Final Words

Ultimately, the Pixel C ends up being a strange mix of things that may have worked together in a much more cohesive manner had it shipped with Chrome OS like it was clearly intended to. Unfortunately, Android just doesn’t provide an acceptable tablet experience, and Google’s own applications are some of the biggest offenders. Before discussing that, it is worth going over the Pixel C’s hardware, as Google did a great job executing many of those aspects.

The Pixel C’s construction is solid. The build quality is superb, and it fits in well with the existing Chromebook Pixel. I definitely think the body is too heavy though, and the keyboard is far too heavy. I don’t think building tablet keyboards out of aluminum is the right way to go, even though it makes them feel very sturdy and fits well with an aluminum chassis. The mass ends up being too high compared to fabric and polymer keyboard covers, and keeping down the mass of the total package is essential to making a tablet highly portable.

As for the hardware, the first thing to talk about is the SoC. Tegra X1 is very fast on both the CPU and GPU sides, and as far as Android tablets go it offers the best graphics performance that you can get. The display on the Pixel C is also very good, with accurate color rendering and a high brightness as well as deep blacks. The greyscale accuracy could use some work, and Google needs to improve on hiding their digitizer and cutting down reflections in general, but for the most part it’s a very good panel.

Battery life on the Pixel C appears to be very good. It topped the charts in our web browsing, video playback, and BaseMark OS II battery tests. However software problems prevent me from investigating how long the battery lasts in a GPU-bound workload and a mixed workload, but for anything that primarily taxes the CPU or display it appears that the Pixel C provides best-in-class battery life.

Why does this UI show the exact same amount of info as the UI on a 4.5" phone?

Unfortunately, once you start looking at some of the other aspects of hardware and software, the problems with the Pixel C start appearing in great numbers. I’ve said this time and time again, but Android simply doesn’t offer a compelling tablet experience in any regard. With the Pixel C in particular you get a plethora of stability issues and bugs as well. Connectivity issues with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth impact the usability of the keyboard, and the entire software experience is simply unfinished. I can’t use it for very long without encountering touch input issues, freezes, and complete OS crashes. I really don't know how Pixel C shipped with the software in the state that it’s in, and it's just not acceptable. The fact that Josh also received a sample and encountered the same issues that I have confirms that they’re not specific to a single unit, and any single one of the major issues that we’ve noticed should have been enough to delay the Pixel C’s launch.

By this point I think people should know what they’re getting into when buying an Android tablet as far as the application situation goes, but the Pixel C’s problems go far deeper than that. I have been told that Google plans to issue an update that fixes the connectivity problems, touch input issues, and stability. Google has shipped me with a new unit that runs a pre-release version of this update, and Josh will be receiving his soon as well. Once that occurs, I'll be taking another look at it. That being said, the amount of time it has taken to address such show stopping bugs has been far longer than I would have expected, and if I was someone who purchased it I wouldn't be happy at all with the current situation.

At the very least, I think existing buyers should be given some public timeline of when Google plans to issue the much needed bug fixing updates. In its current state, I honestly can’t give the Pixel C any sort of recommendation, even to the biggest fans of Google products. Its software needs a lot of work, and I hope that Google's upcoming patch fixes the major problems. The Pixel C may improve with future updates, but for now it's best to hold off and see how things change going forward.

Josh's Thoughts
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  • jbelkin - Monday, January 25, 2016 - link

    Nailed it.
  • McDuncun - Tuesday, January 26, 2016 - link

    If you can show me one magnifying/proper visual difference between iOS 7-9 then I will buy myself a iPhone 6s Plus even though I still think it`s overrated beyond the point of no return.
  • lightman0731 - Tuesday, January 26, 2016 - link

    Actually, the third-world consumers that you say is not ignorant now. I come from China, in this market, opinion leader is indispensable, maybe consumers could not know how to choose SoC, but opinion leader is clearly know faster single core performance is key factor when we choose a smartphone or tablet, opinion leader usually care the single performance result from GeekBench or anything else. So if some company want to make a illusion that more cores are somehow better than faster individual cores, I believe it doesn't work in this information age.
  • lilmoe - Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - link

    just ignore that douchebag bro...
  • GotThumbs - Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - link

    "ignorant third-world consumers"
    "mistaken belief that targeting the poorer class"
    "market to the upper class."


    Talk about a person oozing ignorance.

    We have a winner!

    vFunct is THE king sphincter.

    No facts, but lots of personal prejudice, bias and ignorance.
  • Alexey291 - Saturday, January 30, 2016 - link

    Its really funny that he also thinks that google and apple actually operate in the same business too xD
  • thegamper - Saturday, February 20, 2016 - link

    I think it's just that ignorant third world customers are so stupid that they haven't yet grasped the joy of paying for apples huge profit margins, stock buybacks, shareholder dividends, etc so they can have the "look at me" product that makes them "feel" superior. Apple has done a truly magnificent job getting people to part with their money and feel good about getting gouged. Ever notice that nearly every protective case for Apple products has a cutaway to show the Apple logo. I think if you are honest with yourself, you know that's because if people can't see the logo, it might as well be a paperweight. So, you can pay through the nose for image, or you can pay a reasonable price for function. Maybe the 80% plus of the world running Android are more than ignorant peasants after all.
  • randix - Friday, March 25, 2016 - link

    LMAO. Having an iPad makes you so SUPERIOR. What kind of a loser would think like that? Upper Class?? The marketing of Apple makes those idiots like you to think it's cool to have an iDevice and you're poor if you choose other platforms and it seems to have worked for some iTards. I used to have a a few iPhones and iPads, I still have a Macbook. I guess I'm the Bill Gates now.
  • Drout - Saturday, January 12, 2019 - link

    ?????? wow, this is a hell of a quirky comment, full of nonsense. I bet it was made by some spoiled kid between 13 and 15yo :)
  • MonkeyPaw - Monday, January 25, 2016 - link

    I concluded long ago that anything over 7" on Android will be frustrating thanks to the lack of App support. It's a pretty good phone OS, but it has never properly taken on in the tablet space.

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