Perhaps save for the Apple iPad Pro and its equivalent Samsung Galaxy Tab S, there are still some people who are not yet sold on what a tablet is for. Some simply see it as a larger phone, which has become less relevant these days thanks to larger phones and foldables. Others treat them like the next step from laptops, at least those that are powerful enough or can run the apps they need. Most, however, probably still can’t find a purpose or even a need for a tablet in their lives, so Google is trying to provide yet another possible answer. With its new Pixel Tablet, it’s practically saying that devices are meant to stay at home to keep you company and keep you connected to other people without ever having to step outside.
If you were looking for the next step in the evolution of tablets, especially in design, you might come off very disappointed with the new Google Pixel Tablet. Compared to the likes of the iPad Pro or the Microsoft Surface Pro, the 11-inch Google tablet seems almost nondescript and might even look too plain. It meets Google’s intended purpose for the tablet, though, which is to never leave home and to almost stay attached to its speaker stand.
Together, the Pixel Tablet and its Charging Speaker Dock do make a minimalist couple that would actually look at home in your, er, home. If the basic design language of muted colors and fabrics seems familiar, it’s because it’s the same language that the Google Nest family of smart home devices speaks. In fact, the Pixel Tablet and the Nest Hub Max look almost too identical, except for the fact that you can detach the Pixel Tablet when you want to watch a video more comfortably.
Therein lies the purpose of the Pixel Tablet, which despite its name, is really meant more to be a Smart Home Display with a detachable display. You can use it to control your smart appliances, whether via touch or voice, and you can use it to chat with others on a screen larger than your phone. But when you want to sit back and binge or play games, you simply detach the tablet and carry on.
In any other context, especially outdoors, the Pixel Tablet would look almost boring, though thankfully, it isn’t as plain inside as you might expect. When it comes to hardware specs, Google didn’t really hold back in giving the Pixel Tablet much-needed power. The screen is a bright 2560×1600 LCD panel, and the entire party is run by a Tensor G2 processor, accompanied by 8GB of RAM. The Charging Speaker Dock has a 43.5mm full-range speaker inside and can charge the tablet through pogo pins at a maximum 15W rate.
The Google Pixel Tablet is now available for pre-order for $499, and it fully launched on 20. You can’t buy the tablet alone, but, amusingly, you can buy just the dock for $120 in case you need extras around the house. While the Pixel Tablet’s design and purpose might sound underwhelming compared to the competition, it definitely has some muscle to make it useful for more than just home use. Perhaps more importantly, its arrival comes with Google’s commitment to really push for developers to make Android apps work better on larger screens, a commitment that will hopefully last beyond the lifetime of this device.