Google Pixel Tablet vs. Google Nest Hub Max: Which is best for you?

Google Pixel Tablet vs Nest Hub Max
(Image credit: Google)

The new Google Pixel Tablet and the Google Nest Hub Max look so similar on the outside that you might mistake one for the other at a quick glance. Each features a large display sitting atop an angled speaker base. 

In fact, you might think the biggest difference between the two Google devices — aside from their $270 price difference — is that the Pixel Tablet's display can be removed from its base, while the Nest Hub Max's cannot. 

But that's about where the similarities end. Below, we'll go into more detail about the Pixel Tablet vs. the Nest Hub Max to see which is best for your home setup.

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Google Pixel TabletGoogle Nest Hub Max
Display10.95-inch, 2560 x 160010-inch, 1280 x 800
Audio4 speakers in tablet, one full-range 43.5mm in dock two 18mm 10W tweeters, one 75mm 30W woofer
Cameras8MP front / 8MP rear6.5MP front
Size10.2 x 6.7 x 0.3 (tablet only) 9.9 x 7.2 x 4 inches
WirelessWi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, Chromecast, Ultra-Wideband chip802.11b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5, Thread, Chromecast

Google Pixel Tablet vs. Nest Hub Max: Price

The Google Nest Hub Max costs $229, and has been available since September, 2019. 

You can now preorder the Google Pixel Tablet for $499, and will ship in May or June 2023 (Amazon's listing has June 20 as the ship date for the tablet). Its price includes the dock, but a second dock costs an extra $129.

Google Pixel Tablet vs. Nest Hub Max: Display and audio

The Nest Hub Max's 10-inch 1280 x 800-pixel touchscreen is decent for a smart display, or even for a tablet that costs around $200. However, the Pixel Tablet's display is both larger (10.95 inches) and crisper (2560 x 1600), which should make for much better visuals when watching movies. 

Audio might be a different matter. The Pixel Tablet has four speakers built into the tablet itself, plus one full-range 43.5mm driver in its dock, which provides some extra oomph when the tablet is sitting in its dock.

The Nest Hub Max, by comparison, has two 18mm 10W tweeters and one 75mm 30W woofer. So while they're fewer in number, they're larger in size. When we reviewed the Nest Hub Max, we were impressed with its audio — in fact, we felt the bass might have been a little too boomy. So while we haven't heard the two devices side-by-side yet, this might be one area where the Nest Hub Max has an advantage.

Google Pixel Tablet vs. Nest Hub Max: Cameras

The Google Pixel Tablet comes with two cameras, one on the front, and one on the back — as you might expect. Both cameras have a resolution of 8MP, an f/2.0 aperture, a 1/4-inch sensor, and an 84-degree field of view. 

Because it's not meant to be picked up, the Nest Hub Max has a single, 6.5MP front-facing camera for video calls. However, its camera has a much wider 127-degree FOV, which means that it can better capture what's going on in a room.

Both devices' cameras have auto-framing capabilities — that is, when you're on a video call, the camera will digitally pan and zoom on its own to make sure that you remain in the center of the frame. 

The Pixel Tablet benefits from the fact that it's an Android tablet, and has many camera features you'll find on Google's smartphones, such as Magic Eraser, Photo Unblur, Long Exposure, Panorama, and Night Sight. 

However, the Nest Hub Max's camera can also pull double-duty as a security camera. It's not as robust as the Nest Cam (Indoor), but it does give you a second set of eyes in your house. And the Nest Hub Max supports gesture control, so you can play and pause music and change the volume by making motions with your hands — it's really helpful when you're in the middle of cooking dinner and don't want to dirty the display.

Lastly, the Nest Hub Max's camera has a physical switch that disables both the camera and microphone on the device. 

Google Pixel Tablet vs. Nest Hub Max: Interface

Another big difference between the Pixel Tablet and the Nest Hub Max is their respective operating systems. While both are based on an Android kernel, what you can do with each is miles apart.

The Pixel Tablet runs the Android operating system, so you have full access not only to all of Google's apps (Gmail, Chrome, Google Photos, YouTube, etc.), but anything else that's available in the Google Play Store. You can also move around apps, widgets, and more on the tablet. 

The Nest Hub Max, on the other hand, is much more limited in what you can load onto the device and how you can use it. Rather than a wide-open interface, the Nest Hub Max has an array of tabs at the top that can't be reordered or changed: Photo frame, Your morning, Home control, Media, Communicate, Games, Family, and Discover. 

Both tablets will let you stream video from a number of sources, including YouTube and Netflix, but only the Pixel Tablet has native apps for many other streaming services; you'll have to use the Nest Hub Max's Chromecast feature if you want to view Hulu, for instance.

Google Pixel Tablet vs. Nest Hub Max: Smart Home and connectivity

As it's the newer device, the Pixel Tablet has somewhat better connectivity options than the Nest Hub Max. It has faster Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi 6 vs. Wi-Fi 5) and a newer version of Bluetooth (5.2 vs. 5.0). Will you notice that much of a difference right now? Probably not, unless you have a Wi-Fi 6 router in your home.

Both devices also support Chromecast, so you can send audio and video to them from your smartphone — a handy feature.

However, the Pixel Tablet isn't the smart home hub the Nest Hub Max is; that's because only the Nest Hub Max has Thread support, which means it can act as a hub for Matter smart home devices. In fact, if you want to control Matter-enabled smart home devices using a Pixel Tablet, you'll need something like the Nest Hub Max first (cheaper options also include the Google Home, Google Home Mini, Nest Mini, and Nest Audio).

Google Pixel Tablet vs. Nest Hub Max: Which should you get?

If you're looking for a more tablet-like experience — where you can sit on the couch and surf through videos and emails, and then carry the device into the bedroom — then the Google Pixel Tablet is the better, if more expensive option for you.

However, if you want something that can serve as a central hub for your smart home devices — and don't mind leaving it in one place — then the Nest Hub Max is the more economical choice. 

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Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.