In the ever-evolving ecosystem of tablets, Google has recently brought forth its newest offering – the Pixel Tablet. This tablet is Google’s attempt to re-enter the tablet market, particularly focusing on its integration with the smart home ecosystem. Through this review, let’s evaluate the Pixel Tablet based on design, performance, features, and its dual functionality as a smart home display.
The Pixel Tablet is simple in design, with an 11-inch 2560 by 1600, 60Hz LCD display. It is enveloped in a soft-touch finish which effectively hides fingerprints and provides a comfortable grip. Although made of metal, the tablet’s coating masks its metallic structure. The device also boasts a single camera, corner volume buttons, an inset fingerprint reader that doubles as a power button, and USB-C port. The tablet’s relatively lightweight build and thin bezels make it convenient to hold.
Sporting the tensor G2 chip, similar to the Pixel 7s, the Pixel Tablet falls short of being labeled as fast. Whether it’s underclocked or not, the tablet functions more like a basic mid-range Android tablet. It is priced at $499 and includes a docking station (also available separately for $130). However, be prepared to tame your expectations in terms of performance and speed.
One of the highlights of the Pixel Tablet is its docking station. This dock is equipped with a speaker and charging pins. Magnets in the dock align with the tablet, ensuring a secure attachment. The connection through the pins is instant, for both charging and enhancing audio quality. However, the charging speed maxes at 15 watts, which is somewhat slow for a tablet. Additionally, the speaker quality is not particularly impressive but adds a bit more volume and bass compared to the tablet’s inbuilt speakers.
The Pixel Tablet introduces some novel features through its software. Firstly, the new software dock can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom bar, allowing you to switch between recent apps and initiate multitasking. Secondly, the multi-user support is quite impressive. This feature lets you switch users effortlessly, making it particularly useful for families. Thirdly, the Pixel Tablet features Hub mode, which activates when docked. This mode essentially converts the tablet into a smart home display akin to Google’s Nest Hub, allowing you to control smart devices and use voice commands.
Google’s native apps on the Pixel Tablet are optimized for larger displays, ensuring a satisfying experience. However, third-party apps still remain a major concern. Many popular apps such as Instagram, Twitter, and others are simply magnified versions of their phone counterparts and do not leverage the larger screen.
A few noteworthy points include the tablet’s ability to charge up to 90% by default when docked to preserve battery life. Moreover, it lacks a headphone jack, and while the camera quality is acceptable for basic video calls and document scanning, it is not outstanding.
The Pixel Tablet is a decent, affordable Android tablet with an added advantage of transforming into a smart home display. While the tablet itself does not boast high-end features or top-tier performance, its dual functionality is noteworthy. This combination of features may make it appealing to a certain demographic. However, there is room for improvement, particularly in performance, app optimization, and speaker quality for future iterations. This product provides a glimpse into how Google can potentially revitalize Android tablets with added functionalities.