Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.
Google Pixel Tablet 2 wishlist: All the features I want to see
I was genuinely excited by the Google Pixel Tablet when it was first revealed. A media consumption tablet that also doubles as a Nest Hub? Sign me up.
Unfortunately, the reality wasn’t quite the same as the promise. While it’s a good first effort, there’s plenty of room for improvement. Of course, we probably have close to a year before the next Pixel Tablet, but it’s still fun to speculate. Here are just a few things I’d love to see from a Pixel Tablet 2 if Google wants to take this idea to the next level.
Better parity with Nest Hub features
The Pixel Tablet has the potential to replace the Nest Hub series, but not in its current form. I hope to see these issues addressed in the future.
Some of the features currently missing include support for continued conversations, the ability to manually adjust sensitivity for ‘Hey Google’ commands, and motion gesture support. I loved the ability to pause music by simply waving at my Google Nest Hub Max, but the necessary technology for this isn’t available in the current Pixel Tablet.
While the Pixel Tablet’s Hub mode can replicate some of the Nest Hub’s dashboard features, it falls far short of delivering an equally intuitive experience. At present, it feels more like a fancy screensaver. To truly create a device capable of replacing a Nest Hub, Google needs to mirror the Nest Hub experience more closely.
Additionally, I’d like to see the return of the Nest Hub Max’s Nest Cam features. While these may not be as robust as dedicated security cameras, they are still a valuable feature to have.
Better Assistant functionality, while still maintaining security
The Google Pixel Tablet operates similarly to an Android phone, which means that if you’re not fully logged in, Assistant functionality can be somewhat limited. Some commands may prompt you to unlock your phone for security reasons. While this is understandable from a security standpoint, it can somewhat undermine the purpose of having the tablet docked.
To address this, Google should better differentiate its docked functionality from its tablet mode, providing a comprehensive experience that functions like any smart speaker or smart hub when docked, with the option to access more advanced features by logging into the full tablet mode.
One approach to achieving this could involve equipping the smart speaker with its own processing capabilities and providing it with the same Fuchsia-based functionality as the Nest Hub when docked. This brings us to our next suggestion.
The Pixel Tablet Charging Dock needs to be a legitimate Nest Audio device
When bought separately, the Pixel Tablet Charging Dock costs $130, a $30 premium over the Nest Audio. You’d think that means it’s just as capable or even more so. Nope. The Charging Dock has one purpose: connecting your tablet and providing a better speaker experience than you’d get on the tablet directly.
I feel this is a huge missed opportunity. The Charging Dock should have been a true Nest Audio device with its own SoC. For one, it could have likely handled the Fuschia OS and given us a true Nest Hub experience, with the Pixel Tablet acting more as a display when docked than a true Android device.
Another big reason the dock needs more functionality is that it becomes a paperweight if someone is using the Pixel Tablet. This might not matter so much for single-person households but for families, it would have made all the difference.
If your significant other is using the tablet and you need to ask the Dock something it could have served up a full Nest Audio experience. It could have also allowed you to effortlessly cast songs from the Pixel Tablet to the dock via Bluetooth, even when it wasn’t directly connected.
The sound quality could be better
The Pixel Tablet has reasonably decent sound quality for a tablet, but I’d like to hear more from the dock. Currently, there’s a 43.5mm driver, the same size as the smaller Nest Hub. That’s a lot smaller than the 75mm drivers found in the Nest Audio and Nest Hub Max. Those two devices also have dedicated tweeters, something the Dock lacks. While the sound quality isn’t horrible, for a device that costs $500, you’d expect something more akin to Google’s higher-end audio products.
A slightly better display would be nice
I am not going to fault Google for going with an LCD display as this is probably a better fit for a device that’s designed to stay actively available on a dock. AMOLED is somewhat prone to burn-in and other issues, after all. Still, 60Hz is pretty unforgivable for a tablet that costs $500. At the very least I’d like to see 90Hz here, though 120Hz would be even better.
The ability to buy it without a dock
While the dock serves as a significant selling point for the Pixel Tablet, what if you’re simply a Pixel fan seeking a larger screen experience and not necessarily enthusiastic about the smart home hub concept? For that reason, I’d love to see Google offer the Pixel Tablet 2 as a stand-alone purchase. In fact, I’d also love to see the next-gen Dock billed as a stand-alone device as well — turn it into a next-gen Nest Audio that also doubles as a magnetic stand for Pixel Tablet 2 owners.
Which improvement on our Pixel Tablet 2 wishlist would you most like to see?
Will there be a Google Pixel Tablet 2?
- Google Pixel Tablet — June 20, 2023
While I certainly hope to see a Google Pixel Tablet 2 in the future, nothing is set in stone. The Pixel Tablet has received a mixed reception, and Google has a somewhat unpredictable history when it comes to new products that don’t immediately yield the desired results. Google Stadia certainly comes to mind, but Google’s graveyard is littered with products that never quite made the dent many hoped they would. Some of these were genuinely great ideas; others were a bit more questionable.
For now, I remain hopeful that a Pixel Tablet 2 will happen, especially considering Google has been putting considerable resources into optimizing its Android OS for larger screens and foldables. They have also worked to incorporate some of Nest’s features into its hub mode, along with other code changes that indicate they aren’t finished yet.
Even if we do see it, it won’t likely be until the Summer of 2024 at the earliest.
Should you wait for the Google Pixel Tablet 2?
Considering the Pixel Tablet 2 is at least a year off, there’s no reason to wait. The more significant question is whether you should opt for the Google Pixel Tablet or explore other options. If you’re seeking an exceptional high-end tablet experience or a robust Google Assistant-driven hub, we would honestly recommend looking elsewhere.
Those who want a truly great tablet would be better off with another Android tablet like the Galaxy Tab S9 ($799 at Amazon) or a member of Apple’s iPad line such as the iPad Pro ($786 at Amazon) or iPad Air ($559 at Amazon). The Google Nest Hub Max ($229.99 at Best Buy) is also a superior hub with much better sound, even if its app experience is much more limited.
Still, the Google Pixel Tablet could be perfect if you are looking for a tablet best suited for watching movies, YouTube, or posting to social while lounging about the house. Just don’t expect it to be a gaming or productivity powerhouse. It’s also a capable enough hub, just not to the same degree as Google’s dedicated smart displays.