Notebookcheck

Google Pixel C Tablet Review

Manuel Masiero (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 02/07/2016

Notebook ambitions. Powerful SoC, good display, a brand-new Android 6.0 and even an optional keyboard: The 10.2-inch Google Pixel C wants to compete with high-end tablets and it can actually leave a very good impression in our review.

For the original German review, see here.

Google tries something new with the Pixel C, both in terms of design and production. The Pixel C is equipped with a 10.2-inch display as well as Android 6.0 and is, contrary to the Nexus tablets, designed by Google itself. It also stands out from the competition with its hybrid design, because you can just use the tablet like a common notebook with the optional keyboard dock. The latter uses a Bluetooth connection and is attached to the tablet via a magnetic strip. This might sound like a fragile connection, but it turned out to be very strong during the review. The keyboard did not fall off when we carried, tilted or bumped the tablet and you will need some force to detach it.

The Google Pixel C features high-end components. It leaves a very classy impression thanks to its nice chassis made of anodized aluminum and the high-res screen (2560x1800 pixels) with a high pixel density of 308 PPI. Underneath the metal bonnet are 3 GB RAM and the very fast SoC Nvidia Tegra X1 including a Maxwell GPU. The good connectivity is completed by a Wi-Fi module with 802.11ac support, a USB Type-C port as well as an 8 MP main camera.

We compare the Google Pixel C with the Apple iPad Air 2Google Nexus 9Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE and the Sony Xperia Z4.

Google Pixel C (Pixel Series)
Processor
Nvidia Tegra X1 1.9 GHz
Memory
3072 MB 
, LPDDR4
Display
10.2 inch 2:1.4, 2560x1800 pixel, LTPS, 308 ppi, glossy: yes
Storage
64 GB eMMC Flash, 64 GB 
, 52.9 GB free
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 0 USB 3.1 Gen2, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm stereo jack, NFC, Sensors: Ambient light sensor, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Compass, Hall sensor, Proximity sensor, USB-OTG
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7 x 242 x 179 ( = 0.28 x 9.53 x 7.05 in)
Battery
34 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Camera
Primary Camera: 8 MPix video recordings up to 1080p
Secondary Camera: 2 MPix video recordings up to 1080p
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo speakers, Keyboard: virtual, Keyboard Light: yes, Power adapter, 24 Months Warranty, fanless
Weight
517 g ( = 18.24 oz / 1.14 pounds), Power Supply: 35 g ( = 1.23 oz / 0.08 pounds)
Price
600 Euro

 

Working For Notebookcheck

Are you a loyal reader of notebookcheck? Are you a techie who knows how to write? Then join our Team!

Especially wanted:
Review Editor
 - Details here
News Editor - Details here

German-English-Translator - Details here

Case

The Google Pixel C is 7 mm (~0.3 in) thin and slightly smaller than a DIN-A4 paper with a footprint of 24.2 x 17.9 cm (~9.5 x 7.0 in). Thanks to its chassis, made of anodized aluminum, the 10.2-inch tablet feels just as sophisticated as the tablets from Apple, which are always lauded for their tactile feel. It also looks very nice with its matte surfaces, the simple design and the slightly rounded edges. This also applies to the optional keyboard, which features anodized aluminum. The metal unibody makes both components extremely sturdy. We could only slightly warp the Pixel C with a lot of force, but there was no creaking or the like. Both the power button and the volume rocker are well integrated and very responsive, even though they are a bit small when you consider the dimensions of the 10.2-inch tablet.

Similar to the Chromebook, you get a strip with four LEDs at the back. They are illuminated in green, yellow, red and blue when the tablet is turned on. They will also light up in green when you tap on the display twice while the device is turned off or in standby to indicate the charging status of the battery. 

Google equipped the Pixel C with a 34.2 Wh battery, so the 10.2-inch tablet is slightly heavier than the Apple iPad Air 2 with a 27.6 Wh module (444 grams/~15.7 oz) at 517 grams (~18.2 oz), for example. But the difference is not huge, so the handling of the Pixel C is still very comfortable.

Google offers two versions of the Pixel C. The 32 GB model retails for around 550 Euros (~$617), while the 64 GB model is 100 Euros (~$112) more expensive. You should actually think about the storage capacity because the Google tablet does not have a microSD slot, so you cannot expand the storage. The Pixel C keyboard, which tips the scale at 400 grams (~14 oz) and is just as sophisticated as the tablet, costs another 170 Euros (~$191). 

The components as well as the port equipment are independent of the storage configuration. The Google tablet is equipped with the high-end SoC Nvidia Tegra X1 in combination with a Maxwell GPU, which has 256 shaders. The ARM quad-core is currently one of the fastest tablet SoCs and can compete with the Samsung Exynos 5433 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 810. The amount of memory is also very generous at 3 GB.

The Google Pixel C sports a USB Type-C port to charge the device and transfer files. A data cable, however, is not included in the box, and the charging cable is fixed at the PSU, so you can only use it to charge the battery.

Left: Volume rocker, speaker, USB Type-C
Left: Volume rocker, speaker, USB Type-C
Right: Speaker, 3.5 mm stereo jack
Right: Speaker, 3.5 mm stereo jack
Top: Power button
Top: Power button
Bottom: No ports
Bottom: No ports

Software

The operating system of the Google Pixel C is Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. You also get Google services like Chrome, Gmail, Drive, Hangouts and YouTube. The manufacturer waives additional or special apps, so that only around 400 MB were used on our 64 GB review unit. The operating system occupies much more space, only 52.9 GB are available for your own files and apps after the initial setup. There is no microSD slot, so you cannot expand the storage.

Contrary to the predecessor, the new Android version 6 comes with many new features, including an improved power-saving mode, optimized app performance thanks to Android Runtime (ART) as well as more privacy and security when you execute apps. A summary about all new features is available here.

The Google Pixel C does not have a GPS module.
The Google Pixel C does not have a GPS module.

Communication & GPS 

Connections with the Internet and other devices can be established via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1+HS. The latter stands for High-speed and enables the tablet to use an additional data channel based on Wi-Fi in addition to the Bluetooth connection to accelerate data transfers. The Wi-Fi module supports the fast 802.11ac standard both in 2.4 and 5 GHz networks. There are two antennas to receive and transmit each (MIMO 2x2). The Pixel C delivered the expected high performance and the signal is not weaker even with 1 or 2 walls between the device and the router. WWAN and GPS are not available on the Pixel C, you will have to use tethering via smartphone instead, for example.

There are not many settings in the camera menu.
There are not many settings in the camera menu.

Cameras & Multimedia

Google equipped the Google Pixel C with two cameras: a 2.1 MP webcam in the upper display frame (center) as well as an 8 MP main camera, which is slightly hidden in the upper right corner at the back. The latter takes pictures at 3280x2460 pixels and 1080p videos, just like the webcam. Both also use the same camera menu, where you can only change some settings besides the resolution. Your options are pretty much limited to a panorama and macro mode, a manual exposure as well as a timer. The tablet does not have an LED flash.

While the webcam works well for video chats and selfies, we have higher expectations for the main camera. The Google Pixel C cannot quite keep up with very good cameras like the sensor of the Apple iPhone 6S Plus, for example, but takes surprisingly sharp and high-quality pictures for a tablet that convince with high contrast and vivid colors. The quality suffers in low-light situations though, where the pictures are noisy and therefore not very sharp when you have a closer look.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the zoom step. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
Google Pixel C: Screenshot of ColorChecker colors. The original color is displayed in the lower half of every patch.
Google Pixel C: Screenshot of ColorChecker colors. The original color is displayed in the lower half of every patch.

Color Accuracy & Sharpness

We also check the quality of the 8 MP camera at the back of the Google Pixel C under controlled lighting conditions. We take a picture of the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport and compare the results with the original colors. The results are not edited (no manual white balance) afterwards. The Google Tablet is pretty close to the original in terms of white balance and the colors. Blue shades on the other hand are a problem for the Pixel C – they clearly differ from the original and are sometimes too bright, sometimes too rich.

Similar to the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport, we also take a picture of our test chart under controlled lighting conditions. The sharpness of the Google Pixel C is very good. If you look at the section (original size) from the center, you can see some drawbacks like the slightly frayed and blurry edges at the transition of black and white picture contents. Still, the issues are very small.

Test chart
Test chart
Crop from the center
Crop from the center

Accessories & Warranty

Google ships the Pixel C with a quick-start guide as well as a 15-watt power adapter. The USB connector (Type-C) is directly attached to the PSU, so you can only use it to charge the tablet. A USB Type-C cable to transfer data is not included.

Google offers several accessories for the Pixel C in its online shop, including the Pixel C keyboard for 170 Euros (~$191). You can also get a Chromecast adapter or the Nexus Player to stream videos. The missing USB Type-C cable is also available and retails for almost 15 Euros (~$17). Google grants a warranty of 24 months for the Pixel C.

Input Devices & Handling

As you can expect from a fast tablet, the Google Pixel C executes inputs immediately, it does not matter if you use the touchscreen or the power and volume buttons. Apps launch without noticeable delays, menus and settings are instantly shown – in short, the handling of the Pixel C is a joy.

If you decide to buy the Pixel C keyboard, you will get an interesting piece of hardware. The box of the keyboard also includes a comprehensive step-by-step manual, which can actually be helpful, because you cannot see a docking port and it is not clear how you connect the tablet and the keyboard at first. The solution is the magnet inside the foldable stand above the numbers row, which extends over the whole width of the keyboard. As soon as you hold the tablet against it, it will be automatically aligned by the magnets. Only one docking position is possible and the webcam has to be at the top. Once both devices are connected, you will have to enter a six-digit passcode from the Android system on the keyboard (only once), so it can communicate with the tablet.

Thanks to the foldable stand, you can just use the tablet like a usual notebook display. It does not matter if you lift the Pixel C at the keyboard or the tablet, the magnet will always provide a strong connection. The foldable stand is also very sturdy. Similar to a notebook, you can also close the display. In this case, the 0.5-Wh battery inside the keyboard will be charged. The other way around – the charging of the tablet via keyboard – is not possible, so the keyboard will actually slightly reduce the runtime of the Pixel C.

The keyboard convinces with conveniently large keys, a precise pressure point and a good feedback. If you have to type longer texts, you will get a good input. However, the Pixel C keyboard does not result in a real notebook, because you still have to use the touch controls. The keyboard does not have a Home or Back key for the navigation in Android menus. After a certain time-out, it sometimes happened that the keyboard needed one or two seconds before it accepted inputs – the Bluetooth connection was probably re-established.

The virtual keyboard in landscape mode ...
The virtual keyboard in landscape mode ...
... and portrait mode.
... and portrait mode.

Display

The 10.2-inch display of the Pixel C has a resolution of 2560x1800 pixels, which results in a pixel density of 308 PPI and a razor-sharp picture. The Apple iPad Air 2 cannot keep up with that, but still manages very respectable results with 2048x1536 pixels and a pixel density of 264 PPI.

The unusual aspect ratio of the Pixel C – the square root of 2 – is similar to a sheet of paper according to the DIN-A standard. The display surface of the Google tablet is pretty much identical to DIN-A5 – very handy if you want to read texts or look at documents. In return, there will be black bars at the top and the bottom when you watch videos.

We can measure an average luminance of 509.8 cd/m² for the LC display, which is very high and it is therefore easy to use outdoors. By the way, the same applies for all the other comparison devices as well. The Sony Xperia Z4 is closest to the Google tablet, but not quite as bright. Another advantage of the Pixel C over its rivals is the very even brightness distribution of 91 percent. A black value of 0.39 cd/m² and a contrast ratio of 1249:1 are also great results and you can benefit from very vivid colors and deep blacks.

513
cd/m²
509
cd/m²
525
cd/m²
503
cd/m²
487
cd/m²
504
cd/m²
516
cd/m²
498
cd/m²
533
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 533 cd/m² Average: 509.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 487 cd/m²
Contrast: 1249:1 (Black: 0.39 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.24 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 7.95 | - Ø
Gamma: 2.16
Google Pixel C
Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, X1, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Apple iPad Air 2
PowerVR GXA6850, A8X, 128 GB eMMC Flash
Google Nexus 9
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1 (Denver), 32 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Screen
-0%
-12%
29%
-25%
Brightness
510
427
-16%
411
-19%
357
-30%
457
-10%
Brightness Distribution
91
92
1%
92
1%
86
-5%
92
1%
Black Level *
0.39
0.61
-56%
0.77
-97%
0.46
-18%
Contrast
1249
693
-45%
558
-55%
1024
-18%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.24
2.86
45%
3.17
40%
1.78
66%
8.69
-66%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
7.95
2.37
70%
3.29
59%
1.38
83%
11.24
-41%
Gamma
2.16 111%
2.43 99%
2.39 100%
2.24 107%
2.17 111%
CCT
6565 99%
6941 94%
6746 96%
6366 102%
9508 68%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
88
62
98
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
99

* ... smaller is better

We use the X-Rite photo spectrometer X-Rite i1Pro 2 and the CalMAN software to evaluate the color accuracy of the Pixel C, but the results are not that good. You can expect the deviations of the colors and the grayscale of a high-end tablet to not be higher than 3. The DeltaE deviations of the Pixel C, however, are too high for the colors at 5.24 and way too high for the grayscale at 7.95. The comparison devices like the Apple iPad Air 2Google Nexus 9 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE show better results. Still, you can hardly see the differences in practice. The color temperature on the other hand is very good, because 6565 K are just slightly above the ideal value of 6500 K.

ColorChecker
ColorChecker
Colorspace
Colorspace
Grayscale
Grayscale
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweeps

Thanks to an average luminance of more than 500 cd/m², the Google Pixel C can definitely be used outdoors, where the luminance should be higher than 200 cd/m². The glossy screen can still be a problem under direct sunlight. It convinces with high viewing angle stability in return. You can always see the display content, even from extreme angles, only the brightness will be slightly reduced in this case. The good color presentation, however, is not affected.

Outdoor use
Outdoor use
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
36 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 12.4 ms rise
↘ 23.6 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 89 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (27.5 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
42 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 19 ms rise
↘ 23 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 250 (maximum) ms. » 49 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (42.5 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 59 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 446 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 10420) Hz was measured.

Performance

The Nvidia Tegra X1 inside the Google Pixel C is a powerful ARM SoC, which uses a combination of four frugal Cortex-A53 cores and four faster Cortex-A57 cores. Contrary to the Samsung Exynos 5433 or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994 in the Sony Xperia Z4, the Nvidia chip never uses all eight cores at the same time, but either the Cortex-A53 or the Cortex-A57 cores. Handy side effect: Because of this separation, the Tegra X1 is supposed to be twice as efficient as the Samsung Exynos 5433 according to Nvidia.

Our benchmarks show that the SoC architecture of the Google tablet does not have a disadvantage compared to the Samsung and Qualcomm SoCs. All in all, the Pixel C performs much better than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE (Samsung Exynos 5433) and Sony Xperia Z4 (Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994) in the synthetic benchmarks. The internal duel against the Google Nexus 9 is much more interesting, because the two tablets are almost identical in many benchmarks. The Pixel C cannot establish a real advantage over the Apple iPad Air 2 or the Nvidia Shield though – sometimes they are on par, sometimes one of them is slightly ahead. However, the Google Pixel C does not stand a chance against the Apple iPad Pro in many benchmarks.

3DMark - 1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
40665 Points ∼22%
Apple iPad Air 2
21707 Points ∼12% -47%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
33812 Points ∼18% -17%
Google Nexus 9
26455 Points ∼14% -35%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
19867 Points ∼11% -51%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
24566 Points ∼13% -40%
Geekbench 3
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
4216 Points ∼14%
Apple iPad Air 2
4530 Points ∼15% +7%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
5419 Points ∼19% +29%
Google Nexus 9
3154 Points ∼11% -25%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
4221 Points ∼14% 0%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
3949 Points ∼14% -6%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
1411 Points ∼30%
Apple iPad Air 2
1816 Points ∼38% +29%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
3200 Points ∼67% +127%
Google Nexus 9
1879 Points ∼39% +33%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
1247 Points ∼26% -12%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
1298 Points ∼27% -8%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
69 fps ∼6%
Apple iPad Air 2
70.4 fps ∼6% +2%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
163.2 fps ∼14% +137%
Google Nexus 9
57.8 fps ∼5% -16%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet LTE P1761
65 fps ∼6% -6%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
38 fps ∼3% -45%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
54 fps ∼5% -22%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
39 fps ∼11%
Apple iPad Air 2
52.1 fps ∼14% +34%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
59.3 fps ∼16% +52%
Google Nexus 9
43.4 fps ∼12% +11%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet LTE P1761
56 fps ∼15% +44%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
29 fps ∼8% -26%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
37 fps ∼10% -5%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
40 fps ∼7%
Apple iPad Air 2
37.6 fps ∼7% -6%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
80.1 fps ∼15% +100%
Google Nexus 9
31 fps ∼6% -22%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet LTE P1761
32 fps ∼6% -20%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
17 fps ∼3% -57%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
26 fps ∼5% -35%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
22 fps ∼20%
Apple iPad Air 2
27 fps ∼24% +23%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
33.3 fps ∼30% +51%
Google Nexus 9
22.5 fps ∼20% +2%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet LTE P1761
29 fps ∼26% +32%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
12 fps ∼11% -45%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
16 fps ∼14% -27%
Smartbench 2012
Gaming Index (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
4497 points ∼98%
Google Nexus 9
4435 points ∼96% -1%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
4489 points ∼98% 0%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
4138 points ∼90% -8%
Productivity Index (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
9834 points ∼52%
Google Nexus 9
3910 points ∼21% -60%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
12400 points ∼66% +26%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
7118 points ∼38% -28%
AnTuTu Benchmark v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
90568 Points ∼49%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
184346 Points ∼100% +104%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet LTE P1761
87000 Points ∼47% -4%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
884 Points ∼57%
Apple iPad Air 2
1263 Points ∼82% +43%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
1091 Points ∼71% +23%
Google Nexus 9
516 Points ∼33% -42%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
648 Points ∼42% -27%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
758 Points ∼49% -14%
Graphics (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
6355 Points ∼74%
Apple iPad Air 2
4920 Points ∼57% -23%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
8422 Points ∼98% +33%
Google Nexus 9
8602 Points ∼100% +35%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
1385 Points ∼16% -78%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
2683 Points ∼31% -58%
Memory (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
868 Points ∼23%
Apple iPad Air 2
832 Points ∼22% -4%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
2027 Points ∼53% +134%
Google Nexus 9
1509 Points ∼39% +74%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
590 Points ∼15% -32%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
954 Points ∼25% +10%
System (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
2724 Points ∼41%
Apple iPad Air 2
4104 Points ∼62% +51%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
6230 Points ∼95% +129%
Google Nexus 9
1729 Points ∼26% -37%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
2867 Points ∼44% +5%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
2488 Points ∼38% -9%
Overall (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
1909 Points ∼58%
Apple iPad Air 2
1967 Points ∼60% +3%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
3282 Points ∼100% +72%
Google Nexus 9
1845 Points ∼56% -3%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
1103 Points ∼34% -42%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
1482 Points ∼45% -22%
Basemark ES 3.1 / Metal - offscreen Overall Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
764 Points ∼41%
Apple iPad Air 2
754 Points ∼40% -1%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
1871 Points ∼100% +145%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet LTE P1761 (11.8 fps offscreen)
665 Points ∼36% -13%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
0 Points ∼0% -100%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
6858 Points ∼84%
Google Nexus 9 (Android 5.0 Lollipop)
5841 Points ∼72% -15%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
5565 Points ∼68% -19%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
4441 Points ∼55% -35%

Legend

 
Google Pixel C Nvidia Tegra X1, NVIDIA Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
Apple iPad Air 2 Apple A8X, PowerVR GXA6850, 128 GB eMMC Flash
 
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 Apple A9X, Apple A9X / PowerVR Series 7XT, Apple 128 GB (iPad Pro 12.9 NVMe)
 
Google Nexus 9 Nvidia Tegra K1 (Denver), NVIDIA Tegra K1 Kepler GPU, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
NVIDIA Shield Tablet LTE P1761 Nvidia Tegra K1, NVIDIA Tegra K1 Kepler GPU, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE Samsung Exynos 5433 Octa, ARM Mali-T760 MP6, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash

The browser performance is a strength of the Apple tablets. The Google Pixel C and the tablets from Nvidia, Samsung and Sony are pretty similar, while the Apple iPad Air 2 and the Apple iPad Pro in particular are far ahead.

Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, X1, 64 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 44.0.2403.133)
833 ms * ∼21%
Apple iPad Air 2
PowerVR GXA6850, A8X, 128 GB eMMC Flash (Safari 8.0 Mobile)
291.1 ms * ∼7% +65%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 128 GB (iPad Pro 12.9 NVMe) (Safari Mobile 9.0)
181 ms * ∼4% +78%
Google Nexus 9
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1 (Denver), 32 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 38 Lollipop)
919.3 ms * ∼23% -10%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 45)
1016.2 ms * ∼25% -22%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 39)
553 ms * ∼14% +34%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, X1, 64 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 44.0.2403.133)
7563 Points ∼17%
Apple iPad Air 2
PowerVR GXA6850, A8X, 128 GB eMMC Flash (Safari 9.0 Mobile)
10512 Points ∼23% +39%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 128 GB (iPad Pro 12.9 NVMe) (Safari Mobile 9.0)
19852 Points ∼44% +162%
Google Nexus 9
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1 (Denver), 32 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 38 Lollipop)
8210 Points ∼18% +9%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 45)
6885 Points ∼15% -9%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 39)
7790 Points ∼17% +3%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, X1, 64 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 44.0.2403.133)
5533.1 ms * ∼9%
Apple iPad Air 2
PowerVR GXA6850, A8X, 128 GB eMMC Flash (Safari 9.0 Mobile)
2396 ms * ∼4% +57%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 128 GB (iPad Pro 12.9 NVMe) (Safari Mobile 9.0)
1498.8 ms * ∼3% +73%
Google Nexus 9
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1 (Denver), 32 GB eMMC Flash
4030.5 ms * ∼7% +27%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 45)
6483.2 ms * ∼11% -17%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 39)
4064 ms * ∼7% +27%
Google V8 Ver. 7 - Google V8 Ver. 7 Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, X1, 64 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 44.0.2403.133)
8439 Points ∼43%
Apple iPad Air 2
PowerVR GXA6850, A8X, 128 GB eMMC Flash (Safari 8.0 Mobile)
9355 Points ∼48% +11%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 128 GB (iPad Pro 12.9 NVMe) (Safari Mobile 9.0)
19567 Points ∼100% +132%
Google Nexus 9
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1 (Denver), 32 GB eMMC Flash
10142 Points ∼52% +20%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 45)
7197 Points ∼37% -15%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 39)
7177 Points ∼37% -15%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, X1, 64 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 44.0.2403.133)
128 Points ∼23%
Apple iPad Air 2
PowerVR GXA6850, A8X, 128 GB eMMC Flash (Safari 9.0 Mobile)
158 Points ∼28% +23%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9
A9X / PowerVR GT7xxx, A9X, Apple 128 GB (iPad Pro 12.9 NVMe) (Safari Mobile 9.0)
215 Points ∼38% +68%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet LTE P1761
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1, 32 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 42)
106 Points ∼19% -17%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 45)
79 Points ∼14% -38%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash (Chrome 39)
93 Points ∼17% -27%

* ... smaller is better

Both read and write data transfers on the Pixel C are fast, but, except for the sequential writes, not faster than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE or the Sony Xperia Z4, which is a bit faster in general. While the Nvidia Shield is at the bottom of the ranking, the Google Nexus 9 wins the comparison and manages very good results in respect of random read and write operations in particular.

AndroBench 3-5
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, X1, 64 GB eMMC Flash
10.08 MB/s ∼13%
Google Nexus 9
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1 (Denver), 32 GB eMMC Flash
14.49 MB/s ∼19% +44%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet LTE P1761
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1, 32 GB eMMC Flash
2.5 (min: 1.9) MB/s ∼3% -75%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
9.82 MB/s ∼13% -3%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
13.6 MB/s ∼18% +35%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, X1, 64 GB eMMC Flash
19.96 MB/s ∼15%
Google Nexus 9
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1 (Denver), 32 GB eMMC Flash
36.22 MB/s ∼26% +81%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet LTE P1761
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1, 32 GB eMMC Flash
12.5 (min: 12) MB/s ∼9% -37%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
25.56 MB/s ∼19% +28%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
20 MB/s ∼15% 0%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, X1, 64 GB eMMC Flash
109.38 MB/s ∼58%
Google Nexus 9
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1 (Denver), 32 GB eMMC Flash
75.49 MB/s ∼40% -31%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet LTE P1761
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1, 32 GB eMMC Flash
44 (min: 40) MB/s ∼23% -60%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
49.37 MB/s ∼26% -55%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
81 MB/s ∼43% -26%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Google Pixel C
Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, X1, 64 GB eMMC Flash
154.29 MB/s ∼26%
Google Nexus 9
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1 (Denver), 32 GB eMMC Flash
279.16 MB/s ∼47% +81%
NVIDIA Shield Tablet LTE P1761
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1, 32 GB eMMC Flash
105 (min: 105) MB/s ∼18% -32%
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
248.24 MB/s ∼42% +61%
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
256 MB/s ∼43% +66%

Games

Modern Android games can always be played smoothly on the Google Pixel C. Even more demanding titles like Real Racing 3 never have problems with stutters, delays or the like, even at the highest settings. The gaming experience is really enjoyable in combination with the precise position sensor.

No challenge: Every game runs smoothly, starting with the simple Temple Run 2 ...
No challenge: Every game runs smoothly, starting with the simple Temple Run 2 ...
... up to complex titles like Real Racing 3.
... up to complex titles like Real Racing 3.
Discussion

Emissions

Temperature

The Pixel C only warms up to 42.3 °C (108.14 °F) under maximum load, so the tablet never feels uncomfortable. The temperature is even clearly under the 30 °C (86 °F) mark while idling and we can only measure 27.9 °C (82.22 °F) on average.

Max. Load
 40.1 °C31.3 °C28.9 °C 
 42.3 °C31.3 °C29.5 °C 
 35.7 °C32.9 °C32.2 °C 
Maximum: 42.3 °C
Average: 33.8 °C
29 °C33.5 °C34.9 °C
28.3 °C33.6 °C36 °C
29.5 °C31.5 °C33.5 °C
Maximum: 36 °C
Average: 32.2 °C
Power Supply (max.)  38.8 °C | Room Temperature 21.8 °C | Voltcraft IR-260

Speakers

The stereo speakers of the Pixel C are subtly located at the thin sides and are only noticeable by five thin openings each. The sound of the tablet is pretty good, and does not distort at the highest volume of 90 dB(A). Similar to the majority of mobile devices, the high and medium tones are too pronounced. This is also visible at the frequency diagram when you look at the Pink Noise frequencies between 16 and 16,000 Hz. You cannot hear deep tones, because they are just overlapped by the higher frequency on the Pixel C. The sound is much more balanced via headphones, but they are not included.

Pink Noise frequencies Pixel C: You cannot hear deep frequencies.
Pink Noise frequencies Pixel C: You cannot hear deep frequencies.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The Pixel C consumes quite a lot of power for a 10-inch tablet. It needs almost 14 watts under load, which is much more than the Google Nexus 9 at just 9.2 watts, for example. It is more frugal than its predecessor while idling in return at 4.3 watts and even beats the frugal Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE (4.5 watts). We are eager to see the battery runtimes.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.07 / 0.8 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 1.82 / 4.26 / 4.33 Watt
Load midlight 9.82 / 13.99 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Gossen Metrahit Energy

Battery Runtime

Setting for 150 cd/m²
Setting for 150 cd/m²

The battery runtimes of the Pixel C are really good; none of the comparison devices can keep up with the stamina of the tablet from Google. We can see the biggest advantages in the realistic Wi-Fi test, where the display brightness is adjusted to 150 cd/m². With 10:38 hours, it lasts almost two hours longer than the Sony Xperia Z4 and will easily manage a whole business day. It takes about 5.5 hours until the battery of the Pixel C is fully recharged. The Pixel C is also unbeaten in the video test and even sets a new record at 12:20 hours. Only the Sony Xperia Z4 can keep up pretty well (11:45 hours). The Apple iPad Air 2 is quite far behind at 9:22 hours.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
34h 50min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
10h 38min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
12h 20min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 54min
Google Pixel C
Tegra X1 Maxwell GPU, X1, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Apple iPad Air 2
PowerVR GXA6850, A8X, 128 GB eMMC Flash
Google Nexus 9
GeForce ULP K1 (Tegra K1 Kepler GPU), K1 (Denver), 32 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 LTE
Mali-T760 MP6, 5433 Octa, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Battery Runtime
-26%
-22%
-17%
-22%
Load
294
212
-28%
224
-24%
291
-1%
166
-44%
WiFi
630
574
WiFi v1.3
638
393
-38%
525
-18%
H.264
740
562
-24%
597
-19%
651
-12%
705
-5%

Pro

+ great design
+ sophisticated materials
+ Android 6.0
+ fast SoC
+ 3 GB RAM
+ USB Type-C
+ very bright display
+ high viewing angle stability
+ good camera in daylight
+ long battery runtimes

Cons

- no microSD slot
- no GPS
- no WWAN
- camera noise in low-light situations
- keyboard costs 170 Euros extra

Verdict

In Review: Google Pixel C. Test model courtesy of Google Germany.
In Review: Google Pixel C. Test model courtesy of Google Germany.

Many features of the 10.2-inch Google Pixel C are convincing. Thanks to its nice design and the sophisticated aluminum chassis, its visuals and tactile feel can easily compete with any iPad. Advantages are, among others, the modern Android OS, the high-end SoC Nvidia Tegra X1 with 3 GB memory, the very bright LC display with wide viewing angles and high-contrast color presentation as well as the very long battery runtimes. Furthermore, you get gadgets like the USB Type-C port and the possibility to transform the Pixel C into a kind of notebook with the optional keyboard.

Google's Pixel C is a very good tablet that can compete with the top dogs from Apple and Samsung.

There is not a whole lot to criticize: Neither the 32 GB nor the 64 GB model of the Pixel C have a microSD slot, so you should think about your storage requirements before you buy the tablet. Neither GPS nor WWAN are included – you get at least the fast Wi-Fi 802.11ac. However, we would have liked to see a USB Type-C cable to transfer files with a PC. Google unfortunately only sells it in the online shop and charges a pretty steep 15 Euros (~$17) for it. Another rather expensive accessory is the optional keyboard for 170 Euros (~$191).

Google Pixel C - 04/13/2016 v5
Manuel Masiero

Chassis
90%
Keyboard
76 / 80 → 95%
Pointing Device
93%
Connectivity
33 / 66 → 50%
Weight
83 / 88 → 90%
Battery
93%
Display
85%
Games Performance
60 / 68 → 88%
Application Performance
49 / 76 → 65%
Temperature
91%
Noise
100%
Audio
75 / 91 → 82%
Camera
75 / 85 → 88%
Average
77%
90%
Tablet - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

Read all 1 comments / answer
static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment this article:
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Google Pixel C Tablet Review
Manuel Masiero, 2016-02- 7 (Update: 2016-02-10)