To say Google has a contentious relationship with releasing their own tablets is an understatement. Five years after they launched their last tablet, the Chrome OS/Android app running Pixel Slate, they’ve returned for another shot at tablets with the Pixel Tablet announced at Google I/O in May

The Pixel Tablet is engineered to be more helpful in your hand – and at home according to Google. To help it be more useful around the home, Google says the tablet needs to be charged when you want to use it. To that end, Google included a speaker dock which also wirelessly charges the tablet when you’re not using it. While it charges it also activates a ‘Hub Mode’ which shows your photos, weather or even give you fast access to your smart home controls.

Priced at $899 with 128GB of on-board storage, or $999 if you go to 256GB, the Pixel Tablet is on-sale in Australia from today through the Google Store, JB Hifi and Telstra in either Porcelain or Hazel colourways. 

I had the opportunity to use the Pixel Tablet for a week and a half and here’s how it went. 

Hardware and Design

The Pixel tablet is, well, a tablet in design. It’s got a distinct ‘Pixel’ look, similar to their earlier Pixel phones. That tablet has an aluminium body that’s coated on the rear in a textured ‘nano-ceramic coating’ which is both comfortable to hold and also means you don’t have to worry about fingerprints. 

The rear of the tablet has very little on it, the world facing camera, a Google ‘G’ logo and some POGO pins which connect to the dock for charging. What you don’t see is the magnets inside to hold it in, which have the additional benefit that you can simply mount the Pixel Tablet on your fridge.

At just under 500 grams the Pixel Tablet is fairly lightweight so it’s quite comfortable to hold while you read a book on it, watch a video or just surf the web.

The two colour options for the Pixel Tablet – Porcelain or Hazel – both look great, but I must admit to being partial to the Hazel which we first saw on the Pixel 7 released last year. 

The front  of the tablet is where you find the 11” LCD display, which does include some decent bezel around it, letting you grip it without having to worry about phantom touches. On the Hazel model, the bezel is black, but on the Porcelain model there’s a white bezel which may distract you, but that comes down to personal choice.

Above the display is the 8MP front-facing webcam, mounted on the long side so you can video call with the tablet in landscape, and split screen the video call with your notes if needed.  

There’s also an 8MP world facing camera on the rear if you need to snap a quick shot and the cameras support all the great Google computational photography features like Magic Eraser, Photo Unblur, Night Sight and more. 

The front facing camera quality is fairly decent for video calling, though does struggle with backlight. The world facing camera does pretty well in most light conditions though.

A volume rocker and a power button are on the tablet on the right hand-side. It’s a satisfyingly clicky set of buttons and the fingerprint sensor is fast. As a right-handed person I found it conveniently located though the volume rocker was harder to reach and may have been more easily accessible on the side. 

On each side of the tablet are two speakers with the quad-speaker setup delivering clear audio at a decently high volume. While it’s good on-board audio, you also have the option to dock the Pixel tablet and use the speakers in there but we’ll get to that shortly.

There are three microphones on board for calls or using ‘Ok/Hey Google’ to summon the Google Assistant and the noise suppression is good, with the Pixel Recorder app able to still isolate multiple voices in a noisy environment. 

There’s no physical shutter on the tablet, but anyone wanting to turn the Mic or Camera off can do so from the Settings menu when you swipe down from the top of the screen. 


As the main interface for the Pixel Tablet, the display is the most important part. At 10.95” and with a 2560×1600 resolution, the Pixel Tablet is easy to read text or view images on but it does have a gloss finish to it so you do see some reflections and does tend to pick up a fingerprint or ten even with the anti-smudge coating. 

The display is bright with a typical 500nits brightness and can be seen in pretty bright light but the reflections off the display can be a little distracting at the wrong angle.

The touch display works well, and there is support for Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) 2.0, even though Google has not released a specific Stylus for the Pixel Tablet.


The Pixel Tablet is the first with the Google Tensor G2 SoC with Titan M2 Security Chip built-in, delivering all the AI powered features we saw launched on the Pixel phones. 

While the Tensor SoC line is quite new, the Tensor G2 is fast and powers many of the AI features we love from Google Pixel phones, AI features like Magic Eraser, Photo Unblur, Night Sight and more. 

There’s also the Titan M2 Security Chip in the Pixel Tablet, the core of Google’s security for their Pixel devices. The Titan M2 was launched with the Pixel 6 and works in conjunction with the security cores in the Tensor G2 to mitigate possible security threats including protecting the tablet when booting, ensuring the storage layer remains secure. 

Overall, the Tensor G2 handles everything well in the Pixel Tablet. Apps and games run smoothly and there’s good battery life when you do take it off the dock for extended periods.

Speaker Dock, Battery and Charging

The Pixel Tablet comes with a charging speaker dock, and the intent is to keep the tablet charged as much as possible but safely in a way that preserves your battery.


There’s a 27 Wh battery inside the tablet which will give you a good 12 hours of video streaming, though you don’t tend to notice a lot of the battery life when you have it on and off the dock when using it.

The Pixel Tablet won’t charge itself to full by default when you first dock it, with Google opting to utilise adaptive charging. It’s a good idea if you want to take care of your battery to not leave it charging on 100%, however it’s good to remember this and charge using USB-C or change your charging profile.

The speaker dock comes with a power brick, and like a lot of Google’s devices the power brick is big. 

These larger adapters have been the bane of most Google Customers, taking up two spots or forcing you to manoeuvre any second plug in around it. The larger plug is due to not having a separate powerpack, but it’s a frustration for users of these devices, and one I really wish Google would address.

The Charging Speaker Dock will charge your tablet wirelessly, using POGO pins on the back of the tablet and the face of the dock to charge. Powerful magnets both align the tablet so the pins are positioned correctly, and hold it suspended for easy viewing. 

You can also charge the Pixel Tablet with a simple USB-C charger though if you need to by simply plugging it in. 

The magnets keeping the tablet on the dock are decently strong, but you can awkwardly pull the tablet off with one hand though two hands are recommended. What is fairly easy is putting the tablet onto charge and I was able to do this with one hand even without looking….most of the time. 

While it’s fairly easy to dock the Pixel Tablet, it’s not perfect and a few times I was glad of the rubberised feet on the bottom edge of the tablet as I had to try again to dock it. Overall though it’s a neat solution for fast docking. 

Hub Mode

One of the highlights of the Pixel Tablet is Hub Mode which turns the tablet into something much like a Nest Hub Max – though obviously with a lot more portability. 

You’ll need to set Hub Mode up the first time you dock the Pixel Tablet, choosing what you want displayed on the screen when you dock it. You can choose between a full-screen clock, weather information, Art and my personal favourite, your Google Photos library. 

Google has also baked in fast access to your Smart Home devices on the Pixel Tablet. When docked you can easily access your Smart Home devices including cameras, lights and more using the icon on the bottom left. You can of course always just get Google Assistant to operate them for you. 


The Pixel Tablet is the first Android device with Chromecast built-in, letting you cast to it when it’s docked. 

While it’s a good addition in terms of functionality the position I and a lot of users have or will have the Pixel Tablet dock setup in – my living room – I have a TV right there with a Chromecast. I did move the dock to an area without a TV and it worked quite well

Speaker Groups

Another bonus of having the Pixel Tablet docked is that you can add it to your existing speaker groups, expanding your whole home Audio experience. The built-in 43.5mm full-range driver in the dock makes for a decent addition to your home audio group with a nice loud, clear sound. It’s not going to blow you away on its own but when added to a home audio group it does make for a more full sound experience.


The Pixel Tablet launches with Android 13 and comes with the latest security and Google Play updates as an Over-The-Air (OTA) update when you first login to the tablet and check for updates.

Google is very responsive on updates for their Pixel devices, so you will receive timely updates. Google is promising Android security updates for at least five years, with a promise pf 3 Years of OS Updates. 

As I pointed out in the Pixel 7a review, launching the Pixel Tablet just months before a new Android OS update should mean you get up to four OS updates, but here we are. Most of the Android manufacturers including Samsung, their biggest tablet competitor, also offer the same software update policy and it’s about time Google led the way with longer software support, especially when using their own silicon.

As for ‘bloatware’ It’s a Google Pixel device, so of course there’s no third-party apps pre-installed. There’s definitely a lot of Google Apps, and of course the Play Store installed. 

If you have used Android previously, signing into a new device is surprisingly good these days with the option to automatically install your apps for you. Sign in, choose to restore from another device and leave it run while it downloads your apps.

The Pixel Tablet Experience and Android Tablet Apps

The hardware from Google is good, but the big question from everyone is the usability of an Android tablet in today’s market. The obvious leader in the tablet market is the iPad, which, after 13 years on the market, has a very rich ecosystem of apps. 

At the launch of the tablet, Google announced that ‘Over 50’ first-party Google apps including Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Maps and more have been updated for the large screen experience prior to the launch of the Pixel Tablet.

The new tablet mode for the apps include support for landscape mode and dual or multi-column and multi-panel layouts which better take advantage of the larger display. You can also split-screen apps for increased productivity, letting you do things like drag and drop photos or files to email and more.

I’m a big user of the Google ecosystem, spending a lot of my time in Gmail and Workspace apps. These apps have all been optimised for larger displays and Gmail is a fine example of the dual-pane view working well for getting work done. 

Chrome is another highlight, with the mobile browser set to render the desktop version of a site by default which works better on the larger display. Chrome on the Pixel Tablet also includes a visual tab grid, support for tab groups and Material You design – but you can also install FireFox, Edge or any other browser you want from the Play Store. 

Of course it’s more than just about Google’s apps. It’s about having a robust ecosystem of apps for users that offer a worthwhile large screen experience. In order to show their customers they are serious about tablets Google worked with their developer partners behind Spotify, Minecraft, Disney+ and many more in the lead up to the launch to improve the tablet experience.

A highlight for me was the ability to run Whatsapp on the Tablet. I installed the app from the Play Store and was invited to sync with my phone using a QR Code – just like the web interface. 

There are other optimised games as well like Asphalt 9 from Gameloft which lets you use ‘Tilt to Steer’ as a control option. 

Google has also worked to make apps and games which haven’t been optimised work on the larger screen. A favourite casual game of mine,, hasn’t been optimised as such, but Android does offer to full-screen it for you on launch which makes for a much improved experience.

It’s a good start for Google, but the big question is on-going support. Google has picked up and dropped tablets as a product category a number of times.

Google’s Tablet history

The other question is input from smaller developers and whether they will add a tablet option for their app in the larger format. Google hasn’t had a lot of luck attracting developers previously, but with two larger screen devices – the Pixel Tablet and Pixel Fold – there’s certainly more incentive for developers. 

As it stands, the Pixel Tablet is a really nice tablet to use and even just having a suite of Google Apps, or even Microsoft Office apps which work well on a tablet is a big bonus and goes a long way to making Android tablets relevant again, but there is that ever-present question of Google’s long-term plans for tablets. 

Should you buy it?

After a number of attempts there is a LOT of hesitancy surrounding Android tablets and rightfully so as the Android tablet experience to date has been average at best. But things are looking up with the Pixel Tablet.

Google is aware of their history and has gone to pains to get some big partners including Microsoft, Adobe, Evernote, Netflix, Disney+ and more on board. The addition of tablet functionality to Google apps has also added in even more reasons to get yourself a Pixel Tablet.

Comparison wise, the Pixel Tablet is going up against the likes of the lower end Galaxy S tablets, and of course the elephant in the room, the iPad. The Pixel Tablet has similar pricing and specs to their Galaxy Tab S8 Wifi model, while the iPad 10th gen offers a lower price but a completely different ecosystem.

Apple will have a lead on the tablet experience for the foreseeable future, but Google are definitely trying here. There are of course some people who prefer Android and at that point it really comes down to a choice between Samsung and Google. Samsung definitely has an edge on manufacturing, but it’s hard to pass up this new Google tablet with all its AI features.

As far as it goes, I like the Pixel Tablet and with the dock it gives it a slight edge in terms of being a good match for your home. I loved that I didn’t need to plug it in to charge it and could just dock it and have it show my photos, give fast access to smart home controls or just be a part of the home audio group when it wasn’t in use. 

If you want to check out the Google Pixel Tablet you can find it at the Google Store online, or in-store through Telstra and JB Hifi.