After three years of hard work, Google’s Pixel Stand wireless charger was replaced last year when the flagship Pixel 6 series was announced. Offering faster charging and active cooling, the Pixel Stand 2 has been on our radar for a while to check out, so it’s time to find out if it’s worth the money.
Priced at $119 on the Google Store, the Pixel Stand 2 has a new design to go along with the faster charging, with a new thicker backplane that now includes a fan to optimise charging at higher speeds. You get everything you need in the box, which includes a 30W charger, 1.5m USB C-to-C cable, the stand and quick start guide.
It’s not just a wireless charger though, with Google offering a Pixel Stand experience you can view your Google Photos library in a slideshow, as well as getting access to Smart Home controls and sunrise alarm.
I’ve been using the Pixel Stand 2 for a couple of weeks now, and here’s how it went.
Hardware and Design
Like the first gent, the new Pixel Stand 2 is again an upright wireless (Qi compatible) charger. It’s a form factor I’ve enjoyed since grabbing a Tylt wireless charger for my desk quite a few years ago. The rear panel extends slightly higher than the first Pixel Stand – likely due to a small increase in the size of Pixel phones in the intervening years.
The larger rear panel is for the active cooling housed inside the Pixel Stand 2, which is a fancy way of saying it has a fan inside. The fan mitigates the heat generated by choosing the fastest charging options. The fan is definitely noticeable, though not as much when using it on a desk in an office with a laptop fan and other background noise. Beside the bed in the dead of night it was loud enough for my wife to start a hunt for “what’s that noise” on the first night it spun up.
Thankfully you can choose what speeds the stand will charge from the screen, or more permanently in the settings – but we’ll get to that later – so you don’t ever need to hear the fan if you don’t want to or don’t need the faster charging.
The ‘foot’ at the base of the stand is more refined than the bump at the base of the original. There’s even a small recess in the base which fits the Pixel Buds Gen 2 case perfectly, which bodes well for the recently announced Pixel Buds Pro.
While we’re on the subject of what is and isn’t supported – the Pixel Stand 2 is very much aimed at Pixel phones, though it is a Qi certified charger up to 15W, but you will get the fastest charging on a Pixel 6/Pixel 6 Pro.
The Google Support page for the Pixel Stand 2 lists the Pixel 6 Pro as being able to charge wirelessly at 23W, while the Pixel 6 will charge at 21W – if you use the 30W charger included in the box. Older model Pixels (with wireless charging support) will only charge at 10W. Non-Pixel phones and devices can still charge on the Pixel Stand 2, but only at a maximum of 15W.
It charges quite well for non-Pixel phones including the Moto Edge 30 Pro and Galaxy S22 Ultra though at the 15W charging speed and sans the Pixel Stand Experience..
Pixel Stand Experience
Putting your Pixel phone on the Pixel Stand 2 for the first will start the onboarding process for the Pixel Stand Experience, a sort of mini Nest Hub experience for your phone. It’s here you set your initial preferences for displaying your Google Photos library, speed you want to charge at and more.
If you choose the wrong setting, or want to switch you can of course change any of the preferences in the Pixel Stand ‘app’. It’s not an app you need to download from the Play Store but rather settings baked into the Google Pixel phone software. You can find the settings by selecting the Pixel Stand 2 in ‘Connected Devices’.
The features included in the Pixel Stand Experience include the sunrise alarm which slowly lights up your screen 15 minutes before your alarm, Photo Frame, display Home and media controls and a number of do not disturb options.
I’ve not particularly noticed the Sunrise alarm working when I’ve set alarms overnight, but I’m a heavy sleeper, so I find that one a pretty personal choice.
The Screen off when dark option, which automatically switches off your phone screen in a dark room is excellent for charging at night. I also found the auto-engage Do Not Disturb mode when you begin charging was great for charging beside the bed – but not so much on the desk, but that’s easily fixed in the settings.
The Photo Frame options are great giving you options to choose from your Google Photos library. You can choose which folders to include for display, or target specific people to include from your library. You can also easily add new members or folders in settings.
The home controls are handy, though I wasn’t able to add quick access to the Nest Cameras I have installed but you can easily access any lights, switches and even your vacuum cleaner if you need.
Overall it’s a good selection of handy features that you will find helpful while charging.
Should you buy one?
Quite simply, the Pixel Stand 2 is made for Pixel users, specifically the Pixel 6 series. If you have one then it’s quite a decent charger with the Pixel Stand Experience offering some fast charging and the Pixel Stand Experience.
Anyone not using a Google Pixel phone will be happy with the ergonomics, but won’t really find much of a benefit here. There’s a range of comparable 15W chargers available at quite a lot cheaper and in a variety of form factors to suit.
So, it really comes down to the Pixel Stand experience, and which Pixel you have. Put simply, if you’re a Google Pixel 6/Pixel 6 Pro owner, or plan to purchase the Pixel 7 later this year which will likely also have fast wireless charging, then the Pixel Stand 2 offers some benefits. If however, you own an older Pixel, then the older Pixel Stand gen 1 is still the best buy and both have the Pixel Stand experience.
You can find the Pixel Stand 2 on the Google Store online, as well as in-store at JB Hifi, Harvey Norman or Officeworks.