Pixel Tablet Review
My wife and I have been loving Google products for the last half decade, and have owned most Google home products that were released. We’ve looked at and still love our Google Nest Hub Max, our Google Home devices (wince discontinued), wifi setup and more.
Google has had tablets in the past, and most have failed in comparison to the giant of the industry, the Apple iPad. With the brand new Pixel Tablet, Google is actually tackling tablet use in a brand new way.
As a tablet, there isn’t a ton to it. The built quality is really good, made of solid metal, sporting a single camera, a fingerprint reader that is also a power button, and a few small speakers. There is a USB-C port for charging, which will keep your 11-inch LCD screen running for about 12 hours off the charger. This isn’t the fastest tablet, or the brightest tablet, but after using it around the house, I realized that Google wasn’t going for the biggest and the best.
There are folks out there who will downgrade and trash this device because of the specs it carries, but I think that is a big disservice. Google engineers are smart – they know this isn’t the most powerful tablet on the market, but it also doesn’t need to be. See, the Google Tablet is for light use around the house.
Unlike competitor tablets, I’d be shocked if anyone at Google would argue that this tablet is for anything other than home use. The battery isn’t amazing and it does take a little while to charge. But I never had issues because of one of the key features of the device – the charging dock.
Included in the box with the tablet is a dock for the device, and this isn’t some cheap plastic stand with a charge port on it – it’s essentially a Google Nest Hub Max in size and features, and easily docks the tablet using fairly strong magnets on the back. This will turn your tablet into a Home device when it is docked to the base, and locked. Amazing.
The docks themselves are sold separately as well, and I’m likely picking one up this week. The dock we got with our review unit is currently on a corner shelf in my kitchen, but a second dock will be going next to my bed and a third one on my desk downstairs. I’ve been using this tablet so much in the last few weeks, and I don’t think I’ll be stopping anytime soon.
I use it to interact with my other Google products – sending a Google Pixel 7a photo to the tablet for editing is amazing and smooth – watch my video doorbell from anywhere in my home (I work from home), and playing the odd game and watch a few shows on Netflix and Disney+. It’s such a great product, despite being underpowered.
I haven’t found it particularly useful when attempting to multitask on the device. While I can use a few applications at once, and even have two apps working side-by-side (tablet optimized apps), after launching a few apps and jumping between them, some end up closing on me, and others take a bit longer to load than I would like.
Again, I purposefully multitasked like this for review purposes – in reality, I wouldn’t have done this much multitasking on this tablet in my regular day-to-day use.
One way that this Google tablet is standing above the competition is through the use of multiple users. Both my wife and I have our own Google ecosystems, and while they cross over in our shared calendars, everything else is pretty separate.
Each of us having our own profiles with our own apps is really awesome. Yes, a bit more of the onboard storage will be taken up by those second and third users – much like when you add users on the Nintendo Switch – but it’s still a really great feature. I have the setup and applications I want, while my wife gets to have all her own preferences. It’s really great, and something that the competition should be paying attention to.
There are a few other things on the tablet I don’t really like, but the price point makes those negatives feel a bit more understandable. There is no headphone jack on this tablet, and if you have used modern tablets that isn’t as big of a surprise.
The camera quality is just OK. While fantastic for doing voice calls with friends and family, or snapping the odd photo when the moment is there, the overall quality for daily photos or video taking isn’t really up to par, and will get beat out by most smart phones at this point. Again, this isn’t something I would use this tablet for, but it’s worth noting none-the-less.
The Hub dock itself could have better speakers, and this is one area that I do wish was a bit better. We use our Google Nest Hub Max a ton for listening to music on Spotify, and watching shows with my wife while cooking.
I wouldn’t say the Pixel Tablet when docked sounds worse than the Nest Hub Max, but I actually wish it sounded better. It’s a minor gripe, and ultimately it doesn’t impact my enjoyment of this device, but it’s worth noting.
Overall, I think the Google Pixel Tablet is a fantastic product that is doing everything you’d want it to do. Having multiple docks around my house is something I really look forward to. Knowing that this device can double as a home-tablet and a smart home hub is great, and it does everything Google promised it would. It’s not the most powerful tablet on the market right now, but I believe it is priced fairly and provides a lot of great features.