Wayfarer review: Google’s exceptional Pixel Tablet makes stunning debut

by James Wilkinson

Google’s Nest Hub screens have offered fantastic at home technology over the past four years and it was only a matter of time before the tech giant released its first tablet, something that’s been well worth the wait as James Wilkinson discovers.

Over the past couple of years, two of my favourite at-home tech gadgets have been the Google Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max, thanks to their practicality, fantastic streaming offerings, overall usefulness and great value for money.

Knowing how good the quality of screens Google have produced – with both the Next Hubs and more recently, the Pixel phone ranges – I had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the first ever Tablet, first announced in May 2022.

What a wait it has been because Google have produced a stunning device that offers high-quality screens, a fantastic operating platform and all of the great practicalities the recent Pixel phone ranges have produced.

Having been in the United States since the release of the Pixel Tablet, I had it aligned to the United States Play Store and that has meant access to some of the leading entertainment apps in the market, including Pluto TV, Sling, Peacock, ABC, Hulu, Disney+ and Tubi and the stream quality has been absolutely exceptional, not just to the picture, thanks to the 11-inch display, but also the four built-in speakers which offer crisp sound.

When you want to mirror these over TVs in hotels that have Chomecast installed, the quality holds extremely well and you can still use other apps at the same time without slowing down the picture.

What also impresses is the apps have been developed to fit the larger screen well without compromising on quality, something you’ll also find with travel apps like United Airlines.

This incredible performance is courtesy of the Google Tensor G2 chip and that makes it yet another game changer for the company.

“It’s built with the latest Android features, our Google Tensor G2 chip and our iconic Pixel design,” says Google Australia Director, Device and Services, Julia Davis.

“With a brilliant 11-inch display and four built-in speakers for crisp audio, the tablet is the perfect entertainment companion.

“The Pixel Tablet looks and feels great — with its fresh colours (Porcelain and Hazel) and rounded edges.

“Plus, the aluminium enclosure is textured with our unique nano-ceramic coating making it easy to grip. We 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.

“Not sure what to watch? Pixel Tablet comes with the Google TV app optimised for the larger screen, so you can always find something.

“Plus, the tablet’s fast performance and battery life — all powered by our custom Tensor G2 chip that’s in our Pixel phones — make it the ideal tablet for playing your favourite games like Minecraft or Asphalt 9.”

Davis says there are some AI-powered features to more to help you get more done, from working on the go to keeping in touch with family and friends.

“Over 50 Google apps are optimised for the Pixel Tablet, including Google Meet. Google Meet quickly adjusts the lighting as you move around and brings HD video calling to a tablet for the first time, so you look your best no matter what you’re doing,” she says.

“You can even add a little fun to your video calls with 360 custom backgrounds to choose from — like beaches and futuristic cities — and the scene will adjust with you as you move and change positions.

“Tensor G2 is designed to make sure your video chats are always optimised for where you are and how you’re lit, moment by moment, with Google’s latest camera AI.

“That’s not all, the tablet’s larger screen and AI-powered capabilities help you do even more. Pixel Tablet is the best tablet to edit your photos with tools like Magic Eraser and Photo Unblur.

“With split-screen mode, you can use two apps on the screen at the same time.

“While you’re dropping a picture from Google Photos into Gmail, you can also use Assistant voice typing on Pixel Tablet (which is almost three times faster than regular typing) to make writing emails a breeze.

“As always, your personal information is protected with Pixel. With Tensor G2 and the Titan M2 security chip, Pixel Tablet is built with multiple layers of security to help keep you safe and secure,” Davis says.

One of the fantastic features of the Pixel Tablet is when you are home, it turns into a home device you can use hands-free, thanks to the Charging Speaker Dock.

“When the tablet is docked and in Hub Mode, you can use it as a smart home controller, music and entertainment player, voice-activated helper or digital photo frame,” Davis says.

“Pixel Tablet is one of the best ways to control your smart home. When it’s in Hub Mode, tap the Google Home icon to access all of your smart home devices so you can view your video doorbell feed and turn on the living room lights.

“You’ll see the same devices in your ‘Favourites’ tab in the Google Home app that’s available for anyone to use starting today.

“It’s also the first tablet with Chromecast built-in, so you can cast videos or music from your phone to the tablet when it’s in Hub Mode,” Davis says.

When you are on the go, there is a stylish and practical Pixel Tablet Case (AU$139), that’s designed to work with the Charging Speaker Dock and has a polished metal ring stand so you can view the tablet at different angles.

It all adds up to one of the best tablets ever released by any leading tech business and the Google Pixel Tablet (which comes bundled with the Charging Speaker Dock) is available now from AU$899 for 128GB or AU$999 for 256GB.

It has been a phenomenal first-up release from Google and it comes as no surprise it’s been a massive hit already.