Everything You Need To Know About The Google Pixel Tablet
Eight years since the unveiling of the last proper Google tablet, we’re finally seeing a new one – and dare we say, it’s worth the wait. Rather than simply upgrade the tech, they’ve leapfrogged over the other devices in the market to create a tablet experience based precisely on how we use them: for certain tasks like browsing on the internet and video calling, shared between family members, and at home.
So they’ve produced a tablet that acts as the centrepiece of a smart home. When charging on the dock that’s included, it acts as a photo slideshow, and you (and guests) can control your smart home in just a few taps. But you can detach it, unlock your personal profile, and use it as a normal tablet. In all, it’s a tempting new proposition from Google.
While its inflated price in the UK means it’s cheaper to buy an iPad, the unique place in the gadget world means it may well be a new direction for tablets. Here’s the lowdown on the Google Pixel Tablet.
Knowing that people don’t pick up a tablet to take super sharp photographs, the camera isn’t the best around: both the front and rear cameras are 8MP only. But handy for video calls, both lenses capture 1080p video at 30 frames per second. And because the tablet is powered by the Google Tensor G2 chip, it has similar photographic wizardry as other new Pixel products – things like photo unblurring, and a magic eraser. For what it needs to do, it does it just fine.
Made for the home
Plenty of thought has gone into how and where tablets are used. Namely, at home, where there’s usually a TV and phone around too. To strengthen the market position of tablets, the Pixel Tablet doubles as a smart display. When it’s on its Charging Speaker Dock (included in the box), it enters Hub Mode. This does nifty things, like automatically play the tablet’s audio from the speaker, or turn into a digital photo frame, or a voice assistant, or to control your smart home. Even guests can do things like turn down the lighting or heating without needing a PIN.
The Pixel Tablet also supports multiple users. Each profile can be protected with a PIN, and each user can have their own apps and settings.
The only less-than-expected move is that the dock becomes useless without the tablet – you can’t use it independently as a speaker or voice assistant, for example.
Design and display
In keeping with Google products, it has a sleek, minimal look, aided by a nano-ceramic coating inspired by the feel of porcelain. You can buy it in Hazel or Porcelain – that’s grey or cream to us. Size-wise, it’s just a little heavier and bigger than the iPad.
The screen is a 11” LCD touchscreen with a resolution of 2560×1600 pixels. It has good brightness too, although those watching Netflix and the like will notice the low 60Hz refresh rate, which will make screen motion less smooth.
Google haven’t released much information on its battery performance, nor let reviewers loose on the product for testing. That means it’s tricky to get the full picture of what battery life and charging is like in real-world conditions. However, the company say that the Pixel Tablet can last up to 12 hours while streaming video, which seems plenty. Be warned that the charging speed is slow at 15W, compared with the iPads’s 20W.
The Google Pixel Tablet uses Google’s own Tensor G2 chip, meaning it has similar power and capabilities as the Google Pixel 7 phone range – including the added privacy from the co-joining Titan M2 security chip.
It has three microphones and four speakers in the tablet, though the dock is a more powerful speaker, with plenty more bass. What’s noticeably strong about the tech in the Pixel Tablet is that as a smart display, it’s optimised for a number of apps and features. It’s the first tablet with built-in support for Chromecast (when the dock is in Hub Mode anyway). It also works seamlessly with apps like Spotify, Minecraft, Disney+ and WhatsApp – as well as the Google apps like Gmail, Google Photos and Google Meet.
The tablet also features a fingerprint scanner and comes with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage – your choice.
Price and availability
The Google Pixel Tablet is available to pre-order with a starting price of £599 in the U.K, making it pricier than the latest iPad (at £499). It will begin shipping on June 20. Note the price is arguably steeper than it needs to be – and the Pixel Tablet sells for the equivalent of £400 in the US. But as the first tablet to double as a smart display with the inclusion of a dock, it could well a sound investment.
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