Google Pixel Tablet vs Apple iPad 10th gen: play versus work

Google Pixel Tablet vs Apple iPad 10th gen: play versus work


Google's first-ever Pixel Tablet is more than half a year old now, and it doesn't feel like it's made a huge splash so far. Instead of trying to act as a laptop replacer the Pixel Tablet doubles down on the "multimedia consumer" formula with an interesting take. It comes with a Charging Speaker Dock, which transforms it into a Nest Hub with a screen. The speaker inside is about the same size as a Nest Mini, and it sounds similar. The Pixel Tablet costs $499, which is a bit steep for a "Netflix machine" type of device, but the speaker does bring some value.

When it comes to tablets that are on the affordable side, Apple's iPads also have something to say. The base $330 iPad 9th gen may look aged on the outside, but offers tons of power and iOS features to make up for that price tag. But those craving a more modern feel can look to the newer iPad 10th gen — it mimics the looks of an iPad Pro or iPad Air, and has its own Keyboard and Pencil accessories (sold separately), but cuts some corners to land softly in the $449 price range.

So, what's the better deal here — Google's new tablet or Apple's tried and true? Believe it or not, these two devices are aimed at different niches and types of users, so the answer takes a while. Also, we do have a pet peeve with the iPad 10 itself, but we'll get to that.

Let's explore what we know — design, displays, extra features, battery, and try to make sense which of these tablets is the better choice for you.

Google Pixel Tablet

Google Pixel Tablet

The Good

  • The Google Android tablet is back
  • Speaker dock is practical
  • Good screen quality

The Bad

  • No keyboard or planned "productive" tools
  • Overall audio quality is not impressive
  • Performance is solid but a tad sluggish
Apple iPad (2022)

Apple iPad (2022)

The Good

  • Refreshed design
  • Fast and reliable Touch ID
  • Super performance thanks to A14 Bionic
  • Dual-stereo speakers
  • Reliable battery life
  • USB-C port, goodbye Lightning
  • 5G and Wi-Fi 6 support

The Bad

  • Non-laminated screen that's just okay
  • No more 3.5mm audio jack
  • A serious price hike

Pixel Tablet vs iPad 10th gen in a nutshell:
  • Pixel Tablet doubles as a Nest Hub, offers better audio
  • iPad 10th gen will have more raw power on tap
  • Pixel Tablet will have the smart pixel features thanks to Tensor G2 - Magic Editor, 
  • iPad 10th gen has an excellent keyboard accessory (sold separately)
  • Both tablets support a stylus — Apple Pencil for iPad, 3rd party for Pixel
  • iPad has a richer ecosystem of tablet-centric apps

Table of Contents:

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Design and Display Quality

Creamy versus colorful metal

Both of these slates can look fresh. The Pixel Tablet is covered with a textured nano-ceramic layer for a soft, classy look. You know, it's meant to blend with your home furniture. It also comes in three colors — Porcelain, Hazel, and Rose. Not a huge choice, but they are soft, mature colors that can look quirky and fun without offending your senses.

The Pixel Tablet also has very rounded corners and feels very soft but grippy to the touch. The iPad's angular industrial design will feel a bit more jabby in your hand, but we can't say it's in any way hard to hold or handle. The iPad also comes in Blue, Pink, Yellow, and Silver — that's one extra color, but the last one is the boring one so that's that.

As for screens, they are quite close. 10.95-inch on the Pixel Tablet, 10.9 on the iPad. The aspect ratios differ a bit — they are off-kilter ratios, so let's just say that the Pixel Tablet is a slightly wider 3:2 ratio, the iPad 10th gen is a slightly taller 3:2 ratio (in landscape).

Display Measurements:

LCD on both and 60 Hz on both. We already know that the iPad's screen isn't laminated so you can see the thick layer of glass that's separating you from the display. But that aside, it's a pretty good-looking screen with nice colors. We don't really expect Google to disappoint in that regard, but we haven't had our hands on a Pixel Tablet yet.

Here's something special — both tablets support a stylus. Apple, of course, still sells the Pencil gen 1, which works with the base iPads still. The Pixel Tablet, on the other hand, comes with support with USI 2.0 — the Universal Stylus Initiative is an allied standard for interoperable active styli. Meaning, you can buy an USI 2.0 stylus from a 3rd party and it will work with the Pixel Tablet.

Of course, we can't go on without mentioning the Charging Speaker Dock. This is meant to be the "home" for your Pixel Tablet and it ships in the box. You just slap the tablet on it, it will begin charging, and it will enhance its audio with a built-in speaker (slightly larger than the speaker in a Nest Mini). The Pixel Tablet locks up and will display Nest Hub-like controls on the screen, so you can now use it to command your smart home. It also has a built-in Chromecast, so you can cast your Android phone to it with a tap. Or simply have it show your best photos as a digital photo frame.

Performance and Software

Optimized for AI vs optimized for raw performance

The Pixel Tablet has a Google's Tensor G2 chip humming under the hood. It's not the best performer out there right now, but it has been made to enhance the on-device AI and photo processing capabilities of Android. You know, Google playing to its strengths — the Photo De-blur, Magic Editor, the upgraded speech recognition, and all the smart trickery was shown off at I/O.

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The iPad 10th gen is powered by the Apple A14 Bionic — the same chip that was in the iPhone 12 almost four years ago. Yes, it's aging but the Apple A-series chips are known for being quite powerful and future-proof. Now, in 2024, we'd say the Tensor G2 is almost as potent as the old A14 in benchmarks.

Performance Benchmarks:

Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Google Pixel Tablet1468
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Google Pixel Tablet3866
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Google Pixel Tablet1858
Apple iPad(2022)2266
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Google Pixel Tablet1848
Apple iPad(2022)1952

But that's all raw numbers. The rest is optimization. We were confident that Google would fine-tune the Android experience in the Pixel Tablet that it would feel snappy. In reality, we found it to be a bit sluggish. Thankfully, not stuttering — the performance is consistent and solid, just not snappy, definitely not as much as a Pixel 7 phone, which has the same chip underneath.

And, of course, Apple is great at optimizing iOS (iPadOS) for its hardware. The iPad 10th gen feels great to work on despite having a 60 Hz screen.

But since we are on software experience. Both of these tablets are a bit basic, it seems — none of them will give you a desktop experience like the Samsung DeX or the Apple Stage Manager (exclusive to M-chip iPads). They do have an app dock and split-screen functionality which is limited to two apps on screen. The iPad has the ability to display a 3rd app in a floating window, but that sounds much more useful than it actually is. As for the Pixel, Google did not show any floating apps at the presentation, so we are still unsure.

It is worth noting that Google hasn't really cared about tablets in a while. Yes, over the past couple of years, it has made many improvements in how Android handles large screens and at I/O 2023, it said it has redesigned 50 apps to work better on a tablet screen. However, compare that to the iPad, where Apple has had rules for tablet apps for years now. Yes, the iPadOS app ecosystem is still just better. Google is now on the right track, but for the time being, the tablet experience on the Pixel Tablet will just be slightly worse and more limited than on the iPad.

Then, you also have the Magic Keyboard Folio for the iPad 10th gen. Now, this is an excellent external keyboard that feels nice and tactile. The bad news is that it only works with this base iPad. If, at any point, you choose to upgrade to an iPad Air or iPad Pro — you will also need to buy a Magic Keyboard for them, and that's our pet peeve with the Magic Folio. It only exists for that one class of iPad, which is not a very good investment (and... they are costly).


I can Center Stage too, except for I can't

The Pixel Tablet has an 8 MP selfie camera with an 84-degree FOV, which has Continuous Framing — in Google Meet, it can crop into the wide angle and follow your face around. Two problems here — 84 degrees is not much of a wide angle to give you a large moving space and also... we couldn't test this because it's still not working, we guess. 

The iPad 10th gen has a 12 MP wide-angle selfie camera that has a larger sight range to work with and Center Stage — which started this trend of "selfie camera that follows you around". And yes, it works great, recognizing multiple faces within a shot and constantly adjusting zoom and angle to keep everyone in a video call.

Audio Quality

One of the Pixel Tablet's major selling points definitely is sound. First, it comes with quad speakers set up for stereo sound in any orientation. Secondly, when docked on the Speaker Dock, the Pixel Tablet gets a 4-time bass boost for "room filling sound". OK, specs-wise, the speaker in the dock is about the same size as the one in a Nest Mini.

We were quite hopeful about the sound quality of the Pixel Tablet with the dock. In reality... it's OK. Mostly just OK. Don't expect sublime audiophile fantasy sounds out of it. But for background audio in, for example, the kitchen, it does the job just great.

The base iPad 10th gen has two speakers — they are placed so the tablet outputs stereo sound when held in landscape, which will be most of the time when consuming any type of media. They definitely sound less defined and mushier than the Pixel Tablet's speakers. In audio, all in all, the Pixel Tablet wins.

Battery Life and Charging

We expect similar performance

The Pixel Tablet's has a 7,020 mAh battery, which is kind of small by tablet standards. It can be charged when placed on its dock or through the USB C port on the bottom. Now, it does ship with the dock and a power adapter for the dock, but not with a wallplug for USB charging.

The iPad has a battery of around 7,600 mAh and, you know it — gives us "all day battery". In seriousness, we always expect around 10 hours of screen time with mixed usage of an iPad. And hey — it ships with a 20 W wall plug still!

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:

Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Google Pixel Tablet9h 12 min
Apple iPad(2022)6h 37 min
Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Google Pixel Tablet6h 48 min
Apple iPad(2022)10h 30 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Google Pixel Tablet6h 37 min
Apple iPad(2022)6h 40 min

Specs Comparison

Here are some highlights to lay it out — it seems both of these tablets land on the same price if you decide to go for the 256 GB models. At their base tiers, the iPad is slightly cheaper, but that 64 GB of storage may feel... a bit constraining.

If you want the full specs sheets check out a quick Pixel Tablet vs iPad 10th gen specs comparison here.

Summary and Final Verdict

The Google Pixel Tablet looks like it can be a fun and quirky casual device that's always in use. When you don't need it — dock it and it becomes your Nest Hub, there, done deal! Pick it up and it's always charged — great! It does lack the "laptop replacement" features that other tablets are striving for, but Google doesn't seem to be interested in competing in that market. For the time being, it's more interested in "How do we make tablets more useful for what they are?". Its sound isn't as magnificent as we hoped for, and its performance isn't striking. But it is a very competent media consumption device.

The iPad 10th gen is neither here nor there — it looks like an iPad Air or iPad Pro, but at its core it's barely better than the base $330 iPad 9th gen. It only supports the Apple Pencil gen 1 and the Magic Keyboard Folio, which you basically need to get rid of you you want to upgrade to a more expensive iPad down the line. If you want the full iPad 10th gen experience, it's a hefty investment. But it does, arguably, give you more productivity options and capabilities. The keyboard is, indeed, excellent. The Apple Pencil is great for drawing (though, we would suggest a paperlike screen protector for better resistance).

In summary, we feel like the Pixel Tablet is the slightly better contender here. But while the iPad 10th gen kind of lacks, we do think some very good arguments can be made for the iPad Air (2022).

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