[ AnandTech ] Brandon Chester & Joshua Ho:
Ultimately, the Pixel C ends up being a strange mix of things that may have worked together in a much more cohesive manner had it shipped with Chrome OS like it was clearly intended to. Unfortunately, Android just doesn’t provide an acceptable tablet experience, and Google’s own applications are some of the biggest offenders.
Google makes both Chrome OS and Android. And Google made the Pixel C. Google handled both software and hardware, and ended up doing a better job with the hardware. The 10.2-inch 3:2 2560×1800 LTPS IPS LCD — that was a mouthful — is quite good, but falls short of best. I like the 3:2 aspect ratio; the original iPhone up until the iPhone 4s sported the same aspect ratio.
As for the hardware, the first thing to talk about is the SoC. Tegra X1 is very fast on both the CPU and GPU sides, and as far as Android tablets go it offers the best graphics performance that you can get. The display on the Pixel C is also very good, with accurate color rendering and a high brightness as well as deep blacks. The greyscale accuracy could use some work, and Google needs to improve on hiding their digitizer and cutting down reflections in general, but for the most part it’s a very good panel.
A display with high reflectance. A glossy display. A reflective display. These are all signs of not-so-good. Apple is better, but the industry overall needs to work on reducing reflectance on every single display where a human being needs to look at it in an environment where there is light, natural or man-made.
Here are some display test results:
- Max Display Brightness: 495 nits. Lagging behind the iPhone 6s Plus (582), iPhone 6s (567), Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (566), and Huawei Mate 8 (522).
- Black Levels: 0.27. Only behind the iPad Pro (0.25).
- Contrast Ratio: 1,818. Leading the pack, followed by the iPad Pro (1,644), and the Huawei Mate 8 (1,607).
- Grayscale Accuracy (Average DeltaE 2000): 3.19. The Pixel C is way down the list. At #1 is the iPad mini 4 (1.02).
- Saturation Accuracy (Average DeltaE 2000): 1.88. Again, way down the list. The iPad mini 4 is again at the top with 0.87.
- Gretag-MacBeth Accuracy (Average DeltaE 2000): 2.46. Way down the list again. The iPad mini 4 (1.32) is #1.
The Pixel C’s screen doesn’t seem to be the most accurate in terms of grayscale and color.
In its current state, I honestly can’t give the Pixel C any sort of recommendation, even to the biggest fans of Google products. Its software needs a lot of work, and I hope that Google’s upcoming patch fixes the major problems. The Pixel C may improve with future updates, but for now it’s best to hold off and see how things change going forward.
Overall, I’m not even sure this measures up to the iPad Air 2 which is well over a year old by this point. I cannot in good conscience recommend anyone buy this tablet until the touch screen issues and generally poor performance has been resolved, and even then that recommendation would be to a limited group of people solely interested in a touch-only Android tablet.