There’s nothing new about tablet/laptop 2-in-1s. Tech giants Microsoft, Lenovo, HP, and countless others have been taking their own stabs at the 2-in-1 trend that has been growing rapidly. Laptops are now laptops that can be also be tablets. Tablets are now tablets with computer-esq qualities built-in. That, or they come with an attachable keyboard and hope to be called a laptop once you snap it on. What’s different, though, is which tablets can be good laptops. Which ones can fulfill both duties well enough to live up to the 2-in-1 name? Since hybrids are clearly what consumers are continuing to want (it seems as though everything has changed since the oh-so repetitive Microsoft Surface commercials first came out), I don’t think there’s any going back. It’s become the norm for even smartphones to have more expertise, thinning the line between what defines a smartphone, tablet, laptop, and desktop (quality). So who's next in line, and just how thin is their line separating one functioning device from the other?
The answer is Google (big surprise). The company’s very own Pixel C is a convertible tablet, one Google is calling a “response to the iPad Pro”, and “a sister to the Chromebook Pixel” (although it’s not Chrome-based). Google’s 10.2-inch tablet runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, making it a “100 percent Google product” without the help of any hardware partner. Ironically, it’s design doesn’t much hint at Google branding, except for that one light bar on the back that glows Google’s logo colors.
Weighing in at a hefty 2 pounds or so, the aluminum-bodied Google Pixel C sports an incredible 2560 x 1800 LCD display, which at 308ppi, beats both the Surface Pro and iPad’s (estimated) 265ppi. Unfortunately, as far as the quality of the touchscreen itself, Google might have dropped the ball. Ars Technica reports several cases of the device’s touchscreen not registering. Nothing is more annoying than your taps going unnoticed. The Pixel C tablet can function as a smartphone, and display only one app at a time. In either of those situations, though, you’ll be dealing with a stretched out, 10-inch version of each interface. The fact that Google went with an almost outdated version of Android for its tablet is beyond everybody.
As far as the keyboard attachment, it (dun-dun-dun) costs an extra $150 dollars. This 5.5mm keyboard attaches to the body of the tablet via magnets, and when in laptop-mode, make for a cute little 10-inch laptop. One thing it won’t do is fancy alternation tricks like other 180-degree hybrids because the magnets only connect in one place. Other features include an 8MP camera, an Nvidia Tegra X1 SoC, Maxwell-based GPU, and a competitor-beating 9,000mAh battery. This base model runs for $500 (plus $150 for that keyboard), and comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (Computer World).
It’s obvious that you could get some good screen time out of the Pixel C, thanks to its high ppi and battery life. It won’t impress when it comes to software multi-tasking and productivity, as Google has some serious recalibrating to do. Take into account the touchscreen issue, but you should still be able to play some Android games without too many hiccups. All in all, this isn’t one of those tablet-to-laptops that could replace your laptop. If you asked me, I’d like to think of the Pixel C as a tablet that has the option of whipping out a keyboard if I wanted to answer a quick email. But for $650, I’d rather just use my laptop.
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