The Google Pixel Tablet is an iPad rival that can turn into a smart speaker

Tablet: Google Pixel Tablet
(Image credit: Google)

Apple’s iPads dominate the tablet market in the same way that Red Bull dominates Formula One and, like Formula One, it’s going to take something very special for anyone else to get a look in. However, while we'll likely be waiting a long time for Red Bull to get a serious challenge, Google’s new Pixel Tablet might just be special enough to make people think before they buy an iPad.

The Pixel Tablet's specialness doesn’t lie in its core specs, though those are certainly worthy of being detailed. For us, the most important element is the 11-inch (10.95-inch if you want to be picky), which has a resolution of 2560 x 1600 and a pixel density of 276 pixels per inch.

That’s more or less what you get from the current iPad and iPad Air, which feature 10.9-inch screens with a 2360 x 1640 resolution and 264ppi. The Pixel Tablet also has a claimed peak brightness of 500 nits, just like those two iPads.

Unlike the iPads, which have a near-4:3 aspect ratio, the Pixel Tablet has a more movie-friendly 16:10 ratio, which obviously appeals to us at What Hi-Fi?. That’s not really what makes it special either, though.

No, that special thing is the Charging Speaker Dock that, rather surprisingly, comes bundled with the Pixel Tablet.

As the name suggests, this dock doesn’t only handle charging duties, it’s also a speaker. Plonk the Pixel Tablet onto it and it essentially turns the duo into a smart speaker akin to the Amazon Echo Show. In theory, that’s great for movie-watching, as you won’t have to rely on the tablet’s built-in speakers, but it should also make it a great option for the kitchen or bedroom. In fact, if you think that sounds like a great solution for the kitchen and the bedroom, you can buy a second Charging Speaker Dock so that you can dock the Pixel Tablet in multiple rooms.

The Pixel Tablet features the Tensor G2 chip that debuted in the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro phones, which should make it over-powered for typical smart speaker duties, but lest we forget that this is also a fully functioning tablet in its own right, capable of playing games, controlling your smart home and a whole lot more.

We’re also pleased to see that Google has apparently put some extra effort into ensuring the Pixel Tablet delivers a satisfying media consumption experience, which is something that previous Android tablets have often struggled with. Google says it’s “worked closely with the Android team so the apps you love – like Disney+, Spotify and more – look better and are easier to browse on the big(ger) screen”.

All told, the Pixel Tablet has the potential to be the best Android tablet yet, and it could even give the iPad and iPad Air a run for their money. Of course, we’ll wait until we’ve been able to conduct a comprehensive, comparative review before we deliver a definitive verdict, but if you don’t want to wait, you can pre-order the Pixel Tablet now for £599 ahead of the official launch date of 20th June.


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Tom Parsons

Tom Parsons has been writing about TV, AV and hi-fi products (not to mention plenty of other 'gadgets' and even cars) for over 15 years. He began his career as What Hi-Fi?'s Staff Writer and is now the TV and AV Editor. In between, he worked as Reviews Editor and then Deputy Editor at Stuff, and over the years has had his work featured in publications such as T3, The Telegraph and Louder. He's also appeared on BBC News, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and Sky Swipe. In his spare time Tom is a runner and gamer.