HP Chromebook x2 11 vs Pixel Slate: Which should you buy?
Design and display
Starting off with design and build, these tablets are different in a number of ways. First, the HP Chromebook x2 11 is considerably heavier than the Pixel Slate, according to the specs sheets. This is something to take note of, especially since the Pixel Slate actually has a slightly larger screen. Both tablets are similarly thin and compact, but the extra pound of weight would certainly be substantial when considering portability. Keep in mind the Pixel Slate weighs nearly 2.9 lbs if you add the optional detachable keyboard.
One thing to mention here is we don’t know if HP is including the Chromebook x2 11’s keyboard in their weight calculation. This would mean the true weight of the device as a tablet could be considerably closer to the Pixel Slate. This is something we’ll test and update when we review the HP Chromebook x2 11 ourselves. The Pixel Slate also has an optional detachable keyboard, which must be bought separately. The inclusion of the detachable keyboard in the base price is a definite win for the HP Chromebook x2 11.
Both tablets are made of metal and quite durable. The Pixel Slate is constructed from magnesium alloy while the HP Chromebook x2 11 is made from an aluminum alloy. Both of these tablets also support pen input. The Pixel Slate requires the optional Pixelbook Pen, bought separately. The HP Chromebook x2 11 supports the USI pen standard, and actually includes a pen that attaches magnetically to the tablet.
Another key similarity is the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner on both devices. This is refreshing to see as many high-end Chromebooks leave off biometric security options that improve user experience.
As for the displays, you get a high-resolution panel on both of these Chrome tablets. However, the Pixel slate is the winner in overall ppi with its 3000 x 2000 Molecular Display. The display on the Pixel Slate doesn’t have the best color accuracy though, so we’ll need to see how the Chromebook x2 11 compares there when we review it. Either way, you’re getting an above-average panel with solid brightness from both of these devices.
Keyboard and pen support
As mentioned earlier, the keyboard and pen on the Pixel Slate are completely optional add-ons. The HP Chromebook x2 11 includes both the detachable keyboard as well as the magnetically attached USI pen. With the Pixel Slate, you’re going to spend an additional $300 just to enjoy keyboard and pen support on the device. This is the biggest consideration right now if you need to use your Chrome tablet for work and need a keyboard or pen input.
When it comes to keyboard quality, much is still unknown about the HP Chromebook x2 11. The initial reviews of the Pixel Slate keyboard were favorable, although the Slate did have a lot of buggy Bluetooth issues. Still, the Pixel Slate does offer a keyboard with multiple typing orientations and a comfortable layout. The Chromebook x2 11 keyboard layout looks nice, but we can’t say for sure it will be comparable until we test it out.
Performance and battery
If you’re looking for the performance winner on paper, that’s the HP Chromebook x2 11 quite handily. Although we don’t know much about real-world performance just yet, the newer processors in HP’s tablet will handily outscore the Pixel Slate in benchmarks.
One thing we know for sure, the Pixel Slate has its own share of performance hiccups. Playing high-end Android games like PUBG or Asphalt 9 is very difficult on the Slate. Multi-tasking can also be difficult on the Slate if you want to use multiple Linux apps or run demanding programs for photo or video editing in Chrome OS.
It seems likely the HP Chromebook x2 11 will take the crown in overall performance on paper and in practice, something we can and will test in our review.
In theory, both devices get similar battery ratings from their respective OEMs. The Pixel Slate reviews indicate the Google tablet gets about 7-8 hours of real world use, compared to the 12 hours claimed on the spec sheet. This is fairly common to see and we would typically expect similar battery life from HP Chromebook x2 11. One thing that might improve battery life however, is the Snapdragon 7c processor inside the Chromebook x2 11. If HP optimized the tablet to take advantage of the 7c’s capabilities, we could see significantly improved battery life.
Cameras and audio
Over the course of the last 18 months, video calling rose to prominence thanks to the ongoing pandemic. Most Chromebooks still have mediocre 720p webcams and don’t feature a rear camera at all.
Camera quality is an outstanding feature on both of these tablets. Both the HP Chromebook x2 11 and Pixel Slate feature FHD+ resolution cameras on both the front and back. The Pixel Slate includes an 8 MP camera on both front and back, while the HP Chromebook x2 11 features a 5 MP front camera and 8MP wide-vision rear camera. In the age of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet, these cameras are a big deal.
The Pixel Slate has some of the better speakers you can find on any Chrome OS device. At launch, the audio quality was one of the key appeals for Google’s tablet. The HP Chromebook x2 11 has dual speakers tuned by Bang and Olufsen, so this tablet should also perform admirably when it comes to audio.
While both devices have pros and cons, in 2021 the HP Chromebook x2 11 has too many features missing from the Pixel Slate. Not only do you get newer Intel processors inside, you also get an included detachable keyboard, USI pen, and longer Chrome OS support timeline. The HP Chromebook x2 11 looks poised to be one of the best Chromebooks of 2021.
The inclusion of the USI pen and detachable keyboard is really the largest selling point for me. If you buy a similar package with the Pixel Slate, it’s going to cost nearly $300 more just for those accessories. Paying that extra price for older hardware isn’t worth it, even if the device has the Google logo on it.