Google this year released its first flagship Chrome OS tablet, the Pixel Slate. This device was meant to usher in a new period of Chrome OS being used on tablets and highlight the capabilities of Google’s new tablet ecosystem. Instead, much attention and digital ink was spilt on the performance of the tablet – the base model most of all.
Reviewers found that it would lag in the overview mode (Chrome OS’s task view equivalent.)
YouTuber MKBHD pointed this out in his kinda-sorta review, noting the lag was so bad he could barely use the thing
A Google engineer notes in the bug tracker that this wasn’t a hardware issue, but a software issue based on a few things:
A lot of animation jank seems to be coming from the use of Mask Layers to create rounded corners. This combined with background blur adds a lot of additional steps in the paint/rendering pipeline.
The performance (fps increase) and memory improvement (tiles dont get discarded and we actually see the content) is quite significant on Nocturne Celeron when rounded corners are removed.
The first issue is the Chrome OS redesign which introduced rounded corners to the operating system. Combined with background blur ( a setting Google keeps disabled and hidden behind a flag on most Chromebooks), the system slows down. Of course, that’s not enough to slow down a Celeron system. The other culprit is Google’s GPU memory limit, imposed in software ad exacerbated by the large resolution of the device.
As this is ultimately a software issue, it can br fixed by a software update, and Google is already working on it. For now, if you were considering one of these, you probably should hold off until the issue is fixed rather than relying on future updates.