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The Google Pixel C is a big deal: it’s the first tablet developed entirely in-house by Google.
The tablet was released in January 2016 and is attracting decent reviews across the internet. But should it really be your next tablet? How is it different from Nexus tablets? Today, we’re answering those questions and explaining everything you need to know about the Google Pixel C tablet.
It’s Not the First Google-Branded Tablet
Google has rolled out a number of tablets over the years, including the popular Nexus 7 and Nexus 9 models. Both tablets were branded and sold by Google.
So what makes the Pixel C different? The difference is that the Pixel C was developed entirely in-house by Google. It’s the first tablet truly created by Google – kind of like the Chromebook Pixel laptop running Chrome OS.
In other words, Google seems to be reserving the “Pixel” brand for products it has wholly developed in-house.
Mid-Range Tech Specs
You’re never going to confuse the Pixel C for a high-end tablet. Here are its important tech specs:
-10.2-inch display with 2560×1800 resolution (308 ppi pixel density)
-Android 6.0 Marshmallow
-Front-facing 2MP camera, rear-facing 8MP camera
-Nvidia Tegra X1 SoC with 8 core CPU (4x ARM Cortex A57s at 1.9 GHz plus 4 x ARM Cortex A53s)
-256 core Maxwell-based GM20B GPU at up to 1000 MHz
-3GB LPDDR4 RAM
-32GB internal storage ($499 model) or 64GB internal storage ($599)
-Magnetic keyboard accessory available (costs $149 extra)
Priced at $499
The tablet is priced at about the same range as you would expect, given its tech specs. You’ll pay $499 for the 32GB model.
That $499 only covers the tablet. If you want the keyboard accessory, you’ll need to pay an extra $149 (!).
Splurging on 64GB of internal storage will also cost you an extra $100, bringing the price up to $599 for the 64GB model.
This pricing structure (paying less for the tablet without the keyboard) is similar to what’s offered by Microsoft’s Surface tablets and the Apple iPad. The Pixel C is cheaper than most models of either tablet.
Metal Shell Exterior
One of the most unique qualities of the Pixel C is its metallic shell. That metallic shell wraps around all four sides of the device and has no gaps or plastic inserts to boost wireless performance – which is something you typically find on other tablets.
Instead, Google has purportedly engineered the tablet in such a way that disrupting the back panel was unnecessary.
As one reviewer on TechSpot.com called it, this has led to “one of the nicest metal shells I’ve seen.” That reviewer wildly praised the case design, saying:
“The metal body looks and feels great, with a distinct premium feel that few other devices, like the iPad and perhaps the Surface line, manage to achieve. There’s no flex and the glass front panel with ideally-sized bezels complements the metal unibody from a visual and usability perspective.”
Nevertheless, the solid metal design leads to a slightly heavier frame. The Pixel C is 128 grams heavier than the similarly-sized Galaxy Tab S2 9.7, and the difference is noticeable.
One reviewer claims he suffered from some light arm fatigue when using the Pixel C as an e-reader.
It Has A Nifty Light Bar
One of the innovative features on the Pixel C is its light bar. That four segment light bar serves two purposes. During usage, it lights up with the four Google colors to help to brand the tablet (there’s no visible Google, Android, or Pixel logo to be seen, so the colors are it).
You can also double tap the light bar during usage to show you how much battery life is remaining.
It’s Not a Great Laptop Replacement
If you’re expecting the Pixel C to replace your laptop or perform productivity tasks, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
Android tablets aren’t great laptop replacements – primarily because the Pixel C cannot show more than one app on screen at the same time.
Every time you want to switch to another app, you’ll need to use the recent apps button – something that can feel slow and clunky when you’re using the Pixel C as an ordinary laptop.
It has Great Performance
The Pixel C is the most powerful laptop in its class – as you might expect from an 8 core ARM tablet. The Pixel C even beat some of its higher-priced competition in various benchmarks, including in PCMark for Android and GFXBench 3.0:
Battery life is also larger than most tablets at this size. While similar-sized tablets like the iPad Air 2 and Galaxy Tab S2 have 22.3 to 27.8 Wh, the Pixel C has battery size closer to larger Pro tablets, like the iPad Pro (38.8 Wh) and Surface Pro 4 (39 Wh). The Pixel C clocks in at 34.2 Wh battery.
The tablet reportedly lasts for 5 hours on heavy usage – like for constant mobile gaming.
Ultimately, the Pixel C is a mid-range tablet that is significantly more powerful than low-range tablets but significantly less useful for productivity tasks than higher-end laptops. However, if you’re willing to pay a higher price for a tablet that exclusively runs Android apps and doesn’t offer the ability to run multiple windows, then the Pixel C might be the right option for you.