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I keep coming back to the Pixel Tablet for 3 very simple reasons
On my desk right now, there are three completely different tablets: A Google Pixel Tablet, an iPad Air 4, and a Kindle Scribe.
For a couple of years, the iPad Air was my go-to tablet around my home — and sometimes outside of it. I used it to browse the web and news on a screen larger than my phone’s, plan trips, read comics, watch videos, and do some light work. Then I propped it next to my iMac and transformed it into a secondary display of sorts, thanks to the absolute ease of Apple’s Universal Control. Now, I only use it with the latter; that is if I remember to charge it. Instead, I gravitated toward the Pixel Tablet for my personal use, though that shift took me by surprise.
I was convinced the Pixel Tablet was a glorified fancy Nest Hub until I realized it worked better as a personal tablet for me.
Before I got the Pixel Tablet, I was convinced it wouldn’t replace my iPad. After all, Android on tablets isn’t that good, supposedly; not all apps are optimized for it; and the Pixel Tablet seemed more like a fancy upgrade to my Nest Hub than a proper Android tablet. I was wrong on literally all accounts. Proof that you can’t judge tech by press releases, ha!
After a few weeks, I gave up on using the Pixel Tablet as a smart hub because of the bad multi-user Assistant experience that frustrated my husband 10 times out of 10. I moved it back to my desk, disabled Assistant, and decided to use it as a photo gallery and personal tablet instead. That decision was compounded by the fact that I had fallen in love with Android on tablets and larger screens.
Four months later, I think that was the best use case for the Pixel Tablet. And there are three very specific reasons why it works so well for me.
Always charged and ready; useful even when not in use
Every single time I grab my Pixel Tablet, it is charged up to 90% and ready. Morning? Charged. Evening? Charged. Yesterday? Charged. Tomorrow? Charged. For four months now, I’ve had a grand total of zero instances where I wanted to use my tablet only to be surprised by a nasty low or empty battery warning.
I've had a grand total of zero 'low battery' instances when grabbing the Pixel Tablet to use it.
I can’t overstate the importance of that for a device that I don’t want to actively think about charging. I only have to plop it back down on its dock when I’m done using it and boom, it fills up. No cables. One less device to worry about plugging in and charging.
Then there’s the fact that this large 10-inch display remains useful even when it’s not in use. The thousands of photos I’ve taken on my trips rotate on it all the time. I get to glance down at them and smile when I’m working, which is quite priceless if you ask me. Tech is supposed to delight us and this feature definitely does. Granted, my cheaper Nest Hub can do the same, but I can’t carry it around the house.
There is no other tablet right now that offers these two features without some hacky process. In contrast, my iPad Air needs to be manually plugged in every time the battery runs low. And its large display remains blank 99% of the time because I’m not actively using it.
That official kickstand case is phenomenally handy
A regular day involves me grabbing the Pixel Tablet, opening Pocket Casts or Plex, and listening to podcasts or watching a show while I get started with my day. I often carry the tablet from the bath to the kitchen to the sofa and ultimately to my desk. But I wouldn’t do any of that if I had to use one of those flimsy, bulky, or outdated tablet case stands.
I wouldn't use the Pixel Tablet as much without the official case's versatile hook stand.
Of all the tablet cases I’ve tried in the past decade or so, the official Google case for the Pixel Tablet has the absolute best — bar none — kickstand mechanism. Don’t let its deceptively simple hook fool you; it’s so versatile and so practical that it makes every other case with a stand look like an awkward contraption in comparison.
This case is compatible with the dock, so I don’t have to remove it or replace it each time I want to use my tablet. It leaves the screen completely accessible, with no silly faux-leather flap to uncover and hold back. The hook-stand is sturdy and works at every angle in landscape and sometimes even in portrait. It’s a handle when walking around the house and it’s a stand on the bed, kitchen counter, or sofa. 15/10 — would recommend in a heartbeat.
My familiarity with Android
Ultimately, though, I think the factor that sealed the deal for me between the Pixel Tablet and iPad Air 4 was my love of Android and familiarity with the ecosystem.
iPadOS 17 is fantastic, and the iPad served me well for a couple of years. But there are some things that Apple does the Apple-way that I prefer to be done the Android-way. Faster unlock, split Gboard in landscape, better notification management, native WhatsApp app, simpler sharing between apps, and consistent back gesture; all of these keep me rooted on the Android side of the ecosystem divide. Oh and a fully customizable homescreen!
And again, for my own purposes, none of the extra iPadOS17 features are must-haves. Nor did I come across any app that I couldn’t use on the Pixel Tablet. Some aren’t perfectly optimized, but all of them are usable. And Android 14 brings several tablet-friendly features that make multitasking and larger screens better to use.
At the end of the day, I come back to one question: Would I, personally, get more value out of a different Android tablet? The clear answer is no. Cheaper tablets might offer a similar performance, but won’t always be charged, work as a photo frame, or have such a fantastic kickstand case. More expensive tablets like the Samsung Galaxy S9 are more powerful than the Pixel Tablet, but I don’t need any of that power. For my purposes, the Pixel Tablet is great. If you decide to buy one, I hope it works just as well for you. Oh, and get the case!