I bought a Google Pixel Tablet for these 3 game-changing unique features

After a long wait the Pixel Tablet is finally here – and it's redefining what an Android slate can offer

Google Pixel Tablet shown from behind
(Image credit: Google)

The Pixel Tablet is Google's first tablet in many years, and you can see that it's a device that has had a lot of thought put into it. I've taken the plunge in buying one, and can report back that it's much more than just a normal Android tablet – and there are three features unique to this slate that I'm really enjoying.

It seems to be generally accepted that the Pixel Tablet is one of the best tablets and certainly one of the best Android tablets around right now, and it has a strong claim for being one of the best student tablets on the market too. It's got a little bit of something for everyone, unless you're totally welded to the Apple iPad ecosystem.

If you're completely new to the Google Pixel Tablet, it comes running Google's own Tensor G2 chipset (the same one that's in the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro flagship phones) and either 128GB or 256GB of internal storage. If you need to know any more about the slate, our Google Pixel Tablet review has you covered.

1. Hub mode

Google Pixel Tablet review

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

You may well have noticed that the Google Pixel Tablet comes complete with a wireless charging dock that also doubles up as a speaker upgrade: this means that when you're not using it as a tablet, you can fix it to the dock and use it more like a Google Nest Hub Max.

You can play music and video on it while it's docked, control your smart home devices, bring up the weather or today's calendar appointments, and plenty more besides. If you've used one of Google's smart displays, you'll know how useful this can be.

Then there's the extra audio oomph from the integrated speaker, with its 43.5 mm (1.7-inch) full-range speaker to take advantage of. All the while, your tablet is being charged – and I'm surprised that no tablet has done something like this before.

2. The Pixel difference

Google Pixel Tablet review

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

As you'll know if you've picked up any of Google's Pixel phones in recent years – like the Google Pixel 7a, for example – there are various tweaks that Google makes to stock Android software that are exclusive to Pixel devices, which extends to the Pixel Tablet too.

This is the only Pixel Tablet, and so the only tablet with these extras: they include an at-a-glance widget for the home screen (with weather and calendar info), a smart voice recorder and transcription app, and a Now Playing music identification widget.

Bear in mind that Google pushes out Android updates to its own Pixel devices before any other gadgets, too, so you're going to be first in line for new software features as well. Google has promised five years of updates for the Pixel Tablet, which is an obvious benefit.

3. Chromecast support

Google Pixel Tablet review

(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

There's something else that the Pixel Tablet offers that no other tablet does right now: built-in Chromecast capabilities. You can beam audio and video to the screen from smartphones, other tablets, and web browsers. I've found this really easy to use, too, thanks to prompting on my phone when it's within range.

This is going to be most useful for when the tablet is docked and you're using it as a display for streaming video and audio: the extra screen size and speaker power gives you a much better watching and listening experience than your phone, for example.

Of course you can load up apps like Netflix and Spotify on the tablet itself, but sometimes streaming content across from a phone is more convenient – and it means that several people can get involved in getting audio and video up on the Pixel Tablet. I've found that great for kitchen viewing experiences, for example, when the TV is off limits. 

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.