Google has been selling Androidtablets under the Nexus brand since 2012, but this year we have something very different. The newly announced Pixel C is not a Chrome OS device, as you might assume from the name. It’s a 10.2-inch tablet that will run Android 6.0 Marshmallow and pairs with a cool Bluetooth keyboard, making it essentially Google’s take on the Microsoft Surface.
The Pixel C lives up to its name — it looks like you chopped the keyboard off the Chromebook Pixel and installed Android on it. That means it has a unibody aluminum frame and a cool light bar on the back. You can tap the bar to see the battery level of the Pixel C. Google stressed that there are no exposed screws or weird seams in the casing. This is designed to be an ultra-premium piece of hardware, a pleasant change from last year’s disappointing HTC-built Nexus 9 tablet.
Inside, the Pixel C has very high-end hardware including 3GB of RAM and 32-64GB of storage. The tablet will be powered by an NVIDIA Tegra X1 system-on-a-chip (SoC). This part has a octa-core CPU with four 64-bit ARM Cortex-A57 cores and four high-efficiency Cortex-A53 cores. The GPU is based on the desktop Maxwell architecture and can really push pixel. That’s good because there are a ton of pixels in the Pixel C’s display.
Google’s new tablet has a 10.2-inch LCD with a resolution of 2560×1800 and can output over 500 nits of brightness. This is a substantially higher resolution than either the Nexus 9 or the iPad offer. The iPad Pro is slightly higher at 2732×2048, but it’s also two inches larger.
You may be wondering what the C in Pixel C stands for — it’s “convertible.” The optional Bluetooth keyboard attached magnetically to the tablet. It actually just sticks to the back if you’re not using it. When you want to do some typing, you can adjust the keyboard hinge between 100 and 135 degrees. It doesn’t need a kickstand like the Surface, either. The hinge just stays where you put it. The keyboard and tablet can talk to each other, so the on-screen keyboard won’t pop up and get in your way when the keyboard is docked.
The keyboard has a long-lasting battery, and if you’ve got it connected to the tablet you never have to worry about forgetting to charge it. That’s because the tablet wirelessly trickle-charges the keyboard automatically.
The Pixel C will launch with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s actually 6.0.1 by the time it ships. The Pixel C is supposed to be out in time for the holidays, so expect it to show up for order in November or December. The 32GB Pixel C will cost $499 and the 64GB will be $599. There’s no microSD card slot, though. The neat keyboard is another $150 on top of that.