Google Pixel Pill evaluate: Intelligent equipment remodel an unexciting pill

The Pixel Pill is like an emotionally unstable companion. On good days, it’s dependable and useful, all the time able to pay attention and assist me. Once in a while, although, I really feel gaslit and aggravated by its inconsistencies and blended messages. This is likely to be as a result of Google’s newest pill/smart-display hybrid straddles two product classes: one at which it excels and one other the place it’s simply sufficient. As a wise show, the Pixel Pill principally shines. It has a helpful dashboard, an easy-to-read interface and spectacular audio high quality. As a pill, it’s respectable, however doesn’t blow me away. Throw within the case that Google made although, and it instantly turns into extra versatile. At $500 with an included charging speaker base, the Pixel Pill is a compelling marriage of two merchandise with an affordable worth.

{Hardware} and design

If we do the maths, since you should purchase further speaker docks for $120 every, this implies the pill mainly prices $380. However it definitely doesn’t really feel like a sub-$400 system. Whereas the nano-ceramic coating isn’t excellent to take a look at, it lends a glass-like sensation to the again that makes it really feel costlier. Impressively, the Pixel Pill manages to weigh simply 1.09 kilos (493 grams), making it lighter than the Galaxy Tab S8 and the OnePlus Pad. Although, it’s nonetheless heavier than the iPad Air.


Google Google Pixel Pill

Google Google Pixel Tablet


  • Helpful charging speaker dock
  • Intelligent idea
  • Good good dwelling options and controls


  • Awkward digital camera angle for video calls
  • Some software program quirks

The evaluate unit Google despatched was the Rose colour choice, which is nice and inoffensive. It’s essentially the most thrilling out of the three colours (black and white being the opposite two, in order that’s not saying a lot), and it blends (or blands) nicely with my residing house. I desire the inexperienced hue of the OnePlus Pad, but it surely’s value noting that after I handed the Pixel Pill to my colleague Nathan Ingraham, who lately reviewed the $480 OnePlus Pad, he thought Google’s system felt extra premium.

Side view of the Pixel Tablet on a walnut dresser, showing the USB-C port on its left edge. It's docked on the speaker base, with its protective case on.

Photograph by Cherlynn Low / Engadget

What actually units the Pixel Pill aside from different current Android slates is the truth that it’s designed to connect to a charging speaker base and double as a wise show. Now, let’s not neglect different units do that, primarily quite a few Amazon and Lenovo tablets with a Present mode that turns them into Alexa-enabled screens. However it’s a primary for the Google ecosystem.

Earlier than I get to how the Pixel Pill works as a wise show, although, a fast phrase on its look. When you’ve seen one Google House product, you’ve mainly seen all of them. The Pixel Pill, when docked on the speaker, seems virtually precisely just like the Nest Hub Max. It has the identical rounded rectangle form, white bezel surrounding the 11-inch display and the bottom has an identical mesh material masking to the remainder of the corporate’s good dwelling merchandise. Once more, it’s inoffensive and nice however doesn’t stir my coronary heart the way in which a West Elm or Article decoration does. (I do know, I’m fundamental.)

As a wise show

I used to be excited to stay the Pixel Pill on the chest of drawers (from Article) in my bed room so I may watch reveals on it as a substitute of getting to purchase a second TV or play them on my cellphone. Google cautioned towards having a number of Assistant-enabled units in a single room, and I ought to have disconnected the Nest Mini speaker I already had on my nightstand. However it didn’t create too many issues throughout the few days I had them each in there – after I mentioned “Hey Google” whereas standing nearer the small speaker, the amount of the video enjoying on the Pixel Pill dipped so I could possibly be heard extra clearly.

After every week, I can now confidently take away the Nest Mini. Not solely is the Pixel Pill adept at listening to my instructions, it additionally affords a lot better audio high quality and is just extra helpful. That’s form of an apparent assertion – after all, a show could be extra versatile than a speaker alone. However I’m shocked on the enchancment in sound from the speaker dock, because it’s not a lot larger than the Mini. It offered ample bass in my countless binging of The Weeknd and Jay Chou playlists, whereas trebles and voices sounded crisp.

The Pixel Tablet on a walnut dresser, with various items behind it. The top two drawers are in view.

Photograph by Cherlynn Low / Engadget

I’m not the form of individual to hover in entrance of a wise show to fiddle with my related dwelling controls, nor do I’ve folks over usually sufficient that I would like some form of guest-friendly interface to activate my lights. For many who do, although, the Pixel Pill’s Hub Mode is probably going very helpful. Tapping on the home icon on the backside left of the lock display brings up a dashboard exhibiting all units in your house, and also you’ll have the ability to monitor your digital camera feeds, swap lamps on and extra. Visitors can even have the ability to ask the Assistant to set timers, alarms, play music and extra without having to unlock your pill, so long as you’ve set the permissions correctly.

Lack of tourists apart, it’s straightforward to see issues on the Pixel Pill’s display every time I set foot in my room, irrespective of how darkish or brilliant it’s. At evening, the show goes right into a dim mode that reveals the time in giant font however isn’t so brilliant that it burns your retinas. Since my dresser is within the furthest nook away from the door, it’s good to not should squint to see information just like the time, countdowns or the temperature. And like a real narcissist, I additionally set the Pixel Pill to point out a rotating stream of images of my favourite folks (principally me).

Not that any of that is distinctive to the Pixel Pill, by the way in which. The Nest Hub Max has equally bigger fonts for timers and different information, and the photograph body function is mainly a staple of any good show.

Again to the primary factor I needed to make use of this pill for, although: as a TV substitute. Because it’s the primary pill to be a Chromecast receiver, the Pixel Pill will be managed remotely along with your cellphone because it streams from apps like YouTube, Disney+, Hulu and extra. In fact, different bigger good shows just like the Nest Hub Max can even do that, and since this doesn’t work on the Pixel Pill when it’s not docked, it’s not likely a pill you possibly can solid to. We’re getting actually technical with definitions right here, however in sensible use, it means you possibly can’t solid to the Pixel Pill when you’ve gotten it hanging or propped up elsewhere in your house, for instance. It’s not an issue, but it surely limits the flexibility of this function.

Side view of the Pixel Tablet, showing two photos on its screen as part of the photo frame feature.

Photograph by Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Apparently, Netflix doesn’t assist Chromecasting to the pill, in contrast to the opposite apps. It’s all of the more bizarre contemplating it really works on Google’s different bigger good shows. I additionally encountered a bug the place YouTube refused to solid movies from a selected channel, saying they weren’t allowed after I was in Restricted mode. However not one of the units I used to be logged into had that setting enabled. Different reviewers I spoke to didn’t have this subject, so this is likely to be a bug particular to my setup.

It did infuriate me although, as a result of it’s simpler to Chromecast my favourite commentary movies since I can skip advertisements or add extra titles with out having to tug myself off the bed. Sadly, I needed to do exactly that since I ended up enjoying them through the native YouTube app. My hatred for this bug grew every time I needed to get out and hit “Skip advertisements” on the display. (No, you gained’t persuade me to get YouTube Premium.) This small bug apart, although, Chromecasting is a pleasant contact on the Pixel Pill, even when it isn’t distinctive.

I’ve a number of Google House merchandise in my condo, and a few of my points with the Pixel Pill as a wise show are ecosystem-wide as a substitute of particular to the system. For example, after I arrange an Automation by the House app, I needed it in order that saying “I’m dwelling” would begin a playlist on the pair of Nest Audios in my lounge. Nonetheless, in the mean time solely the system that heard you will be the one enjoying the music. You may’t determine which of your related audio system does the motion.

Relying on the way in which your private home is about up, like when you have a Mini in your entryway and like your beefier lounge system to be the output, this is likely to be irritating. Fortunately for me, the right units heard me more often than not, and I virtually all the time received my desired final result.

The Pixel Tablet on a walnut dresser showing the smart home dashboard in Hub Mode.

Photograph by Cherlynn Low / Engadget

That’s extra of a grievance about Google’s good dwelling system as a substitute of simply the Pixel Pill, which frankly I’m fairly pleased with. Not solely is it a great related show, but it surely’s additionally helpful as a second display when sat subsequent to my laptop computer.

Because it runs full Android, I can have apps like Solitaire or Slack open on it whereas I work on a evaluate. You may also take video calls by Meet, Zoom, Groups or extra, utilizing the 8-megapixel webcam up high. The angle at which the speaker dock props up the pill makes for a really unflattering shot, although. To mitigate that, Google in-built an auto-framing function that kicks in everytime you take a Meet name whereas related to the bottom. It solely works with Meet, although, so that you’ll should depend on third-party apps to supply their very own options.

I discovered that eradicating the pill and propping it up with the kickstand on Google’s case made for the most effective view. The truth is, I’m just about in love with this accent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *