Google Pixel Tablet
Google's Pixel Tablet offers a comfortable design intended to blend into your hand and your home, with an included Charging and Speaker Dock that lets it become a centerpiece of your living space. Powered by Google's Tensor G2, it offers plenty of power for gaming and streaming, plus a unique Hub Mode that turns it into a smart display when docked.Pros
- Packs in Google's powerful Tensor G2
- Includes Charging Speaker Dock
- Offers built-in Hub Mode for use as a smart display.
- Average LCD display.
- No stylus included.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8
$630 $700 Save $70
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 features a premium design, a 120Hz display, an S Pen stylus, a powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, and enough RAM to handle any task you're likely to need from a tablet. If you're happy with the 11-inch display, this is one of the best Android tablets you can buy.Pros
- Small enough to easily hold in your hands.
- S Pen included in the box.
- Excellent performance and battery life.
- Smaller screen hampers productivity tools.
- The S Pen can feel like it's dragging across the glass.
- Lacks an AMOLED panel.
Google has just released its much-anticipated Pixel Tablet, the first Android-powered tablet to come out of Mountain View since the 2015 Pixel C was discontinued nearly six years ago. Although Google made an interim attempt at a tablet in 2018 with the Chrome OS-powered Pixel Slate, the new 2023 entry marks a triumphant return to Google's Android tablet roots that began with the early Nexus devices and looks easily poised to become one of the best Android tablets of the year.
Of course, those early Nexus tablets may have been sponsored by Google, but they were built by Asus, Samsung, and HTC. Those companies went their own way after Google shelved its branded tablets to focus on Chromebooks. Not surprisingly, the most successful of the bunch is Samsung, which has been consistently putting out its own Galaxy Tab S-series tablets for nearly a decade, culminating in the 2022 Galaxy Tab S8.
Samsung's tablets have come to define what an Android tablet should be, which should make things very interesting now that Google has thrown its hat back into the ring. How does Google's inaugural into modern Android tablets shape up against Samsung's iconic Galaxy Tab S8 series? Let's find out.
Price, availability, and specs
Google's Pixel Tablet is available from the Google Store starting at $499 for the base 128GB model with 8GB RAM and is likely to begin appearing at other online retailers very soon. It's available in Porcelain, Hazel, and Rose finishes and includes a color-matched Charging and Speaker Dock in the box. A 256GB version is also available.
Samsung's Galaxy Tab S8 launched last year at a starting price of $700 for the similarly-equipped 128GB model. It's available at Samsung and most other major retailers like Amazon and Best Buy and can often be found on sale for considerably less than its regular asking price. Your color choices for the Tab S8 are Graphite, Silver, and Pink Gold.
Google Pixel Tablet Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Storage 128 / 256GB UFS 3.1 storage 128 GB, 256 GB (expandable by MicroSD) CPU Google Tensor G2 Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Memory 8GB LPDDR5 RAM 8 GB, 12 GB Operating System Android 13 Android 13 with One UI 5.1 Battery 27Wh, Up to 12 hours 8,000 mAh Camera (Rear, Front) 8MP, 8MP Rear: 13MP f/2.0, 6MP f/2.2 / Front: 12MP f/2.4 Display (Size, Resolution) 10.95 inches, 2560 x 1600 pixels 11″ 1600p TFT LCD, 120Hz Price From $500 Starting at $700
Google Pixel Tablet vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: Design
Google's new Pixel Tablet features a more contoured design that will feel familiar to anybody who has ever held an older model of iPad. Rather than going with the more squared-off corners that seem to be all the rage these days, the Pixel Tablet goes with rounded corners. However, it one-ups Apple's designs by featuring a nano-ceramic coating and a soft matte look that's nicer on both the eyes and the hands than the more spartan metallic backing of an iPad. This gives it a textured, porcelain-like feel, which undoubtedly inspired Google's choice to use “Porcelain” as the name for its standard color, although the Pixel Tablet is also available in Hazel and Rose.
While Samsung's Galaxy Tab S8 comes in around the same size as the Pixel Tablet, it's an entirely different entity when it comes to the design. As we noted in our review, the squared-off edges make it feel like a clone of Apple's iPad Pro; if it weren't for the difference in aspect ratios, it would be hard to tell it apart. While that's clearly a popular design, it's not everyone's cup of tea.
If you're a fan of using a stylus with your tablet, the Galaxy Tab S8 does get the edge here, as it not only includes Samsung's S-Pen in the box, but it also gives you a place on the back to magnetically dock it and charge it. It's not the most convenient location, but at least it's there. Although the Pixel Tablet is compatible with USI 2.0 styluses, it doesn't include one, nor does it offer any special docking or charging capabilities. You'll have to add a case if you want to travel with a stylus, which is kind of a shame as the Pixel Tablet looks so good without one.
While you won't get a stylus, Pixel Tablet buyers will find something in the box that's arguably even better: a Charging Speaker Dock that not only gives you a spot to drop your tablet when you want to juice it up but also lets you prop it up as a smart display and listen to music or use it as a speaker for video calls. The first one is included, but you can also buy more to strategically place them around your home, letting you drop your Pixel in any room where you may want to use it as a media and home hub. It also includes a built-in polished metal ring stand so you can prop it up at nearly any angle without the need to add additional accessories.
Google Pixel Tablet vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: Display
If there was one single disappointment with Samsung's Galaxy Tax S8, it was the lack of an AMOLED screen. In what was undoubtedly an effort to keep its entry-level tablet as affordable as possible, Samsung went with an 11-inch LPTS LCD, setting the S8 apart from its more premium siblings.
Considering the Tab S8 launched with a $700 price tag and the Pixel Tablet starts at $500, it's probably no surprise that Google cut the same corner in display technology. The Pixel Tablet also features a 10.95-inch LCD, and while it's undoubtedly a good display, it's nothing to write home about. The Galaxy Tab S8 and Pixel Tablet are roughly on par when it comes to display technology; both use the same 16:10 laptop-style aspect ratio, 2560 x 1600 resolution, and around 500 nits of brightness, although the Tab S8 gets a slight edge for its faster 120Hz refresh rate.
Google is positioning the Pixel Tablet as a device targeted primarily at media consumption, such as streaming movies and games and showing off your photos. That's where we felt the Galaxy Tab S8 landed as well, despite Samsung's efforts to promote it as a more well-rounded device.
Google Pixel Tablet vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: Software
Samsung's Galaxy Tab S8 launched with Android 12, which was the most current version at the time, but it was already ahead of the curve thanks to Samsung's more tablet-friendly One UI. Until the advent of Android 12L last year, using Android on most other tablets was an awkward experience, so Samsung had to come up with its own solution.
That's less of an issue now since these capabilities have been folded into Android 13, which is what Google's Pixel Tablet ships with. The Galaxy Tab S8 can also be updated to Android 13, although the changes are less stark thanks to One UI 5. Samsung promises four years of updates for the Galaxy Tab S8, meaning it should someday be able to run Android 16.
However, since the Pixel Tablet begins its life with Android 13, Google is promising a similar update cycle that will take it one version beyond that, into Android 17. Google also promises at least five years of security updates, so you won't be entirely left in the cold after that. Whether you'll still be hanging on to your Pixel Tablet in five years is another question, but it's nice to know you have the option.
In terms of software features, both tablets offer what you would expect from their respective companies. Samsung layers its One UI on top of Android 13, while the Pixel Tablet provides the usual “pure Google” experience. Naturally, it also integrates seamlessly with the rest of your Pixel devices.
Google has another trick up its sleeve for the Pixel Tablet, though. In addition to everything you'd expect from a Pixel-optimized version of Android, the Pixel Tablet is also designed to double as a home hub and smart display. The included Charging Speaker Dock automatically switches the tablet into a Hub Mode that lets you use it as a digital photo frame, control your Google Home accessories, view cameras, and call up Google Assistant from anywhere in the room.
Google Pixel Tablet vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: Performance
The Galaxy Tab S8 and Pixel Tablet both pack in the same processors as their contemporary smartphone cousins. However, since the Galaxy Tab S8 is a year old, that's the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 that was used in the Galaxy S22 lineup. That's still an impressive chip for an Android tablet and runs circles around most of the competition.
However, the Pixel Tablet packs in a more recent chip: the same custom Tensor G2 that debuted in the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. On paper, you might think that gives the Pixel Tablet an edge in performance, but in reality, both tablets will likely be pretty evenly matched — especially for the things you're likely to use a tablet for.
In raw performance, Google's Tensor G2 doesn't beat out the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in most benchmarks. Most of its advantages come from the machine learning capabilities that Google has baked into it, most of which power Google's advanced computational photography features on its Pixel phones. There's less of a need for that on a tablet, and while we'll have to wait for some real-world tests the Galaxy Tab S8 and Pixel Tablet likely offer similar gaming and streaming performance.
Google Pixel Tablet vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: Battery life
As with performance, we'll have to wait for some real-world tests to know how the Pixel Tablet will hold up, but Google promises up to 12 hours of 1080p YouTube video streaming on a single charge, which suggests most typical users may only need to top it up every two or three days. That's likely to be about evenly matched with Galaxy Tab S8, which we noted in our review offered “excellent battery life with mixed usage.”
Of course, your experience will undoubtedly vary depending on how you use either tablet. Hardcore gamers or those who treat it as their primary viewing device for streaming movies and TV shows will likely need to charge it every night. However, the Pixel Tablet has a notable advantage here thanks to its included Charging and Speaker Dock. Not only does the included dock make it easier to charge it up, but you're more likely to drop the Pixel Tablet into the dock to turn it into a home hub when you're not otherwise using it. The Pixel Tablet can also be charged using a standard USB-C adapter, although you'll have to buy that separately.
Google Pixel Tablet vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: Camera
Rear-facing cameras on tablets often feel like something manufacturers include simply because they can. While you'll always see a handful of folks holding up their tablets to take pictures at concerts and other events, it's hard to argue that even a budget smartphone does a better job at photography.
Samsung and Google both seem to understand this, and the rear cameras on the Galaxy Tab S8 and Pixel Tablet are competent for things like scanning documents but don't otherwise stand out in any meaningful way. The Galaxy Tab S8 offers a dual-rear camera array that combines a 13-megapixel (MP) standard lens with a 6MP ultra-wide. That's actually pretty impressive for a tablet, but it still pales in comparison to what's found on even Samsung's entry-level Galaxy A03. On the other hand, Google isn't even putting the Pixel Tablet in the race; its rear shooter is a single 8MP fixed focus lens.
Around the front, the Galaxy Tab S8 offers a 12MP ultra-wide camera that's at least on par with, if not better, than what you'll find on many laptops. Unfortunately, the Pixel Tablet's front camera is the same as its rear one, with only an 8MP resolution and a fixed focus. However, both tablets offer auto-framing technology that's similar to the Center Stage feature found on Apple's iPads without the pithy name and the awkward short-edge camera placement. The Galaxy Tab S8 and Pixel Tablet put the camera on the longer side, which makes a lot more sense for video calls.
Google Pixel Tablet vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8: Which is right for you?
As the newest kid on the block, Google's Pixel Tablet offers some impressive specs and some innovative features that set it apart from the competition. While it doesn't necessarily offer more raw power, Google's Tensor G2 is a newer chip that opens the door to more possibilities thanks to its focus on AI and machine learning capabilities, and all that power combined with four years of software updates and five years of security patches mean you could still be enjoying this tablet in 2028.
The Pixel Tablet it's also much more clearly designed with specific applications in mind, which allows for a razor-sharp focus on doing those things exceedingly well. Rather than trying to be all things to all people, this is a tablet that knows its purpose in life: letting you richly enjoy content like media and games while anchoring your smart home. There's no stylus included, as that's not something most folks are going to need for this; instead, Google has packed a dock in the box that turns the Pixel Tablet into a central hub for your home, with the ability to show off your favorite memories, play music through its built-in speaker, quickly control accessories and see what's going on outside, and call up Google Assistant from anywhere in the room.
On top of all that, Google is offering the Pixel Tablet at a starting price of $500 with the Charging Speaker Dock included. That's a considerable bargain considering that it offers most of the same capabilities as Samsung's Galaxy Tab S8, which is typically priced at $100 more even when it's on sale.
Google Pixel Tablet
Google's Pixel Tablet offers a comfortable design intended to blend into your hand and your home, with an included Charging and Speaker Dock that lets it become a centerpiece of your living space. Powered by Google's Tensor G2, it offers plenty of power for gaming and streaming, plus a unique Hub Mode that turns it into a smart display when docked.
Of course, the opinionated design of the Pixel Tablet isn't for everyone, and if you're looking for an option that offers more productivity features and less of a focus on the home, Samsung's Galaxy Tab S8 is still a solid pick, especially if you can find it on sale. For one, you'll get the S-Pen in the box, plus a place to dock it and charge it when you're not actively using it. Plus, if you're already invested in the Samsung ecosystem, the Galaxy Tab S8 may be a more natural fit alongside your Galaxy S-series smartphone and Galaxy Buds Pro.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8
$630 $700 Save $70
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 features a premium design, a 120Hz display, an S Pen stylus, a powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, and enough RAM to handle any task you're likely to need from a tablet. If you're happy with the 11-inch display, this is one of the best Android tablets you can buy.