The Pixel Tablet is designed from the ground up to be good at what people typically use tablets for: watching video or playing games in the comfort of their own home. It is not, however, making any statements about the future of computing. The looks of the Pixel Tablet are relatively generic. It has an 11-inch, 16:10, 2560 x 1600 pixel LCD display, even bezels all around, and a matte back. It comes in three colors: white, dark green, and light pink, with the dark green model featuring a black bezel. Though it looks like plastic from a distance, the Pixel Tablet has an aluminum frame with a nanotexture coating, not unlike what Google did with the Pixel 5 smartphone.
Bundled in the box with the Pixel Tablet is a magnetic speaker dock. This serves multiple purposes and is meant to prevent the dreaded “dead tablet in a drawer” syndrome: it’s a place to store the Pixel Tablet when it’s not in use; it charges the battery; and it has a louder, fuller speaker better suited for communal listening than the speakers that are built into the tablet. If you’re playing music or watching a video on the tablet when you put it on the dock, it will seamlessly transfer the audio to the dock’s speaker. Pull the tablet off the dock while something is playing, and it will instantly switch to the tablet’s speakers.
When mounted on the speaker dock, the Pixel Tablet looks an awful lot like the Nest Hub Max, a $250 smart display that Google released back in 2019. But make no mistake, the Pixel Tablet is an Android tablet and not a smart display — it runs completely different software and has different capabilities compared to the Nest Hub. That said, when the tablet is docked on the speaker, it can show a slideshow of images from your Google Photos albums just like the Nest Hub. It also has a quick access button to the Google Home app so you can control smart home devices, and it can accept voice commands from a distance for hands-free Google Assistant queries. The lock screen won’t show any personal information like notifications — for that, you’ll have to unlock the tablet to access the accounts that are set up on it.
The $499 slab is available for preorder starting today, and will begin shipping on June 20th.