh battery. Google Lens is getting integrated directly into the camera of the Pixel 3 and boasts new features like being able to search for specific fashion accessories, which will certainly make Lens a more popular selling point on Android devices.

Verizon touted the camera's functionality, saying that thanks to new AI functionality, it can select the best shot from motion photos.


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