Android tablets have long lived in the shadow of the Apple iPad, often falling short in areas of app compatibility, performance, and overall versatility. While Android as an operating system thrives on mobile phones, it has struggled to replicate the same success on tablet devices, leading many to disregard Android tablets as inferior to their Apple counterparts. However, the arrival of the Google Pixel Tablet has prompted a reconsideration of this widely accepted notion.
Long-time iPad users are familiar with the device’s seamless integration into their daily lives, transitioning smoothly from a work device to a media hub, and even replacing the television for some. The iPad’s high performance, user-friendly interface, and app compatibility have made it the go-to tablet for many. Comparatively, Android tablets have been perceived as slower, less user-friendly, and generally less efficient. But with the Google Pixel Tablet, the Android tablet experience might be on the verge of a significant shift.
Changing Opinions: A New Perspective on Android Tablets
Many of us have long held the belief that Android tablets simply don’t match up to the Apple iPad. They’ve often fallen short in terms of app compatibility, performance, and versatility, making Android a strong contender in the smartphone market, but a disappointment when it comes to tablets. However, my recent experience with the Google Pixel Tablet has prompted me to reconsider this stance.
Reassessing the Android Experience
As someone who has used an iPad from the first-generation model, and upgraded to the iPad Pro in 2020, I’ve always found Android tablets to be less performant. The iPad’s fast, responsive operating system and excellent performance always made it the superior choice, especially when compared to the slower, less visually appealing Android tablet experience. However, after living with and using the Google Pixel Tablet like my iPad Pro, I found my opinion shifting somewhat.
Accessorizing the Pixel Tablet
Despite my long-standing bias, I decided to give the Pixel Tablet a fair shot. To replicate my iPad setup, I equipped the tablet with a cheap case from Amazon and my Keychron K3 Bluetooth keyboard. While the overall quality and aesthetic of this setup didn’t match up to the iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard combination, it was lighter, and served as a functional workspace.
Living with the Pixel Tablet
In terms of work functionality, the Pixel Tablet performed well. Google Docs functioned beautifully, and the Bluetooth keyboard remained connected without any issues. The tablet’s screen brightness was comparable to that of the iPad and my MacBook Air M1, though it did tend to overheat in the sun. Despite these minor issues, the Pixel Tablet held its own as a work device.
A Battle of Tablets: Pixel vs iPad Pro
In comparison to the iPad Pro, the Pixel Tablet fell short in some areas. It lacked the slick 120Hz screen refresh rate of the iPad’s ProMotion, making scrolling through apps and the operating system less smooth. However, the video quality on the Pixel Tablet was excellent, and I found that many apps, like Disney+ and Autotrader, performed just as well on both tablets.
After using the Pixel Tablet intensively for a week, my perspective on Android tablets has certainly changed. While it still has its shortcomings, particularly the lack of an official keyboard, its unique features, like the dock, and improved performance make it a viable alternative to the iPad. However, if given a choice, I would opt for the Amazon Fire Max 11, which offers a more cohesive experience at a lower price point.
While my iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard remain my primary devices, my time with the Pixel Tablet has opened my eyes to the potential of Android tablets. They’ve come a long way, and while they still have some catching up to do, they’re definitely worth considering as an alternative to the iPad.