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Pixel C, When Google Takes Excellence In Hand

Finally, Google also decides to try to reinvent the wheel and the tablet with a Pixel C that moves away, structurally, in the spirit and development of previous Nexus. High-end positioning, a desire to achieve some versatility, associated physical keyboard, excessive power, the Pixel C seems to be the answer to the question “What can Google do for the tablet market?”. But is this the answer the public and the market were waiting for?

Google has always been able to take steps to Android tablets through its Nexus-branded slates. Compact size with the Nexus, WQHD definition with the Nexus 10 and premium and powerful positioning with the Nexus 9. With the Pixel C, Google blurs the tracks by offering an Android tablet with the excessive brute power and hints hybrids while naming it no not according to its Nexus codes but according to those of its Chromebook laptops. The dice are thrown away, Google aims to position its tablet at the height of ultraportables, Surface and other iPad Pro, without losing sight of the classic competition and multimedia. Is this why the keyboard is sold separately?

Beneath the very high definition 25.9 cm diagonal (2560 x 1800 pixels on a 10.2-inch screen) of the Pixel C, Google incorporates the latest Nvidia chip, the Tegra X1, clocked octagon at 1.9 GHz (quad-core ARM Cortex-A57 + quad-core ARM Cortex-A53) and announced as a mobile bulldozer including a graphic part at the 256-core iGPU Maxwell. The Tegra X1 comes with a 3 GB RAM and a storage capacity available in 32 and 64 GB. The latter is not extensible, Google playing the same partition as for its Nexus and preferring to steal a microSD slot to promote online storage. All are powered by a high capacity 9000 mAh battery.

Of course, Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi a / b / g / n / ac MIMO dual-band or even photo video sensors (8MP front, 2Mpx rear) are on the program. Note that Google is a cross on the Micro-USB and opts, as for the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, for a USB-C port. Pixel C houses the Google Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS in its purest representation.

The Google Pixel C tablet is sold at indicative rates of 499 € in the 32GB version and 605 € for the 64GB model. The optional keyboard is positioned at 179 €.


Google has chosen to marry extreme sobriety and the micro touch of fantasy in the construction of its Pixel C. The structure of the tablet is basic to the possible, with a global aluminum frame that disturbs some places some serious integration connectors. The construction of the product perfectly reflects the high-end orientation.

It is on the back that we find the touch of originality with a bar of LEDs with accents of K2000. By tapping it, a graduated color indicates the remaining charge level of the battery, but only on 4 levels. When the tablet is on, the bar can also display a set of 4 colors – for fun and enjoyment. In charge finally, the bar fills as the Pixel C is redone energetic health.

On the face side, Google uses space as much as Apple with almost 72% screen occupancy. The capture is pleasant with two hands, a little less than one, because of a weight of 512 grams, weighing almost 80 g compared to an iPad Air 2, yet also aluminum.

The heat remains measured and only partially felt on the back on the left hand (35.5 degrees at most), but only when the tablet sputters his lungs on a game ultra greedy. The cooling is very fast.

Finally, the association with the dedicated keyboard, which we detail in our box at the end of the test, is managed in Bluetooth and physically by magnetism. A magnet of such strength – never seen on this type of product and grip – that we can fix the Pixel C … on a refrigerator.


The few Nexus tablets that Google has been launching for 4 years with partners have always been able to offer a certain display quality. By being the only master aboard the Pixel C, the giant was expected to turn … and we disappoint at all with neither more nor less than the best display on the market, with the Apple iPad Pro.

\ Its contrast surpasses that of all other middle LCD slates (1,912: 1) and coexists with a beautiful maximum brightness of 561 cd / m2 and a lenient 13% light reflection, the right average of the top market. the range on Android.


The color rendering would have deserved a little more balance, but the essential is there: a wide fidelity, the deepest black ever seen on the LCD, a mild temperature (7 001 Kelvins) the color drifts and a gamma that is held in all the compartments of the image. We would still have desired more responsive tactile responsiveness, the touch delay reaching 60 ms (9 ms for an iPad Air 2), when the time of persistence is placed, 21 ms, in the soft belly of the LCD. For more details on the display qualities of Pixel C, see our article below.


Do you want a naked Marshmallow on a tablet? Welcome to Pixel C! Google’s mobile OS is unadorned. We refer you to our article on the ins and outs of this Android 6.0 for more details. In summary, all Google tools are on the menu and it is possible to do almost anything (Gmail, Hangouts, Drive, Sheets, Chrome, Maps, Play Store …), but still within the basic limits of a multimedia tablet.

Thus Pixel C as Android 6.0 does not offer further exploration of the touchpad. The fault, shared, applications that are still not sufficient on the tablet (at least in a format adapted to large screens and not a simple extrapolation) and Android that does not yet integrate natively certain elements allowed notebooks, like screen sharing with a real simultaneity of use. Yet Samsung and LG have offered this luxury on some Galaxy Tab and G Pad. the iPad Pro and iOS 9 are also exploring this path, with a few more failures.

The behavior of the tablet is amazing. It is because if we rely on equipment and records of different test applications (score above 100,000 on Antutu Benchmark for example), the embedded Tegra X1 delivers a dizzying power, never seen before. Android. The Shield Tablet K1 Nvidia and Tegra K1 (still Nvidia) can go well get dressed. However, what is the point of all this power? Well finally, not much much of the time, because as we know, still today, rare or nonexistent are the uses and Android apps to need more power than the best chips of 2014. Everything is often about optimization. Nevertheless, we can rest on the fact that with the X1 and 3 GB of RAM in the belly, Pixel C is ready for any eventuality and Nvidia seems to have made remarkable efforts on the power/energy consumed. We noted once micro slowdowns but linked to a huge pile of open applications.

Another observation palpable throughout our essay: The Pixel C, by its articulation and even its name, seems to be really born under the wrong software flag. Several elements in the history of product design suggest that a touchscreen version of Chrome OS (discontinued earlier in the year) would find refuge in this aluminum shell. Clearly, something is missing from this product, but perhaps the arrival of upcoming Android updates (we are already talking about a hypothetical simultaneous management of several apps for 6.1) may have given a little more binding to everything that.


A magnificent screen, a power capable of offering a potential reading of HD, Full HD or 4K / UHD videos: Pixel C has everything to become an extraordinary movie and series player. It will probably go through a third-party player (VLC, MX Player …) to ensure broad compatibility of files and a better depth in reading options.


The headphone output of the Pixel C delivers correct power but most importantly keeps the distortion at a particularly low level. If the dynamic range – difference between loudest sounds and weakest sounds – is in a very good average, the stereo image is on the other hand much less satisfactory.

The position of the speakers, on the side edges in landscape mode, is not the happiest. Indeed, the palms have an unfortunate tendency to cover them. Not very ergonomic. We also regret that the stereo is not better, the spatialization is almost nonexistent. Too bad, because the power and precision are at the rendezvous. As often, only mediums and high mediums are present.

The outrageous power of the Tegra X1 and its 256-core Maxwell graphics chip allows the Pixel C to swallow all games in the Google Play store without being tackled for a moment despite the resource requirements of some titles. The fluidity is total and constant and reminds what we had already experimented, always with a Nvidia platform, on the Shield Tablet K1. However, we noticed a difference in size showing the enormous potential of this tablet. Indeed, the game Riptide GP2 (below) offers the possibility to configure its graphics part to levels of textures and ultra high effects, absolutely kneeling all other Android products never passed by our writing.

Here, the Pixel C does not care, swallows the settings and loads the circuits without fluidity leaving the rails. Great. Small disappointment with each test of a Nvidia chip product: the unavailability of GeForce Now (ex-GRID) elsewhere than on Shield devices. Too bad, the monster that is Pixel C does not ask that.


The Pixel C’s 8MP sensor will be a great service, if you have fun carrying your 517 grams in front of your face or over your head to capture something. For a tablet, we have here little dull shots, but with overall good sharpness, sharpness throughout the image and responsiveness.

For those who wish to quickly archive some documents to look later on the slate, this camera is more than enough.

Find the Google Pixel C tablet in our Face-à-Face Photo.

Too bad Google has opted for only 2 MP front. Intended primarily for video conferencing, worn high, among other things, by the Hangouts house, this sensor has a rather average rendering in mild conditions and increasingly disappointing as the light drops, sinking to a reddish rendering and a lot of noise. At this little game, Sony, Samsung, and Apple offer a little better on their high-end tablets.


Google does not skimp on the capacity of its battery to offer a life worthy of the name to Pixel C, with no less than 9000 mAh. This is probably not too much to cash the power of Tegra X1, a very high definition display and a product that calls, for its various qualities, a high multimedia consumption. The result, the Pixel C explodes our counters on our protocol of general autonomy viSer with a record time of 17:53, 2 hours more than the best tablets passed on our grill (Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, LG G Pad 10.1).

On the streaming video stream via Netflix, the Pixel C also shows no mercy with the competition since it gives birth to a longevity of 13:19, 16 minutes longer than the G Pad 10.1, a tablet input low-end range and 32 minutes longer than the Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact, which was here also our top-of-the-range tablet of reference on this point until then. The best iPad on this exercise, the Pro, caps at 12:26. Whatever the use, even in video games, the beast swallows the hours of use without really running out of steam. Solid.

What is the keyboard of Pixel C worth?

Let’s quickly go over the touchpad of the Pixel C, which literally takes the pure tactile input of Android, with excellent responsiveness, the ability to trace words natively, coupled with a relevant prediction. A basic keyboard, but devilishly effective so.

And here’s the main dish, the dedicated physical keyboard, a component strongly related to the Pixel C, although we would have appreciated that Google actually integrates the accessory in the box of the device. This keyboard apparently does not claim to shake up the world of accessories of this type for tablet, but simply to stick to the best compatible needs generated by the Pixel C. First observation, however, Google has sought to innovate in terms of ergonomics by proposing a product that is fixed by magnetism – the grip can also seem violent at first as the magnets are powerful – and reloads by induction. No Micro-USB port to charge the keyboard, therefore, but energy accumulated via the tablet when it is in charge. Smart, but it will be necessary to take care to often regroup the two entities which, associated, display a weight of 914 grams, all the same.

Small flat for fixing, which remains safe most of the time – you can grab the whole by the tablet or keyboard without fear of detachment and work with the products on the knees without problems – but shows some situations of hangs risky. On the support, the pixel is detached too easily by bringing it back to you; in the closed mode, the couple is not very sure, can slip and separate on a bad movement of the user. The combo, perfectible, can nevertheless count on several angles of support. Side input, the keyboard is at the level of the best accessories of its kind, for Android or iOS / iPad, with properly spaced keys, a panel quite comprehensive for office and a race neither too soft nor too dry. The typing is nice and remains measured at the sound level.

The disturbing report, in use, for this keyboard, it skips the Android shortcuts. Just barely ergonomic management of multitasking by pressing Alt + Tab and direct access to search engine Google. For the rest, no direct return to the home, volume management, the brightness of the screen … In contrast, conventional shortcuts in the computer world are present via combinations based on “ctrl” and ” alt “(copy/cut / paste, search in the content, cancel an action …). In fact, the Pixel C is thus slightly incomplete for a use that would be like a laptop and just as imprecise for a derivative use from a multimedia tablet. The sitting between two armchairs, the Pixel C and its keyboard require a much better thought support upstream at the structural and software level to be completely convincing on this point.


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