Hardware and build quality
The Pixel Slate's software is ultimately what will make or break this device, but I can say that, from a pure hardware perspective, there's a lot to like here. The Slate features an excellent display and speakers, a solid typing experience and powerful internals (Intel i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage). Getting all of that in such a small, light package makes this close to my ideal travel computer. I was surprised to learn that the Slate and its keyboard are actually thicker and heavier than the Pixelbook, because it somehow feels even more portable. It's not the engineering marvel that the new iPad Pro is, but it's still a very impressive package.
As a tablet
Since Google isn't including the keyboard folio with the Pixel Slate, it's worth considering the device strictly as a tablet. As with all tablets, the discussion largely begins and ends with screen quality, and the Pixel Slate has that in spades. The 12.3-inch, 3,000 x 2,000 LCD looks fantastic. No, it doesn't have the rounded corners you'll find on the new iPad Pro, but it's sharp, extremely bright and all-around pleasant to look at.
Google's whole pitch for the Pixel Slate is that it's equally suited for work and play -- and if you want something to kick back to watch movies or play games on, the Pixel Slate will indeed deliver. The combo of the front-firing speakers and excellent screen make it a great, if expensive, option for Netflix binges. Game performance, on the other hand, was a mixed bag. That's likely due to some Android games not being optimized for a Chrome device or the x86 architecture powering this device -- but it was still a bummer. My go-to Alto's Odyssey dropped frames far more than I'd expect on such a powerful device, and Rayman Adventures is completely broken. But Google-recommended games like Asphalt 9 and Don't Starve performed without hiccups.
Google has done a lot of work to make the Chrome OS UI work better on tablets here. When there's no keyboard attached, it shows an almost iPad-like grid of all installed apps, and you can't "close" out of apps the way you do when in desktop mode. Instead, you hit the home button in the lower left to get out of whatever you're running. There's also a multitasking button in the lower right that lets you run two apps at once side by side.
It works, but I didn't find myself needing split view when just using the Slate as a tablet very often. Mostly I was doing things that required singular focus, like watching a movie, playing a game, drawing and so on. The rest of the time, I was browsing the web and jumping between lightweight apps like Todoist, Keep and Android Messages. Though sometimes having a Chrome window open next to a Keep note or to-do list was handy.