I got my Google Pixel C tablet in early 2016, well over five years ago. I use it ever since almost every day. A big part of it is that I also have the Pixel C keyboard accessory. I prefer touch typing and funnily enough that does not work on a touch screen. It needs a real keyboard. And that keyboard died today. My Pixel C can still recognize the attached keyboard, but it does not work any more. Most likely it is a battery problem. And – as a nice coincidence – all this happened on the day, when Google announced its first own mobile CPU, called Tensor.
A bit of history
When it comes to technology I like to be an early adopter. Not always the very first experimental devices, but still ahead of mostly everyone else. For example I bought my first digital camera in 2000, five years earlier than most people started to see it as an alternative to film cameras and 10 years before they became widely used. The first iPad came out in 2010, but I do not really like Apple products, to me the UX is a disaster. A year later there were already some Android alternatives, but those were problematic both on the software and the hardware side. The first good Android tablet was the Nexus 7 (2012) by Google. That was my first tablet. I missed a keyboard but still used it a lot. While everyone else struggled with tiny mobile screens and poor & expensive Internet connections, I used large and detailed off-line maps on my Nexus 7 while abroad. Over the years it received many updates, and each year it felt slower.
In 2015 I started to look for a new tablet. I checked the iPad again, and I still did not like it. Then came the announcement of Pixel C and I knew immediately what I want. And next spring I had the Pixel C with the keyboard accessory.
The Pixel C
Even after five years, the Pixel C specifications are quite nice. The 3GB of RAM is nothing extra any more. But the 2560 x 1800 screen resolution is still higher than most Android tablets have today. Its aspect ratio is better suited to photos, reading or working than the usual HD or FullHD screens. It has nice colors and the screen is perfectly readable even in direct sunlight, as I experienced this afternoon too. Browsing the web with multiple tabs can be slow nowadays, but my suspicion is that it is not a CPU problem, but rather the lack of RAM. Rendering complex PDF files is still often faster than on my laptop.
It’s a tablet, so its main function is media consumption. And for that the Pixel C is perfect. I can read books or websites for many hours from its screen without my eyes getting tired. It’s good for occasional Youtube or Vimeo videos. And thanks to its keyboard it can be used for light work as well. Often I read the news and tweeted right away from my Pixel C. Or I wrote even longer e-mails on the tablet. Most of the time the keyboard was either next to me or attached to the back of the tablet, so I could use it any time quickly when needed.
The Pixel C received many Android updates. Currently even lucky devices receive just two years worth of security updates. The Pixel C received more than two years worth of OS upgrades, from 6.0 to 8.1, and almost full four years of security updates.
What is next?
Without the keyboard I’m not sure how much I’ll use it in the future. Obviously, it will be still good for reading or listening to music. But I’ll need to switch to other devices a lot more often, as I prefer typing on real keyboards instead of screens.
After reading today’s Google announcement I started dreaming of a new Pixel tablet featuring the new Google Tensor CPU. With a bit of luck it will be used not just in the Pixel 6 mobiles, but also in a new Google tablet.