Google Pixel C review

Google's iPad Pro rival tries to bridge the laptop divide

Google Pixel C review

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The Pixel C is a Google tablet out-and-out, so it's no surprise that the only music player that's pre-installed is Play Music.

As music apps go it's pretty standard, enabling you to view your tunes by artist, album, track or genre. You have the facility to create playlists on the fly too, but Play Music does have a trick up its sleeve.

That trick is Unlimited, Google's own music streaming service, which requires a monthly subscription payment of £9.99 (US$9.99), in return for which it puts millions of songs at your fingertips.

Of course, if you already subscribe to a rival service (such as Spotify) you can just head to the Play Store and download the relevant app.

Google Pixel C review

Sound quality from the built-in stereo speakers is acceptable at a moderate level, but don't expect resonating bass or crystal-clear lyrics.

At high volumes the Pixel C's speakers are tinny, almost uncomfortably so – there's more depth in the iPad Air 2, but that's only got a single driver. If you're looking for room-filling sound you'll need to plug in an external speaker.

Things are improved when you plug in a set of headphones, however, with the Pixel C able to kick out decent audio.


With its 10.2-inch, 2560 x 1800 display, the Pixel C is a movie machine. Your HD movies and TV shows will look great on the tablet's screen, and if you can afford to crank the brightness up to max your eyes will be in for a real treat.

For those willing to splash out on the keyboard, you'll be glad you did if you watch a lot of videos on your mobile devices. The Pixel C is pretty heavy, so you won't fancy holding it for the duration of a film; the keyboard proves a solid stand, and its multi-positional hinge means you'll be able to find the perfect viewing angle.

Google Pixel C review

There's sadly no option to minimise your video into a small floating window, which would enable you to use the tablet while still keeping an eye on the action. This is something the iPad Pro has, although its larger display means it makes more sense there than on the Pixel C.

Video playback is smooth, bright and highly detailed, enabling you to fully enjoy the on-screen action. The internal speakers do let the side down again though, so if you're settling down to watch a blockbuster you're best off connecting a speaker or headphones.


With its crystal-clear display, Tegra X1 processor, Maxwell GPU and 3GB of RAM the Pixel C is well equipped for a solid gaming session.

Load times are quick and playback is smooth, even on demanding titles such as Real Racing 3. I did find my arms got a little tired if I played for an extended period of time, though, so you might want to divide your play time up into chunks – or just choose a game where you don't need to hold and twist the tablet to steer a car!

I also found the Pixel C could get quite warm during an intensive gaming session – not hot enough to burn your hands, but it can get a little uncomfortable.

Google Pixel C review

If you opt for the keyboard as well, some games are already taking advantage of the keys on offer. I played Asphalt 8 Airborne on the Pixel C, which has already been updated to allow for keyboard input.

This gives you more of a PC-like experience, and given the power of the Pixel C and the graphical improvements in games, our mobile devices are getting closer and closer to console and PC gaming.

One thing to note though is that not all games are optimised for the resolution of the Pixel C's display, which can mean they appear a little pixelated.

That's a shortcoming on the developer side, rather than on the part of the tablet – and the hope is that devs will update their apps and games to support higher resolutions in the future.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.