The Google Pixel Tablet ($499 to start) was unveiled at Google I/O 2023 this week, giving us our first true glimpse of the company’s new Android tablet. (Update: Check out our hands-on with the Google Pixel Tablet.)
While the 11-inch Pixel Tablet looks as portable as any iPad, Google is pitching it as a tablet designed specifically for (smart) home use.
Every Pixel Tablet comes with a Charging Speaker Dock included, and when you pop the tablet in the dock it enters a special Hub Mode that lets you use it as a photo frame, a media player or a voice-controlled assistant via Google’s software suite. What's more, Google is taking a page from Samsung's playboook by pitching the new tablet as optimized to complement to its existing portfolio of Android devices, including the Pixel Watch and phones like the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.
It’s a fairly unique pitch for a slate, one the Pixel Tablet is well-equipped to deliver on thanks to Google’s well-established software ecosystem. The company is reportedly working to ensure Google apps like Google Meet, Google TV and Google Photos are optimized for the 11-inch display, and the Tensor G2 chip powering this device gives it the muscle to handle video calls, photo editing and tablet gaming.
Google Pixel tablet: Specs
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Google Pixel Tablet|
|Display||11-inch 2560 x 1600 16:10 LCD touchscreen|
|Front camera||8MP / 1080p 30fps video|
|Rear camera||8MP / 1080p 30fps video|
|Ports||USB-C 3.2 Gen 1, 4-pin accessory port for charging|
Google Pixel tablet: Price and availability
The Google Pixel Tablet is available for pre-order right now via Google’s website for a starting price of $499 in the U.S. and £599 in the U.K., with units expected to hit store shelves in May 2023. However, its Amazon listing notes that it will ship on June 20.
You have your choice of three color options: Hazel, Porcelain or Rose.
The entry-level model comes with an 11-inch (2560 x 1600) 16:10 LCD display, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. You can pay more to double the storage to 256GB, and Google also sells a range of accessories for the tablet, including a $79 case with built-in stand that can be kept on the tablet while it’s docked.
Speaking of docks, you can drop $129 for each additional one you want to buy, if you want to have multiple docks in your home.
Google Pixel tablet: Design
Measuring 10.2 x 6.7 x 0.3 inches and weighing just over a pound (17.4 ounces, to be specific), the Google Pixel Tablet is just a smidge larger and heavier than the base iPad 2022. With its rounded aluminum chassis and matte nano-ceramic coating there’s no mistaking it for anything other than a tablet, and the light-up Google logo on the rear lets you know where it came from.
There are 8MP cameras on the front and rear, as well as 3 microphones and four speakers inside the tablet. You’ll find the power button and volume rocker along the upper-left edge when holding the tablet like a portrait, and the power button has a fingerprint reader built into it for security. There's a also a physical privacy switch you can use to disable the microphone and camera.
Google Pixel tablet: Display
The Google Pixel tablet sports an 11-inch (technically 10.95-inch, thanks to the rounded edges) 16:10 LCD touchscreen with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels. That means it’s got a pixel density of 276 pixels per inch (PPI), which is slightly higher than the roughly 264 PPI offered by the screen on the base iPad.
Google claims the screen can achieve up to 500 nits of brightness, which is comparable to the base iPad and pretty bright for an Android tablet. Of course, we’re eager to get one into our lab for testing so we can see for ourselves how the reality stacks up against the promise.
Google Pixel tablet: Cameras
Google’s Pixel Tablet packs a pair of 8MP shooters on front and rear. Both have the same field of view and image sensor size, and they’re both capable of capturing 1080p video at 30 frames per second (FPS). The one thing the front camera can do that the rear camera can’t? Portrait mode.
They also support a suite of software enhancements like video stabilization, photo-unblurring and Magic Eraser (in the Google Photos app) thanks to the Tensor G2 chip.
Google Pixel tablet: Battery life
Google claims the Pixel Tablet can last up to 12 hours while streaming video, though that number was arrived at via internal testing streaming 1080p YouTube videos via Wi-Fi.
Will you get similar battery life when using the tablet at home, or out and about? We can’t say for sure, but when we get one in for testing we can’t wait to put it through our own battery testing regimen to see how it holds up.
Google Pixel tablet: Software
Google is pitching the Pixel Tablet as a slate that does double duty as a smart home hub, so the fact that it supports a wide variety of Google and Android software is a key selling point.
Notably, Google claims to have optimized over 50 of its own apps for the 11-inch display on the Pixel Tablet, and hopefully we’ll see more developers doing the same as the device moves through the market. The company also claims this is the first tablet with built-in support for Chromecast, and when it’s in Hub Mode (more on that shortly) you can cast media directly to it from another device.
This is also the first tablet to sport Google’s Tensor G2 chip and thus the first tablet to offer the sort of software and AI-like functionality usually seen in Google’s Pixel phones. That includes the protection afforded by the company’s Titan M2 security chip as well as fun effects like the afore-mentioned Magic Eraser in Google Photos.
Google Pixel tablet: Speaker dock and Hub Mode
Every Google Pixel Tablet comes with a Charging Speaker Dock included free of charge, which goes a long way towards selling the company’s vision of this slate as the centerpiece of your smart home.
The dock has magnets designed to make attaching the tablet easy, and inside it has speakers that (according to Google) deliver up to 4x the bass of the tablet itself.
When you dock the tablet it enters Hub Mode, at which point you can use it hands-free via voice commands and configure it to act as a media hub or digital photo frame. Google claims to have put some thought into how its apps work on the tablet in this context, doing little things like optimizing it to adjust screen brightness for ambient brightness automatically when acting as a digital photo frame, for example.
Google Pixel tablet: Outlook
The Google Pixel Tablet is priced like an iPad competitor, but the fact that it’s pitched as a slate that doubles as a smart home hub gives it a unique selling point. If it really works as well as advertised, it could compete favorably with both Apple's iPad and Amazon smart home hubs like the Echo Show 10.
Now, we just have to wait and see if the Pixel Tablet can deliver on Google’s promises.
If it can, the Pixel Tablet looks like it could bring some stiff competition against the best tablets on the market in 2023. The fact that the Pixel Tablet is basically the same size, weight and price as the base iPad (yet comes with a speaker-equipped charging dock for free) makes comparing the two inevitable and exciting. Stay tuned for our full review of Google’s latest tablet to see how they stack up!