Pixel Slate: How-Tos, Tips And Tricks

Published by Lamin Kanteh on

pixel slate black dude

Google’s Pixel Slate is the company’s first serious professional-grade tablet/detachable contender against both Apple’s iPad and Microsoft’s Surface line of devices.

With a spec sheet that ranges from the Intel Celeron configuration all the way to the i7 variant coupled with 16 GB of RAM (of which you can find a comparison here), the hybrid device from Google is the latest in the line of high-end Chrome OS-powered hardware meant to cater for any possible use-case you can think of.

The Pixel Slate features Google’s Chrome OS operating system with a tablet UI that’s tweaked for better performance with touch-based inputs while maintaining its integrity as a full-blown desktop platform.

If you happen to own a Pixel Slate, here is a list of tricks, tips and how-tos to help you stay productive while getting more out of your device.

Get More Done With an Attached Keyboard

A keyboard accessory specifically designed for the Pixel Slate is available but sold separately. Getting one for your device though is highly recommended especially if you’re considering it as your next daily driver.

The keyboard in question uses a full-size design that makes it quite comfortable to use with a reasonably-sized trackpad to match. To help you type better in a darkened room or surrounding, the keyboard has a backlight feature as well as ultra-quiet hush keys.

Using some really powerful magnets, the Pixel Slate’s keyboard holds the tablet perfectly in place;  and these magnets let you attach your device in a snap and adjust the tablet’s angle to basically any position you want.

The Pen is Great

There’s no mistaking that the Pixel Slate was built with professionals in mind. That being said, additional accessories like the pen should match the natural feel and touch of an actual painting brush and according to acclaimed illustrators in the graphics industry, they do.

While using the Slate as your canvas, you can tell the pen to morph into several configurations like shading and the type of brush that best suits what you’re designing,

The pen isn’t only meant for a designer, everyday users can also greatly benefit from it. For example, you can quickly take notes from a locked Pixel Slate device using the pen.

To create a note, use the pen to tap on the note icon on the top right corner of the device to open the note-taking.

Alternatively, you can click on the stylus tools located on the taskbar — provided your device is unlocked — then click “Create Note” to get started on a new note.

Maximize Your Productivity with Android Apps

The addition of Android Apps to the Chrome operating system has given a significant boost to the platform’s overall appeal. Now, you can install your favorite Android apps and it’s enabled by default.

Getting an app requires a few simple taps. First head over to the Play Store by clicking on the app icon, search for your favourite app and click install.

When the download is complete, the app should appear on the list of apps in the app menu.

How to Use The Touch Screen On The Pixel Slate

The Pixel Slate is the largest tablet within Google’s “Made By Google” list of devices with a 12.3-inch screen and 3000 x 2000 display resolution, the device offers a huge display real-estate.

Since the Pixel Slate is a  tablet first, there is so much you can do with with the touch-screen and here are few tips.

  • Press and Hold to Right Click
  • Swipe to browse
  • Pinch to Zoom
  • Move to Reposition

Connect Your Pixel Slate to a Monitor or TV

If you crave for a bigger display while using a Pixel Slate, the device offers an option to hook it up to a tv or monitor. To get started, you will need a USB-C adapter cable and tv or monitor with an HDMI, Display, VGA, or DVI port.

  • Connect the adapter end of the cable into the tv or monitor a USB-C end of the cable to one of the ports on your Pixel Slate.
  • While using your device in Tablet Mode without any accessory like keyboard and mouse connected, the display will mirror your device’s screen
  • On the other hand, if you have a pointing device or keyboard connected to your Pixel Slate, the tv or monitor can become a part of your workstation allowing you to do more in less time.

Find and Manage Files on Your Device

Managing and finding files stored on your Pixel Slate is the same it is on any other Chrome-powered device. Open the files app from your Home Screen by clicking on the Launcher and then the tiny up arrow above the search bar.

Open the files app and on inside the app, the left-hand pane contains all your folders and all downloaded files sit inside the Download folder.

To open a file, first select the folder it is in, then click on the file you want to open. If you want to download a file (eg an image) from the internet, either long press or right click on the image and then click “Save Image As” to save. Rename the file and either save it in the downloads folder or Create a new folder to save it in.

How to Switch to a Pixel Slate From a Mac or Windows Computer

Switching from any platform to a Chrome device is really quite simple provided Chrome browser is your default portal to the internet and you are signed in with your Gmail account.

First, though you will want to make sure synchronization is turned on. Depending on the platform, click on profile on the top-right hand corner of the browser to see if sync is active.

If it is, then you are good and all your web apps, extensions, bookmarks, and search history will automatically show up on your Pixel Slate as soon as you log in.

It sync isn’t turn on, Click on turn on sync, and on the next window, click turn on. You might be prompted to type in your Gmail account password, do it and synchronize will switch on.

To make abandoning Windows or Mac a lot easier, download the Google Back up and Sync app on the device, log in with your Gmail account, set the directory, and in time, all your photos and documents will be safely backed up in the cloud.

Log into your Pixel Slate with the same account and your files, photos, bookmarks, and extensions should all show up in your newly set up Slate.

How to Use Instant Tethering

There are times when the available WiFI connection is either way too slow or not available at all. It is at times like this that instant tethering come in. To set up instant tethering with your Android phone, the requirements are:

  • An Android Phone with Version Nougat-MR1 or Above
  • The same Google account should be signed into both the Pixel Slate and said Android Phone
  • You Mobile Data plan must have tethering enabled
  • The phone’s Bluetooth must be turned on

Connect your phone to the Slate by heading to the Settings and scroll to the connected devices section of the settings. In the Android Phone sub section, select Set Up, you should be prompted to enter your password and then follow the steps to set up your phone.

After confirming the connection on your phone, whenever there isn’t an WIFI connection for your Pixel Slate, you get a notification that a data connection is available on your Android phone.

Just select connect everytime you want to use your phone’s mobile data to connect your Pixel Slate to the internet.

How to use The On-Screen Keyboard on the Pixel Slate

The Pixel Slate is sold as a tablet and you will need to pay more to get an official keyboard accessory.

But if your plan is to use the device only as a tablet, then you might want to familiarize yourself with the available on-screen keyboard.

In tablet mode, you can open the on-screen keyboard by simply tapping any text box either with your finger or the Pixel Slate pen.

If you open the keyboard with your finger, it will automatically default to text and you glide-type words without lifting your finger..

If you want to put space between your words, simply lift your finger and a space will be added automatically.

But, if you use the pen to open the keyboard, the default will be a writing pad and if you want to switch between the two, just tap the handwriting or keyboard icons atop the on-screen keyboard.

You can adjust the location of your on-screen keyboard by tapping the float icon and then hold the direction pad that appears at the bottom of the keyboard to move it anywhere on the screen.

How to Set Up and Use Fingerprint Security

If you want to add an extra layer of security on your Pixel Slate, you can by using Pixel Imprint.

To get started, head to Settings and then scroll down to People, and tap Screen Lock and Sign in.

You will be prompted to enter your password, after doing that, tap confirm.

Go to edit fingerprints and click Set-up and then Add Fingerprint. Use sensor located on the device’s power button. Follow the instruction prompted on the screen to complete your fingerprint setup.

When your fingerprint is confirmed, tap Done. You are allowed up to three different fingerprints per account.

Did we miss any important tips or did you find any of above mentioned tricks useful? Let us know in the comments.


Lamin Kanteh

I live, breath, and dream technology. I've only known myself to push the boundaries on what's possible in my mental scope in relation to technology. And having been a writer for the good part of the past three years (covering varying subjects on the major mobile platforms), No place has ever felt more like home than Chrome OS. And as you may know, Chrome OS is ushering us into a future of the unknown and I'm here to help in the process of easing the way into that future via ItsChromeOS.

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