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Forget about the iPad, Pixel Tablet preorders are now live

We’ve been talking about the Google Pixel Tablet for a while now. Google first teased the tablet at I/O 2022, and then again last fall when it announced the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. Following a year’s worth of official teases and endless leaks, the Pixel Tablet is finally here.

Google fully unveiled the Pixel Tablet during its I/O 2023 keynote alongside the Pixel 7a and Pixel Fold. This isn’t the first time Google’s tried its hand at an Android tablet, but it is the first one to be adorned with the Pixel name. So, was it worth the wait?

The Pixel Tablet has a simple design, good specs

The Google Pixel Tablet lying on a couch, halfway in a purse.

Starting with the design, it looks exactly like the tablet Google first teased a year ago. The Pixel Tablet has an 11-inch display with an aluminum enclosure and rounded edges/corners everywhere you look. Google says the “nano ceramic coating” lends a matte textured feel, and you can get the device in your choice of three colors: Porcelain, Hazel, or Rose.

Weighing 493 grams and measuring 258mm x 169mm x 8.1mm, the Pixel Tablet is about 30 grams heavier than the iPad Air and 2mm thicker. Overall, it looks … fine! Tablets generally aren’t lavish design showcases, but there’s also no signature style here like you have with Google’s newer Pixel smartphones. Still, the Pixel Tablet is completely inoffensive with its design, and for a simple Android tablet, that’s probably the right call.

The Google Pixel Tablet sitting upright on its charging dock.

The 11-inch display is an LCD panel with a 2560 x 1600 resolution and 500 nits of brightness. Google doesn’t have an official Pixel Tablet stylus, but it is compatible with any USI 2.0 stylus pens you already have. Inside is the Google Tensor G2 chipset, 8G RAM, and your choice of 128 or 256GB of storage.

There are two 8MP cameras (one on the front and one on the back), a fingerprint sensor is embedded in the power/lock button, and Google is touting “up to 12 hours of video streaming” for the battery life. And like Pixel smartphones, the Pixel Tablet is promised three years of Android OS upgrades, plus five years of security updates.

It’s all about the charging dock

Someone putting the Google Pixel Tablet on its charging dock.

As an Android tablet, the Pixel Tablet looks perfectly adequate. But it’s not just about the tablet. Every Pixel Tablet also comes with Google’s Charging Speaker Dock in the box — and that’s where the magic happens.

When you aren’t using the Pixel Tablet as a tablet, you place it on the Charging Speaker Dock. The Pixel Tablet charges whenever it’s on the dock, and the idea is that you’ll leave it there any time you aren’t actively using it. Because of this, you’ll always have a fully charged tablet whenever you want to use it.

The other main benefit is that the dock has a built-in speaker that produces 4x more bass compared to the Pixel Tablet’s built-in speakers. Disappointingly, you cannot play music from the dock’s speaker if the Pixel Tablet isn’t connected. As such, think of it as an extension of the Pixel Tablet’s audio, rather than a standalone speaker for other devices.

Beyond its charging and audio capabilities, placing the Pixel Tablet on the Charging Speaker Dock also introduces some neat software tricks. Similar to the Nest Hub, the Pixel Tablet will cycle through pictures on your Google Photos account whenever it’s docked. And also like the Nest Hub, it uses the Adaptive Tone feature to tweak the brightness and warmth of the Pixel Tablet’s screen based on the light brightness and temperature of the room it’s in — all to make sure your photos look as good as possible.

While docked, the Pixel Tablet also offers easy access to smart home controls and hands-free Google Assistant voice commands, and can have content Chromecast to it from other phones/tablets.

Google got the price right

The Google Pixel Tablet sitting upright on its charging dock.

How much is all of this going to cost you? A lot less than you might suspect!

The Google Pixel Tablet costs $499 — and that gets you the Pixel Tablet and the Charging Speaker Dock. You can buy extra docks for $129 a pop, plus there’s a $79 Pixel Tablet Case that’s also compatible with the dock.

For some comparison, the OnePlus Pad is available for $479. It has a more interesting design and faster charging speeds, but it also doesn’t come with any sort of charging/speaker dock. Last year’s Galaxy Tab S8 is Samsung’s current Android tablet, and that still costs over $600 even when it’s on sale.

Is a funky charging dock enough to help the Pixel Tablet succeed where other Android tablets have failed? That remains to be seen, but if Google really wants to make Android tablets work again, this sure is an interesting way to try.

You can preorder the Pixel Tablet now on the Google Store.

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Joe Maring
Section Editor, Mobile
Joe Maring is the Section Editor for Digital Trends' Mobile team, leading the site's coverage for all things smartphones…
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