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"A mysterious tablet with a glowing center. You've never seen this device before, and yet...there's something familiar about it."
— In-game description

The Sheikah Slate is a key item from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It is found by Link in the Shrine of Resurrection. A mysterious voice tells him that it will help him along his journey. The slate functions as a map, and is equipped with a scope feature for Link to view faraway parts of Hyrule. The Sheikah Slate also features a built in clock, as well a temperature meter. Each regional map is unveiled when Link activates a Sheikah Tower with the Slate.

Scope and pins

"View distant things and mark them with pins."
— In-game description

A Scope is featured in the Sheikah Slate which allows Link to investigate things from afar or drop pins on objects of interest. These pins shine with a shaft of light similar to beacons from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. They are only viewed via the scope, map, or mini-map. In addition to these five pins, Link can also edit them with different stamps to mark the location specific object such as a Treasure Chest or weapon. The yellow stamps do not show up when viewed through the scope and only appear on the map and mini-map.

Runes

Spoiler warning: Plot or ending details follow.

Main article: Rune

Link can use several Runes after having upgraded the slate from a Shrine's pedestal, upon completion of a related trial offered by a Sheikah Monk. When Link starts the game, the Sheikah Slate is damaged with its data corrupted and missing most of its Rune components. Link receives four Runes from the four Shrines located on the Great Plateau which includes the Remote Bomb, Magnesis, Stasis and Cryonis Runes. The Amiibo Rune can be activated after any one of these runes is obtained. One of the runes is a Camera, and the slate includes an album which holds up to 48 photos taken by the player. Photos of materials, creatures, and treasure are cataloged them into the Hyrule Compendium. Purah at the Hateno Ancient Tech Lab can upgrade the Remote Bomb and Stasis Runes to Remote Bombs + and Stasis Rune +. The Remote Bomb + upgrade requires three Ancient Shafts, it increases the blast radius and the recharge time. The Stasis Rune + upgrade requires three Ancient Cores, it allows Link to use Stasis on enemies.

Sheikah Sensor

"The Sheikah Sensor is one of the basic runes found on the Sheikah Slate. If it senses an ancient shrine containing a hero trial nearby, it will lead you there by emitting a series of sounds. The interval between sounds shortens the closer you get to a shrine. To stop searching for your object of choice, set the Sheikah Sensor on your map to OFF."
Sheikah Sensor Notes

The Sheikah Slate has a sensor that detects any unopened Shrines which Link obtains after activating the Dueling Peaks Tower. Link can upgrade the sensor to Sheikah Sensor + from Purah during the side quest "Slated for Upgrades" in exchange of three Ancient Screws. The Sheikah Sensor + is connected to the Hyrule Compendium and allows Link to search for other things such as animals and items. According to her diary, Purah began working on the Sheikah Sensor+ at the Hateno Ancient Tech Lab when she was thirty years old after the Great Calamity, during the Age of Burning Fields, and took fifty years to complete, though she was unable to add it to the Sheikah Slate as it had been sealed with Link inside the Shrine of Resurrection. If the Sheikah Sensor detects a Shrine, Wolf Link can lead Link to it. According the Sheikah Sensor Notes by Symin, the Sheikah Sensor is a basic Runes originally equipped to the Sheikah Slate along with the Album, Camera Rune, and Hyrule Compendium, though ironically these components are missing and/or corrupted when Link first obtains it and needs Purah's Guidance Stone to repair its data and restore its missing components.

Upgrading the Sheikah Sensor causes Purah's assistant Symin to ask to see it. This leads to the Side Quest "Sunshroom Sensing" which acts as a tutorial for using the Sheikah Sensor+, which Symin has Link use to locate Sunshrooms. First Symin tells Link to take a picture of the a Sunshroom growing behind the Hateno Ancient Tech Lab, which adds its entry to the Hyrule Compendium (if Link has not already done so). After taking its picture, Link must return and show the picture to Symin who will then ask Link to find three Sunshrooms using the Sheikah Sensor and bring them back to Symin who will reward Link with three Hearty Truffles.

History

"The Sheikah Slate you're using is the one Princess Zelda herself used 100 years ago. Back then, it only had the Camera, Hyrule Compendium, and album runes. After you were defeated by Ganon and we sealed you and the Sheikah Slate in the Shrine of Resurrection... I discovered additional runes while reading through some ancient texts. Cryonis and Stasis, for example. Still... though I knew about these runes, I had no idea how to add them to the Sheikah Slate. Well, in any case... the Sheikah Slate was sealed away with you. That did NOT help my cause. I spent the next 100 years trying to work out what to do... Then guess what I see popping up like wild mushrooms? Sheikah Towers! What's more, the ancient shrines lit up too! Soon after, BOOM. You show up with the Sheikah Slate. Naturally, as a top-tier researcher, I was quick to put it all together. The Sheikah Slate isn't some frivolous little trinket created only for taking pictures and using runes. It's a revolutionary device developed by ancient Sheikah scientists specifically to help the hero conquer Calamity Ganon! The reason it's working now with shrines and towers is because our hero, Linky, meets all the prerequisites."
Purah

The Sheikah Slate was created from an ancient Sheikah technology to assist the Hero in defeating Calamity Ganon. During the Great Calamity, Princess Zelda attempted to use it herself to activate one of the ancient Shrines but failed because the Shrines did not have enough energy and the Sheikah Towers were hidden underground.

Spoiler warning: Spoilers end here.

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