Pixel Tablet Hands-On: Google’s Family Android Device, Dock Included



Google’s obtained a pill, once more. The Pixel Pill, initially teased final 12 months, is lastly arriving in June after an in depth reveal at Google I/O earlier this week. Its worth is not dangerous in any respect: $499 (£599, AU$899), with preorders open now. It seems to be good. It appears to carry out effectively. However actually, proper now, it is exhausting to know whether or not that is the rebirth of Android tablets or one other experimental flip within the highway.

After just a little time holding and utilizing one, I got here away feeling that this can be Google’s finest pill in years. Whether or not it may be an iPad substitute, effectively, that is one other story. The Pixel Pill is clearly straddling the Nest Hub-meets-tablet line right here, which will not be a nasty factor in any respect. It is also way more inexpensive as a large-screen Android system than the upcoming Pixel Fold cellphone.


Watch this: Pixel Pill Fingers-On: Google’s Huge Return to Tablets (Once more)

Android tablets could have light from Google’s focus, however they nonetheless exist: Samsung’s Galaxy Tab collection, and OnePlus’ latest inexpensive pill entry, to call two. The issue, often, is the app help and software program, not the {hardware}. That is the place Google’s renewed focus could possibly be a giant constructive signal.

The final Google pill I used was the 2019 Pixel Slate, a product that went totally towards making an attempt to be a fusion of Chromebook and pill. The keyboard-equipped Slate felt like a Chromebook first, pill second. This time, the Pixel Pill is all pill and no Chromebook. The software program expertise, and the onboard Google Tensor G2 processor, are mirrors of the Google Pixel cellphone expertise, with the advantage of a bigger multitasking display. Additionally, this time, there isn’t any keyboard accent to be discovered in any respect.

The Pixel Pill, sitting in its included magnetically hooked up speaker dock, seems to be like a large good photograph body or Google Nest Hub. It seems like a house system, and it is designed to be a house system; docked within the base when not getting used, and popped off for no matter you need on the transfer.


The Pixel Pill is available in three colours, and the aluminum end has a mushy, matte really feel.

Scott Stein/CNET

Google’s betting that the majority residence tablets are casually used and shared. It isn’t a nasty guess, since that is kind of how iPads in our home find yourself floating round. The Pixel Pill has distinct benefits over the iPad in a number of methods: Google makes having a number of accounts, or a visitor mode, straightforward on Android. Google’s AI-infused technique for its companies on Android might additionally finally make the Pixel Pill really feel like an ideal option to discover on a regular basis Google makes use of on a house system — much more than a cellphone.

The back of a gray speaker dock with a dark gray tablet attached to it

The Pixel Pill’s rear case additionally suits into the magnetic speaker dock. The dock is included, the case is not.

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Speaker dock included

The speaker dock can also be a giant plus. Google selected to incorporate the dock with the $500 buy, somewhat than making it an add-on and dropping the Pixel Pill worth. The dock amplifies sound high quality significantly, and it made motion pictures and music sound punchy in my temporary demo. Audio immediately switches into dock mode when hooked up or performs by way of the Pixel Pill when it isn’t. The dock can be a Google Forged receiver, enjoying again stuff on different individuals’s telephones. It isn’t a Bluetooth speaker, although; it solely performs again audio from a related Pixel Pill, which snaps into magnetic pins on the again to cost up.

These good pins might probably work with different equipment, like a sensible keyboard, however Google has nothing else in the mean time. Not providing a keyboard, or perhaps a stylus, seems like a miss. Tablets have turn into excellent tiny laptop computer stand-ins, particularly as iOS and Android have advanced. You may pair your personal Bluetooth keyboard, and third-party equipment are prone to come, however it’s shocking that Google affords no distinctive keyboard case of its personal. 

Google Pixel Tablet in black lying on a white table next to a charging dock

The speaker dock is nice to have, however Google would not have any keyboard or stylus equipment.

Scott Stein/CNET

No keyboard… why?

Google does have its personal protecting case cowl with a metallic kickstand that additionally works with the magnetic speaker dock when hooked up, and Speck has been introduced as a third-party case manufacturing companion. Nonetheless, nothing but on the keyboard entrance.

The Pixel Pill can also be no nearer to determining how one can be a greater Chromebook different for youths. Google’s Chrome OS is an ordinary at our public colleges, and it will be nice if this could possibly be an ideal little Chromebook on the fly. You may launch Chrome as an Android app, however that is not the identical factor.

Google tablet on a bookshelf showing photos of kids

The Pixel Pill is made to be a house photograph body (or residence hub).

Scott Stein/CNET

Loads of Pixel particulars

Google’s been attentive to numerous different particulars right here, although. A fingerprint-sensor energy button handles safety, together with an included Titan M2 chip. The front-facing 8-megapixel digital camera is centered on the lengthy edge, and has video chat optimizations borrowed from Google’s Pixel telephones. Some Pixel photo-retouching choices like Magic Eraser work with the Pill, too. The multitasking shortcuts look clean and straightforward to make use of, adjusting app pane sizes and dragging and dropping information between apps. Voice dictation was quick and flawless in a number of spontaneous demos. And the LCD show appeared sharp and vivid, particularly for the pill’s worth (equal to my eyes to an iPad Air).

Google’s pledging a brand new wave of optimized-for-larger-screen Android apps, together with 50 of Google’s personal most-used ones, and a lot of third-party companions together with Spotify and Disney Plus. The larger-screened efforts have a double reward: These bigger apps will present up on Google’s new Pixel Fold cellphone and the Pixel Pill. In a way, the Fold and the Pill are kind of like two sides of the identical large-screen coin.


The Pixel Pill needs to be loads able to enjoying video games, however we’re most within the multitasking potentialities.

Scott Stein/CNET

Turning a cellphone into a conveyable unfolding pill has at all times been a little bit of a fantasy for some, however the Fold’s 7.6-inch potential additionally comes at $1,799. The Pixel Pill, in the meantime, is $499 for an 11-inch display, and shareable. For most individuals, the inexpensive choice will at all times win. However it might additionally imply that Google works on these larger-screen concepts now in order that future merchandise can have software program able to go, regardless of the scale or foldability.

All of that sounds nice, so long as Google stays constant and dedicated. These are exhausting phrases to come back by for Google merchandise, which generally seem and vanish in experimental waves. Android tablets needs to be higher, and the Pixel Pill exhibits they are often. For a communal display at residence, it seems to be nice. However for all the opposite keyboard-connected and Chromebook-ish makes use of, it will be nice to see Google evolve there, too.

For extra from Google I/O, check out the Pixel 7A and Android 14.