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Google Pixel Tablet Review: Amazing Value or a Disappointment?

In my Google Pixel Tablet review you learn everything you should know about this tablet that can also be a smart display with Google Assistent.

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With the Google Pixel Tablet, Google has once again launched its own tablet after many years of silence. We get a 2-in-1 device here, but unlike usual it’s not tablet and laptop in one device, but tablet and smart display. That’s why a dock is included. Nevertheless, starting at 499 US Dollars, it has to compete with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 and Apple iPad Air. Which one is better for whom? That’s what you’ll learn in this Google Pixel Tablet review.

Google Pixel Tablet on* Amazon

Design & Build Quality

We’ll start with the design and build quality. I think it looks like a typical Google device, comes in “porcelain” and “hazel” colors, and has a Google logo on the back. While the case is all metal, it’s covered in a soft coating that reduces fingerprints. It’s relatively thick at 8.1mm, but the weight of 493g is okay.

Great 2-in-1 Tablet
Google Pixel Tablet
$492.89

The Google Pixel Tablet is a good tablet with a nice design, a good display, and powerful-enough hardware. While it cannot compete with high-end flagships from Apple and Samsung, it can be a very a great choice if you're also looking for a smart display since a speaker dock is included. It's a great Google Assistent tablet.

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02/27/2024 08:48 pm GMT
Google Pixel Tablet build quality

Unfortunately, both a headphone jack and a microSD card reader are missing, and a version with a SIM card slot and LTE is also not available. On the other hand, it is great that a fingerprint reader is integrated into the power button. That’s a standard in this price range.

It can either be charged via the dock or via a USB C charger. However, a USB C charger and cable are not included. It is a USB C 3.2 port, to which you can usually also connect external monitors. I tried that but it seems like the software does not recognize one. Since an optional keyboard cover is also missing, I’m guessing that Google just doesn’t see it as a tablet for getting work done.

Google Pixel Tablet speakers

The front and rear cameras both have a resolution of 8 megapixels, and I think the quality of both cameras is quite good. The front camera is very wide-angled, which is also the trend on Samsung and Apple devices.

What I think is really cool is that you can take photos in RAW format and thus edit your pictures better in apps like Lightroom. I think it’s the only tablet where that’s possible. But it’s a tablet, and if you spend 499 Dollars on the Google Pixel Tablet, you’ll usually have a smartphone with a better camera. I don’t think anyone will take important pictures with the tablet in real life, but it’s still cool that the RAW format is supported.

Google Pixel Dock & Assistant

Google Pixel Tablet with Dock

The charging dock for the Google Pixel tablet is included and you can buy more for 130 Dollars. Ideally, you would have a dock in the living room, bedroom and kitchen – well, Google would love that for sure. The tablet is magnetically connected to the dock and then charged.

However, it’s not only a charging dock, but also has a built-in speaker. When you connect the tablet to the dock, it turns into a smart display with Google Assistant as the interface. And then you can use the tablet just like other Google Smart Displays, ask it for the weather or recipes, listen to music, watch movies, and so on.

Google Pixel Tablet Dock

The tablet’s speakers alone are good, but not outstanding. For example, the sound is a bit louder than on the Apple iPad 10, but sounds then distort slightly. And the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 offers a noticeably better sound. However, that changes with the charging dock. Together with that, the sound is better than on any tablet – no wonder, since the speaker is also much bigger than on any tablet.

Display

Let’s move on to the display. The Google Pixel Tablet has an 11-inch display and it is a normal LCD. With 2560 x 1600 pixels, the resolution is high, so texts, photos and icons look nice and sharp.

Google Pixel Tablet display

And in general, it’s a nice display that renders colors well and, at 500 nits, is bright enough to see things well outdoors. Even when it’s very bright. Only the iPad Pro has a brighter display.

The screen is very similar to the iPad Air, which is also fully laminated and only supports 60Hz just like the Google. In fact, I noticed a slight jelly or rolling shutter effect, but it’s not as strong as on some other 60Hz tablets like the iPad Mini. At 120Hz, this effect disappears and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 and iPad Pro have such a 120Hz display.

Also, the Samsung S8’s display is a bit more saturated.

USI 2.0 Pens

It’s important to mention the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 as an alternative to the Google Pixel tablet, because the two currently cost about the same. Google does include the dock, but Samsung includes the excellent S Pen.

Google does not offer its own pen for the Pixel Tablet so far. However, it actually supports USI 2.0 pens. These are the pens that also work with many Chrome OS tablets, such as the Lenovo Duet 3 Chromebook. And the Amazon Fire Max 11 also supports such a pen. And that means that the pens for the Lenovo and Amazon tablet also work with the Google Pixel tablet.

I’ve already tested a few tablets with USI 2 pens, and what I said with those also applies here. The pens work well. You can write down clear handwritten notes with them and also draw quite well with them. However, Samsung’s S Pen and Apple’s Pencil are always a bit more precise and react faster in a direct comparison.

Therefore, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 or Apple iPad Air are a much better choice if you are specifically looking for a tablet with a good pen. If you only need the stylus occasionally, the Pixel Tablet is good enough.

Hardware & Performance

The Google Pixel Tablet is equipped with a Google Tensor G2 processor, which they developed together with Samsung. In addition, there is 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of internal storage depending on the version. As mentioned, there is no version with LTE or 5G.

Although the Google Pixel Tablet performs better than the Xiaomi Pad 6 and Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Gen 2 in the Geekbench 5 benchmark comparison, it is a bit weaker than the one year-old Samsung Galaxy Tab S8. At the same time, it’s significantly weaker than current iPads.

Google Pixel Tablet 3D Mark

The 3D Mark Wild Life test, which tests graphics performance for games in particular, shows exactly the same. It ranks between the Samsung S8 and the two Xiaomi and Lenovo tablets. Thus, it’s more of an upper mid-range or lower premium tablet, but definitely not a top performer.

In my gaming test, it performs well. You can play PUBG Mobile with UltraHD graphics, which is just as good as on the flagships of other manufacturers. Genshin Impact also runs decently with high graphics settings. However, the benchmark tests also showed that the Pixel Tablet does not play in the highest league, so it might not be able to play all new games with the highest settings in the future.

Software

Google Pixel Tablet Android 13

The Google Pixel Tablet runs Android 13 out of the box, and according to the product page, it is supposed to receive 5 years of security updates – however, it is not mentioned how long major version updates will be available. Still, it’s great to know that security updates will be released for 5 years.

In fact, the Pixel Tablet does not run pure Android, but the interface is slightly customized. Thus, there is a dock at the bottom, which can also be brought out at any time within each app. A Pixel Clock and a Google TV widget are preinstalled by default.

Every Android tablet supports the Google Assistant anyway. However, it’s worth mentioning that when you connect the tablet to the dock, a new homescreen is displayed for use as a smart display. This can be, for instance, a clock, the weather, an art gallery, your Google Photo Gallery and a weather frog.

Quite interestingly, it’s also capable of serving as a Google Chromecast receiver. So you can use your phone to play content via Chromecast with the tablet. Just as if it were a Chromecast-enabled TV.

Battery Life

Google Pixel Tablet battery life

In my battery test, the Google Pixel Tablet got a runtime of 7.15 hours. Considering that the display is bright, this is a good result. For this test, I always run an HD YouTube video at maximum brightness in an endless loop.

Google Pixel Tablet Review: Final Words

So, is the Google Pixel Tablet a good tablet? It has a lot of good features. The display is pretty bright and has a high resolution and supports good USI 2 pens. We get a metal case with a fingerprint reader and the performance is good enough for all games, at least for now. It’s really exciting especially if you want not only a tablet but also a smart display. The dock’s speakers are better than from any tablet alone.

Google Pixel Tablet design

However, the Google Pixel Tablet is quite expensive with an MSRP of 499 Dollars. And compared to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8, which is already a year old, the performance is rather disappointing. The optional pens are worse than the S Pen, the S8 supports 120Hz instead of just 60Hz, and has better standalone speakers. And Google is not ahead in software either, as Samsung is surprisingly good with updates, has outstanding features for the S Pen and pretty cool features like Samsung DeX.

The Google Pixel Tablet is a good tablet and I enjoyed using it. But due to the high price, I can only really recommend it if you also want a smart display with extra speakers. If you are mainly looking for a tablet and would only use the dock as a charging dock, I think the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 or Apple iPad Air are much better choices.


8
Google Pixel Tablet with Dock
Google Pixel Tablet Review: The Google Pixel Tablet is a good 2-in-1 device that combines a tablet and a smart display in one device with its Google Assistent and charging dock with great speakers. It offers a pretty design, a nice display, and a decent performance. But because it's quite expensive, I think it's a great choice if you also want a smart display only. Not if you want just a tablet alone.
Positive
  • Pretty design
  • Great dock
  • Good display
  • Decent performance
  • Up-to-date software
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • USI 2.0 pen support
Negative
  • Quite expensive
  • No 120Hz display
  • No keyboard cover
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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sandh

    October 8, 2023 at 6:31 pm

    Unfortunately returned mine. The front cam is terrible. Everything soft looks like the Bigfoot camera not kidding. Other than that it was a nice tablet, but my iPad mini still is better.

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