Google’s newest Pixel Tablet is a sleek combination of an on-the-go device and a helpful smart display. And, in a savvy design twist, the 11-inch display comes with a free Charging Speaker Dock to offer hands-free access in your home when you’re not toting it around. It also boasts the powerful Google Tensor G2 chip for upgraded performance and quicker processing speeds as well as built-in Chromecast and Google TV for your personal entertainment.
A good-looking tablet covered in a soft, matte coating, it’s crafted from over 30% recycled materials for an eco boost and comes in three colors. Better yet, apps from partners like Disney+, Spotify and Minecraft are automatically optimized for the new hardware.
I got a preview of this new-fangled Google tablet before it went up for preorder. Here are my initial thoughts — before we have extended time to review it.
Google Pixel Tablet price and preorders
The Google Pixel Tablet is an 11-inch Android slate that doubles as a smart home hub once you connect it to its included dock.
The Google Pixel Tablet will be up for preorder on May 10 starting at $499, with general availability set to begin at the Google store and other retailers on June 20.
A new design built for different lifestyles
Google isn’t reinventing the wheel with its newest Pixel Tablet, but it is giving you more ways to use it. Yes, it’s got that bright, 16:10, 2560 x 1600 pixel LCD touchscreen display, but the real magic here is its cooperation with the free, bundled Charging Dock.
The idea is that you can park the Pixel Tablet on the dock at home and that not only will it charge, but it will also double as a smart display — letting you use it in Hub Mode, just like you would any Google Home device. Stream music or video, display pictures as a digital photo frame, control your smart home, make video calls and use your voice with Google Assistant to do all of the above. And, of course, it works as a portable device, so you can just grab it and go.
I loved the refined, painless process of this dual-minded device, which essentially offers two products in one. Of course, once you take it off the dock, you won’t be able to use it for the things a smart display is so great for, which is why Google isn’t touting it as a replacement for one of its Google Nest Hub devices, but more of a companion to your phone.
Personally, I always have a smart display in my kitchen so I can read recipes or listen to news and podcasts while I’m cooking. So you may want to consider keeping the display you already have in places you don’t want to lose that kind of convenience. However, how nice would it be to know that for the $499 price tag, you have an extra speaker, video display and general digital assistant you can place anywhere in the house?
The Pixel Tablet comes in three colors: Hazel, Porcelain and a very pretty Rose. And though I hate to use the “form and function” cliché, sometimes, low-hanging fruit really is the easiest to pick.
Upgraded chip gives you more of everything
Google made a point of throwing in its custom-made Tensor G2 chip, which can also be found in the Pixel 7 and Pixel Pro smartphones. During our testing of these phones, we found that this new chip “provides ample power to handle just about anything you throw at it. And I went hard during my testing — I’m talking multiple apps open at once, heavy games running in the background, floating videos using picture-in-picture and lots of camera testing, among other things. Neither Pixel ever really choked, which was quite impressive for Google’s second swing at a custom SoC (system-on-chip).”
How does that translate to the Google Pixel Tablet? Though we only got a few minutes to play with it, Google claims you’ll get faster, smoother video streaming, higher-quality video calls with automatically adjustable camera lighting, more accurate voice typing and even more efficient multitasking. Plus, you’ll also be able to use fun features like the Magic Eraser and Photo Unblur to improve photos (and eject unwanted photobombers or exes).
Chromecast and Google TV up your entertainment
I have always been a fan of Google TV as one of the most useful streaming video OS there is. So the fact that the Google Pixel Tablet has a one-two punch of Google TV and Chromecast is a boon. This simply means that you will be able to easily find and play your favorite shows, movies and videos, but also get targeted suggestions for what to watch next. And you can then cast it onto your TV if you so desire.
Google also claims the 11-inch LCD screen comes loaded with adaptive brightness and a whopping 16 million colors, as well as anti-smudge coating so you won’t have to wipe off those fingerprints every time you want to use it. We’ll obviously have a better idea if all of this is true after we get it in for a full review.
Google came out swinging with its newest Google Pixel Tablet, and we love the innovation of the grab-and-go design that meshes with your home use. Plus, the Charging Dock is thrown in for free. And, for an extra design boost, the Pixel Tablet Case (which is sold separately) comes with a shiny metal ring stand that lets you adjust the tablet for any type of viewing while simply clicking onto the dock without forcing you to remove the case first. Oh, and you can also hang it on the back of an airplane seat as well. Nifty, to say the least.
Of course, the Pixel Tablet is also optimized to work better with Google’s other products like phones, earbuds and watches, but it will also easily pair with your iPhone and other manufacturer’s products. We look forward to fully testing it to see how it stacks up to our best tablet picks, so stay tuned for more.