Google's Pixel Stand (2nd Generation) is one of those products that does very little beyond its main purpose. It works really well when it comes to charging your Pixel and the extra features like photo frame mode are nice, but it's hard to justify the high price.
- Fast wireless charging for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
- Extra smart features that work as intended
- An easy to use vertical design
- The price
- Did I mention the price?
There's not a lot to say about a wireless charger. They're simple devices usually designed to do one thing: charge your phone. The hardest thing about them is picking out the best wireless charger to buy.
Some charge faster than others and you'll find them in different shapes. Like OnePlus' Warp Charge Wireless, some are proprietary and work best (and fastest) when paired with the right product. But in the end, they all only do one thing.
Google is trying to be different with its Pixel Stand (2nd Gen) wireless charging stand and do what Google does best — add some Google services to accompany the product's main purpose.
Not much has changed with the 2nd Generation Pixel Stand. It has a few smart features and can show off your Google Photos library which is nice. It also still has a price that is a lot more than most other wireless chargers.
Price and availability
The best place to buy the Pixel Stand (2nd Generation) is directly from Google, though you will find it listed on Amazon or eBay from time to time. Google tells me it plans to sell it through its Amazon storefront, but that's not happened yet at the time of this writing. One plus of buying from Google is the free standard shipping, so it's not a bad option in any case.
The price is $79 US. You might see it go on sale and that price may (hopefully) drop over time. While this is a lot of money for a charger, it is the same price as the original Pixel Stand when Google first sold it.
Pixel Stand (2nd Gen): What's good
The best feature of the 2nd Gen Pixel Stand is that it allows the Pixel 6 to charge wirelessly at 23 watts. You'll need to update your Pixel to the latest update, use the wall plug and cable with the charger (or something equivalent), and have the rapid charging protocol enabled. Then just drop the phone onto the stand and it works.
There's a fan built into the charger itself but it's really quiet even when running full blast. You can hear it if you get close and are listening for it, but for all intents and purposes, it is a silent fan that keeps things cool so you can fast charge longer. It's a good addition.
Google made it specifically for the Pixel, but it will charge any Qi-compatible phone as long as the coils line up. Most do, and everything I've tried so far has worked.
Finally, smart features are built into the software on your Pixel that works with the Pixel Stand. Once you enable the necessary Pixel settings, your phone and the charger will communicate so you can control your smart home devices or view folders you have stored in Google Photos while your phone continues to charge.
There are also features designed for bedside use, like a sunrise setting that slowly brightens the screen and a dark mode that keep the display blackened to help you sleep and wake up easier.
For the most part, these features work great. Of course, you have to be using a Pixel phone to access them and not all features are available on every model. But if you want your phone to do a little more while it's charging on your desk, you'll appreciate them.
Pixel Stand (2nd Gen): What's not so good
Functionally, there isn't much to complain about when it comes to the Pixel Stand 2nd Generation. It charges the Pixel 6 relatively fast (as fast as 23 watts will charge anything) and the device itself is built nice and sturdy. Even the fan is efficient and quiet.
One issue with the feature set I've come across is the dark mode "switch" which in my experience is a little janky. Sometimes it works as intended — darkens during nighttime and stays dark unless someone with a Do-Not-Disturb rule calls or sends a message — while other times it allows the phone's ambient mode to flicker on. And you can guess what happens if you say "OK Google" to another device like a Nest Hub.
The rest, well, it just works. And it's actually good, as long as you spend all day at a desk. That's the rub with wireless chargers in general — you need to spend time close to a surface that you can charge your phone on. In this case, to benefit from the features, you'll need to be right beside your phone most of the time. That won't apply to everyone.
And then there is the price. $79 is a lot of money for a wireless charger. The Pixel Stand does things other chargers can't if you own a Pixel phone, so you have to decide if the price is too high.
I can't help but think Google would sell many more of these if the special features worked with all Android phones, so Google isn't focused on selling Pixel Stands. Instead, it wants to build a product ecosystem around the Pixel and this is a good place to start.
Pixel Stand (2nd Gen): The competition
There are hundreds of high-quality wireless chargers you can buy online or in-store. Almost all of them do just one thing and do it well, and it's the thing that matters: they charge your phone.
Only the Pixel Stand can turn your Pixel into a device that acts as a small Nest Hub though, so that makes comparing to anything else a little difficult. I think you should decide if the Pixel Stand is something you need or want and then look at what else is available.
If you decide that the Pixel Stand isn't for you, Android Central recommends wireless chargers from well-known and trustworthy brands like Anker, Mophie, or Samsung. You'll find excellent chargers in the $30 - $50 price range as well as cheaper chargers from other brands.
Just make sure the charger is Qi-compatible (almost every charger will be) and that you use a wall plug and cable that meet the recommended specifications, and your phone will charge.
Pixel Stand (2nd Gen): Should you buy it?
You should buy this if...
- You use a Pixel phone
- You spend time at a desk
- You're interested in the extra features Google has added
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You don't use a Pixel phone
- You never stay close to your phone while it's charging
- You just can't justify the price
I can't tell you if the price is too high because the Pixel Stand does things other chargers can't. You have to decide that for yourself. I can tell you what my decision is, though, and I think it's just not worth it.
I actually get some use out of the extra features from Google because I work at a desk and have my Pixel 6 in the stand beside me all day. Seeing photos is nice. Being able to control smart devices in my home is great. But to me, neither is worth $79 when a $30 charger will charge my phone just as quickly.
I'm not saying the price isn't justified — the device is well made and the features work as promised. I'm just saying I'd spend my money differently even though I use a Pixel 6 Pro.
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