September 30, 2023

The Pixel Pill isn’t Google’s first pill, nevertheless it nonetheless appears like one thing new and totally different due to a bundled speaker dock that turns the machine into a sensible show and its awkward landscape-first orientation. I admire that Google is making an attempt one thing new and totally different right here, and I believe there’s an viewers for this intriguing hybrid machine. However I’d relatively have two separate gadgets for these duties, and its dual-use design introduces compromises.

Take into account the iPad. Apple’s market-leading pill started merely sufficient, with only a single product, nevertheless it expanded dramatically over time to incorporate mini, Air, and Professional fashions, every of which targets a particular market or kind of person. The lower-end iPads are purely consumption gadgets, and are used for studying, watching movies, taking part in video games, and different idle duties. The iPad Professionals are for energy customers, a few of whom use the machine as laptop computer replacements with keyboard covers and folios, and Apple Pencil. (And there’s in fact cross-over between the merchandise and use instances.)

Google checked out this market and determined to deal with what I assume it believes to be the candy spot of this market. By which I imply, the amount sellers on the decrease, consumption-focused a part of the market. And it made some key observations about these merchandise, together with one which I’ve actually skilled myself in over 10 years of iPad utilization: these tablets have a tendency to remain at house—they don’t journey round all that a lot—they usually have a tendency to only sit there, unused, more often than not. And so Google went for what I consider because the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup answer—“two nice tastes that style nice collectively”—and made the Pixel Pill a hybrid machine, one which could possibly be a standalone pill and a sensible show.

That is the kind of concept that makes individuals nod their heads in settlement. It sounds proper. However I’ve been utilizing iPads and good shows for a very long time. And in my case, a minimum of, changing these two issues with one machine simply doesn’t make sense.

Right here’s why. I primarily use my iPad within the morning to learn the information after which once more at night time for studying earlier than I am going to mattress. And meaning it travels between my front room and my bed room all through the day. Our good show, in the meantime, sits within the kitchen, and it’s at all times on, working a photograph slideshow of our household and buddies that my spouse and I each take pleasure in each time we step into that room. For us to have that very same expertise with this one machine, I must explicitly bear in mind to cart it over to the kitchen each time I used to be carried out studying relatively than simply do what anybody would do, which is to go away it wherever I used to be studying. And so in testing the Pixel Pill, its speaker dock has simply sat there, empty, not displaying pictures. Nobody likes that. And I’m not super-interested in coaching myself to behave in another way and bear in mind to dock the factor.

One other minor situation is that my pill is my pill, whereas the Pixel Pill is designed to be extra of a communal machine. It helps a number of sign-ins, and it may be managed by voice by a number of individuals when used as a sensible show. That’s advantageous. However my spouse and I each use our personal gadgets to learn, play video games, work together with Duolingo, and no matter else. And we’re adults, so we’re not notably inquisitive about sharing a tool for these use instances, or of preserving observe of who can use it when. We at all times learn on the similar time, for instance. I can solely think about this could be extra problematic for a household with children, every of whom would need their very own gadgets too.

I’m certain this dual-use design will work effectively for some. However I might relatively simply use the Pixel Pill as a pill and have a separate good show. The problem, then, turns into whether or not doing that makes any sense. At $499, it simply doesn’t, and a few of the Pixel Pill’s design compromises pile on to make it a non-starter for me. But when I may get a Pixel Pill for, say, $379—the charging speaker dock is offered individually for $129—I could be swayed. However even then, you run into the plain iPad comparisons, and regardless of current enhancements to the Android ecosystem for large-screen gadgets, I feel the Pixel Pill would nonetheless fall brief for many. It’s bizarre to me that Google didn’t attempt to undercut the iPad, given how beloved the market chief is.


I just like the minimalist look of the Pixel Pill, and I’m particularly proud of no matter matte coating Google put over its aluminum again. It’s a good-looking machine, particularly within the hazel shade I selected (and love). Oddly, hazel is the one shade alternative that ships with black show bezels: with the porcelain and rose colours, you get white bezels.

These bezels are biggish, however not a lot greater than these on my iPad Air, they usually present quantity of area with which to carry the machine in both orientation. It has rounded corners, which look nice, and a barely curved again that I desire to the onerous, straight edges of my iPad Air.

There are little divots, holes, and buttons on three of the 4 sides. Holding to Google’s panorama orientation, you’ll discover two speaker holes and a USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 port on the left, two microphone holes, a quantity rocker, and an influence button with an built-in fingerprint reader on the highest, and speaker holes and (I feel) one other microphone gap on the appropriate. On the underside, there are two rubber bumpers, which I assume will assist it not get scuffed while you relaxation it on a tough floor.

On the again, there’s a single digicam lens within the higher left nook and the pogo pins wanted to go via audio and information to and from the speaker dock, which connects magnetically. There’s additionally a webcam within the higher proper heart of the highest bezel (in panorama mode).

Total, I like the appear and feel of this pill simply as a lot as Apple’s entries, so congratulations to Google on that. And at simply over 1 pound, it feels balanced and light-weight in my palms. However I want it had a built-in kickstand, a function all iPads additionally lack. To get that performance, it is advisable purchase a $79 case from Google. Boo.

As for the speaker dock, it’s shade matched with the pill, which is superb, and I actually like the fabric masking on its sides. It doesn’t do a rattling factor when it’s not connected to the pill, however you may’t even see it when the pill is connected, which makes the display screen seem like floating within the air. Attaching the pill is seamless, because it appears to only suck onto it magically (due to magnets). Detaching takes a little bit of follow, however I’ve discovered that you are able to do so simply and reliably with two palms by pulling up from the underside again of the pill.

Total, the speaker dock is a pleasant addition, albeit one which I want wasn’t pressured on me.


The Pixel Pill’s 10.9-inch 16:10 show is vivid sufficient at 500 nits for indoor use, although the adaptive brightness setting routinely got here in too darkish for my liking, a difficulty I’ve had with Pixel telephones too. It’s a properly detailed show, with a decision of 2560 x 1600 (276 PPI), and it in fact helps each multitouch and USI 2.0 stylus pens, although Google doesn’t promote or present the latter.

The problem, in fact, is the facet ratio. A 16:10 panel works splendidly in panorama mode, and it supplies an affordable expertise for 2 apps side-by-side must you need such a factor. However it’s lower than best in portrait mode: studying apps really feel too tall and skinny, and even most apps which can be personalized for big shows appear to misinterpret the machine on this mode and provide a fundamental, one-column phone-style structure. A square-ish (4:3, 3:2, 6:5) show would have been a significantly better alternative for individuals like me who spend most of their time in portrait mode. And that’s the issue right here: this machine is oriented for panorama utilization, with priority given to what I feel are the much less frequent use instances.

This doesn’t trouble me, however the show is caught at 60 Hz and doesn’t assist excessive refresh charges too. And it’s only a plain-Jane LCD panel, and never OLED, with no assist for HDR.

{Hardware} and specs

The Pixel Pill is powered by the identical Google Tensor G2 processor that powered final yr’s Pixel 7 lineup (and the just lately launched Pixel 7a and Pixel Fold). Mixed with 8 GB of RAM—lower than the Pixel 7 Professional however the identical because the Pixel 7 and 7a—I’ve discovered this chip to be an sufficient however not stellar performer whereas utilizing my customary set of consumption apps. However as is the case on my Pixel 7 Professional, it might probably get scorching underneath load, and although video games run advantageous, I don’t advocate this pill if game-playing is a main exercise.

Bottom bumper

You possibly can configure the Pixel Pill with both 128 or 256 GB of UFS 3.1 storage. That needs to be sufficient for most individuals, however even the bottom storage is greater than I want. As with Pixel telephones, there isn’t a storage growth possibility.


The Pixel Pill ships with Wi-Fi 6 (not 6E) and Bluetooth 5.2 radios, plus an Extremely-Wideband (UWB) chip of unclear utilization. I by no means had any points with connectivity, and I achieved roughly 550 Mbps obtain speeds on my gigabit web connection, roughly the identical as my Pixel 7 Professional. (My Ethernet-based PC hits within the excessive 900s.)

In contrast to with iPad, there isn’t a mobile information connectivity, whilst an possibility.


The Pixel Pill has 4 built-in audio system, which you’ll see on the left and proper of the machine in panorama mode. They sound good, although their placement means your palms will block them when taking part in video games or simply holding the pill usually in panorama mode. And as I’ve seen with my telephones, you can also make them sound even higher by cupping your palms behind them, giving the sound one thing to bounce off of. Be aware that there’s no headphone jack, although you need to use wi-fi earbuds or USB-C headphones.

The Pixel Pill additionally sports activities three microphones, two on the highest and one on the appropriate (in panorama), and it affords noise suppression capabilities to scrub up Zoom calls. I by no means examined that, sorry, however I did use the microphones for “Hey, Google” quite a bit, they usually work advantageous, even from nice distances.

The front-facing webcam is a pointy 8 MP unit that I solely checked out for testing functions, however I believe it could work effectively for video calls if wanted.

Sound output is dramatically enhanced by the speaker dock: the identical music and flicks on the similar quantity provide significantly better bass and depth.


I can’t say that the cameras on this machine matter to me within the slightest, as I’m not going to exit into the world like an imbecile and begin taking pictures with it. However for the document, the front- and rear-facing cameras each provide an 8 MP sensor with an ƒ/2.0 aperture, a hard and fast focus, and an 84-degree subject of view.


With Google having moved to unreliable in-screen fingerprint readers with its Pixel line of telephones, it’s solely pure to fret about how they deal with sign-ins with the Pixel Pill. Happily, they’ve reverted to a fingerprint reader embedded within the energy button, and whereas the recessed nature of that button makes it a bit onerous to search out at first, it really works very effectively. You simply need to relaxation your finger flippantly on it—no urgent—and also you’re in. And it’s also possible to use PIN, sample, and password sign-ins for those who’re a masochist.


It’s onerous to gauge the battery life on a tool like this, and that’s much more true for those who use it as a sensible show as Google intends. However used with out the dock, the Pixel Pill will get about two-thirds of the battery life I see with my two-year-old iPad Air, and that latter machine has been getting noticeably much less battery life in current months than standard. In real-world phrases, that signifies that I’ve needed to cost the Pixel Pill each three days or so, in comparison with each 5 days with the iPad. What’s that in hours? I’m actually undecided, however Google does present varied settings you need to use to optimize the battery, together with adaptive preferences and a battery-saver mode that I didn’t strive. It’s also possible to disable the optimized dock charging and simply cost it to full in order for you.

While you do use the bundled speaker dock, you cost at simply 15 watts, which protects the battery and retains the temperature down. However Google doesn’t embody a USB-C cable or charger with the Pixel Pill. So you have to to pack your individual for those who journey with it. The pill does work advantageous with the PC and iPad chargers I attempted.

Distinctive {hardware} options

Because of its bundled speaker dock, the Pixel Pill does function some distinctive performance. For instance, I typically take heed to a podcast or audiobook when shaving or doing dishes, and I usually achieve this utilizing my cellphone. With the pill, I can get some audio going, dock it, after which benefit from the richer and louder sound and I am going about my work.

It’s also possible to solid content material to the show, which is neat. I’ve carried out this a couple of instances whereas doing dishes, and with each audio and video content material. On this distinctive mode, the Pixel Pill shows a pleasant Now Enjoying view, and you’ll faucet the show to entry some easy playback controls. I simply want I may do that with out the pill: it could be good to solid a podcast or audiobook to the standalone speaker dock.

Software program

I’m a fan of Google’s clear and extremely optimized model of Android, and it transitions to this bigger machine properly.

That is very true of the house display screen, the place sophisticated layouts of icons and widgets appear to work effectively in each panorama and portrait mode one way or the other.

And naturally, there at the moment are options which can be distinctive to massive show gadgets like this, together with a taskbar dock that’s accessed by swiping up from the underside of the display screen and an intuitive technique to place two apps side-by-side onscreen.

Many of the apps I exploit deal with the big show usually, past the weirdness of the tall show in portrait mode.

After all, there are exceptions, and to see what that was like, I put in Instagram, an app I don’t usually use on my iPad. On the Pixel Pill, this app runs in a phone-shaped rectangle in the midst of the show, which is odd in panorama view, and you’ll double-tap the black areas on both facet of it to maneuver it to a facet. It’s also possible to use one other app subsequent to it, although the black bars stay on the facet with the cellphone app (Instagram). It really works, nevertheless it’s not nice. Happily, you may resize a compliant app to take up the empty area too.

While you dock the Pixel Pill, it goes into what’s known as Hub mode, the place it emulates a sensible show. That is configured in Settings, and I’ve acquired it arrange like my devoted good show to indicate a photograph slideshow of household and buddies. However you may show climate, clock, and different experiences right here too, and may work together with it utilizing voice (Google Assistant) and varied reminder and alert varieties. However Google Dwelling customers may wish to go away that app working as a substitute, because it’s a pleasant good house front-end for these in that ecosystem.

Pricing and availability

The Google Pixel Pill is available in porcelain, hazel, and rose colours and begins at $499 for a model with 128 of storage and a bundled and color-matched speaker dock. You possibly can improve to 256 GB of storage for an additional $100, or $599 whole. The agency additionally optionally affords Most popular Care protection for unintentional harm for $5 per 30 days for 2 years, and there are numerous first- and third-party equipment as effectively.

Suggestions and conclusions

The Google Pixel Pill is a compelling Android-based different to the iPad, nevertheless it’s a good higher good show. Actually, I’d love to purchase a sensible show like this.

As a standalone pill, nevertheless, the Pixel Pill comes with a couple of too many compromises, assuming you employ tablets primarily in portrait mode, as I do. The 16:10 show is okay for panorama mode actions however awkward for studying in portrait mode. And it’s too costly: I don’t like being pressured to purchase a speaker dock and would relatively pay much less for simply the pill. That stated, the speaker dock is a pleasant addition, assuming you’re methodical about returning the pill to the dock when not in use.

Total, the Pixel Pill can be a surprisingly high-quality and refined product, and whereas the Android ecosystem nonetheless lags behind the iPad a bit, Google has made large strides right here and I feel most individuals will discover the software program assist to be greater than sufficient.

Finally, what this comes right down to is the way you assume you’ll use the machine. For those who largely use tablets for studying, like me, the Pixel Pill is lower than best. However for those who take pleasure in panorama experiences extra, wish to multitask with two apps side-by-side, and like the thought of hybrid good show utilization, the Pixel Pill is a novel and fascinating possibility.



  • Terrific good show performance
  • Speaker dock utilization is seamless, and affords wonderful sound
  • Multitasking capabilities are apparent and well-designed


  • 16:10 show is awkward for portrait mode studying
  • Forcing prospects to purchase the speaker dock makes the machine too costly
  • Speaker dock is ineffective until the pill is docked
  • Speaker dock makes use of a proprietary charging cable and plug
  • No built-in kickstand