Google Pixel Tablet
Rising from the ashes of the Pixel Slate, the new Pixel Tablet offers premium performance, a luxurious look and feel, and the full complement of Google’s advanced features and algorithms. As a result, it’s one of the few Androids to truly challenge the iPad for tablet supremacy.Pros
- Impressive performance
- High-end fit and finish
- Powerful AI integration
- Could be a little cheaper
- Cameras limited to 1080p
Apple iPad (2022)
The long-running favorite
$400 $450 Save $50
The groundbreaking iPad family has always been in the limelight, with capable, efficient hardware and a famously refined user experience. The 10th-generation model released in 2022 continues that trend, as it finally falls in line with its more expensive relatives with a high-end design.Pros
- Extremely user-friendly
- Great-looking display
- Long support and performance lifespan
- Base model has too little storage
- Not everybody likes the iPadOS experience
It’s no secret that Apple’s 10th-generation iPad (2022) commands a big lead in the tablet market due to its streamlined design, powerful hardware, moderate price, and undeniably smooth user experience. What’s more, it’s been nearly five years since the release of the ill-fated Pixel Slate, which was underwhelmed yet decently overpriced.
Enter the Google Pixel Tablet, possibly the strongest contender to date for anyone looking for a user-friendly tablet with premium features and next-generation performance. As it turns out, Google’s new offering holds up to the iPad and offers some things Apple can’t at a slightly higher price point.
Price, availability, and specs
Released last October, the 10th-generation iPad comes in four colors and first hit the market at $450. However, you can routinely find it on sale for $400, putting it a tier below the 2022 iPad Air but decently more expensive than the 9th-generation base model. Unfortunately, that price is only for the 64GB model; the 256GB version costs $600 and is rarely on sale.
By contrast, the Pixel Tablet starts at $500, which is firmly out of entry-level and into midrange territory. Its Porcelain, Hazel, and Rose colorways are understated but look great, and they all went up for preorder on May 10th, with shipments out in most markets by June 20th.
Google Pixel Tablet Apple iPad (2022) Storage 128 / 256GB UFS 3.1 storage 64 / 256GB CPU Google Tensor G2 Apple A14 Bionic Memory 8GB LPDDR5 RAM 4GB Operating System Android 13 iPadOS Battery 27Wh, Up to 12 hours 28.6Wh, Up to 10 hours Ports USB-C USB-C Camera (Rear, Front) 8MP, 8MP 12MP, 12MP Display (Size, Resolution) 10.95 inches, 2560 x 1600 pixels 10.9 inches, 2360 x 1640 pixels Price From $500 from $450 Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, UWB Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, 5G optional Measurements 258 x 169 x 8.1 mm, 493g 249 x 180 x 7 mm, 477g Headphone jack No No Colors Porcelain, Hazel, Rose Blue, Pink, Yellow, Silver
The streamlining of design language
Apple’s 2022 update to the iPad saw it fall in line with the iPad Air and iPad Pro in terms of its physical look and feel, which Apple once again knocked out of the park. Slim, lightweight, and ultra-classy, the 10th-gen iPad lives up to its relatively high price. The four available colors are another clear indicator that Apple was very ready to change things up this time around. When it comes to premium equipment that’s satisfying to use and hold, it’s hard to top Apple.
But that’s exactly what Google’s trying to do with the Pixel Tablet. By taking cues from the simpler-looking iPad and Samsung Galaxy tablets, Google’s new slate is relatively stark, with clean lines, a slim body, and three understated colorways. And its matte exterior offers the slightest soft touch and textured feel, which is just enough traction for one-handed use. Plus, it’s covered with a nano-ceramic coating to keep it clean and protected, and it’s built with a considerable amount of recycled materials. All in all, it’s basically a toss-up as to which of these tablets looks and feels better.
How the displays stack up
Display technology and hardware have always been big selling points for Apple devices. The latest base model iPad doesn’t disappoint, with a high-contrast, high-resolution display that covers over 100% of the sRGB color gamut. Its 500-nit brightness is enough for all but the brightest direct sunlight, and it responds quickly with no ghosting or artifacts (no surprises there).
But the Pixel Tablet is close on its heels. Its resolution, brightness, color coverage, and size are all nearly identical to the iPad. And while the iPad has always been known for its rich colors, few will be able to tell the difference between the iPad and Pixel Tablet colors.
There’s one thing Google offers that Apple doesn’t: It supports USI styluses, while the 2022 iPad is limited to the first-gen Apple Pencil or similar third-party options. With the display performance almost indistinguishable, we give the Pixel Tablet’s display the ever-so-slightest edge.
What’s the software experience like?
Apple hangs its hat on a streamlined user environment — and the latest iPad doesn’t deviate from that formula, with Apple’s notably locked-down ecosystem delivering an excellent app experience. From top to bottom, the interface is powerful and easy to use, doing a great job showcasing the iPad’s abilities.
But now, after a couple of years of truly fantastic Pixel smartphones, we know that Google’s UI is on its way up. Google pumps out a hassle-free Android flavor for its own devices, arguably the best version and up there with Samsung in terms of Android implementations. Taking a page from Apple’s book, Google now promises five years of updates, ensuring your relatively expensive tablet will serve you safely and reliably for a long time.
Then there’s its specialized SoC, which allows for a host of powerful “AI-based” features. For the most part, these features are novel and helpful, but there’s a minor downside to Google’s UI roadmap: updates. As with Pixel phones, we expect the Pixel Tablet to receive Google’s most forward-thinking updates; however, these periodically introduce minor user issues. While the problems are not quite as bad as they were in the past, this is something to be aware of.
In a head-to-head battle, we rate the Pixel as possibly the best Android tablet experience, putting it neck-and-neck with Apple. They’re both so good that it comes down to which OS you really like.
Which one performs better?
Apple devices have long been front-runners in mobile performance, even with the mere A14 Bionic SoC instead of the iPad Pro’s powerful M2 chipset. For instance, you rarely have to wait for the iPad to load apps or complete tasks, and it’s one of the best for gaming. There’s absolutely nothing bad to say about the iPad’s performance.
In what’s becoming a trend, though, Google is in the rearview mirror, possibly even overtaking Apple. Its specially designed Tensor G2 chipset comes in just below the most powerful heavy hitters from families like the Qualcomm Snapdragon. Plus, it enables an impressive host of AI-supported features that we’ve never seen on tablets. It’s snappy, efficient, and dependable, causing the Pixel Tablet to edge out the 2022 iPad regarding performance.
The Pixel Tablet Charging Speaker Dock: A big positive inclusion
Google’s new mated dock also helps the Pixel Tablet outperform the iPad in some important ways. For one, it conveniently charges your tablet at a moment’s notice. It also adds a great-sounding full-range speaker that essentially turns the Pixel into a veritable smart display. This is an excellent feature that makes it all the more likely owners will utilize the Pixel’s great video calling features as well as the powerful smart device control of Google Home. Score another point for the Pixel.
How’s the battery life?
There’s just a 1.6-watt-hour difference in battery capacity between the two, so much of the difference in battery life comes down to optimization. In another win for Google, its novel SoC architecture allows high-efficiency cores to take over at a moment’s notice and keep voltage levels down to increase the time between charges.
The 10th-generation iPad lasts roughly 10 hours of regular use, while the Pixel Tablet clocks in about 2 hours longer before it needs plugging in. That’s another win for Google’s new offering.
Do they take good pictures?
Although both devices put up a good knock-down, drag-out fight, Apple’s cameras are a touch nicer than the Pixel Tablet’s. A 12-megapixel resolution and up to 4K recording on the rear camera, give the iPad one of the best picture-taking experiences of any tablet. The quality hardware is, of course, backed by Apple’s consistently high-quality imaging software, which makes even novice photographers look good with minimal user input.
Don’t count out the Pixel despite its limitation of 8 megapixels and 1080p recording from both lenses. The Tensor G2 chipset and Google’s extensive algorithm development bring the Pixel Tablet image quality almost in line with the iPad’s, although not 100% as good. In particular, the imaging hardware and software are optimized for video calls, making the Pixel a decent choice for talking to family, friends, or coworkers while on the go. So while Apple gets a little win here, it’s not blowing the Pixel out of the water.
Which is right for you?
It’s been a long time coming, but early indications are that we’ve finally found a worthy competitor to the classic iPad. Granted, the 2022 iPad saw a price increase (while the cheaper, 9th-gen model is still available for $329 or less), and the Pixel Tablet sports a $50 higher price tag. However, that’s really the only caveat to Google’s new iPad killer; iPads were once practically entry-level in terms of cost, but $500 for the Pixel is considerably outside that territory.
The Pixel Tablet firmly occupies the top slot of all the midrange tablets we’ve seen over the last year. It’s not cheap, but it’s a fantastic piece of high-end equipment to help you work, play, and stay in touch with social media, family, and friends. If you want a high-end tablet experience without spending a fortune but are not a fan of the Apple ecosystem, the new Pixel Tablet is a no-brainer purchase.
Google Pixel Tablet
Our top pick
Powerful, convenient, and a touch costly
The new Google Pixel Tablet combines Google’s specialized hardware, advanced features, and AI algorithm design. It’s one of the best $500 tablets we’ve ever seen and may be the best midrange tablet of the year.
If Google’s new tablet is too expensive for you, but you’re totally OK with the iPadOS experience, we recommend the 9th-generation Apple iPad from 2021. It’s still available from $329 at Apple, but you can regularly find it for around $270 from other authorized retailers. While it’s not winning any head-to-head battles with the Pixel, it’s still an excellent tablet that will serve you well for years.
Apple iPad (2021)
A great value for an entry-level tablet
$270 $329 Save $59
If you don’t need the latest and greatest in hardware and AI features, the 2021 iPad can be a great buy. It’s considerably more affordable than its replacement iPad or the new Google Pixel Tablet while offering the same great experience we’ve come to expect from Apple devices.