A Google tablet appears
Many of us have been clamoring for Google to release a tablet for years, and that time has finally come. The Pixel Tablet might not be focused on productivity, but it has another trick up its sleeve.
- Includes the Charging Speaker Dock in the box
- No need to worry about Lockscreen Ads
- More powerful and capable
- Access to all of the best Android apps
- More expensive
- Can't purchase the tablet by itself
The most powerful Fire Tablet
Amazon surprised everyone with its announcement of the Fire Max 11. And it appears to improve on everything compared to previous big-screen Fire Tablets.
- Much more affordable, even when bundling accessories
- Device Dashboard turns the tablet into an Echo Show
- More performant than its predecessors
- Great addition if you already have Amazon devices
- Expandable storage is a nice touch
- No accessories included
- Can't access the Play Store without sideloading
- Only 4GB of RAM
Understandably so, there's a lot of hype surrounding the Pixel Tablet, as this is Google's first tablet since the Pixel Slate. Not to be outdone, Amazon came out of nowhere with an announcement of its own with the Amazon Fire Max 11. There are quite a few similarities between these two, but there are also enough differences to make the decision more difficult.
Google Pixel Tablet vs Amazon Fire Max 11: Design and specs
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No matter how you cut it, the overall design of both the Pixel Tablet and Fire Max 11 are pretty understated and boring. The Pixel Tablet has the advantage of being available in three different colors, while Amazon stuck to just "grey" for its latest tablet.
Under the hood, the Pixel Tablet gains even more of an edge thanks to the Tensor G2 processor paired with 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. Meanwhile, Amazon's Fire Max 11 is powered by a MediaTek MTK8188J, complete with 4GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of expandable storage.
|Category||Google Pixel Tablet||Amazon Fire Max 11|
|Chipset||Google Tensor G2||MediaTek MTK8188J|
|Display||10.95-inch IPS LCD (60Hz), 2560 x 1600||11-inch LCD (60Hz), 2000 x 1200|
|Storage||128GB or 256GB||64GB or 128GB|
|Expandable storage||None||MicroSD (up to 1TB)|
|Battery||7,020mAh||Up to 14 hours|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2||WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.3|
|Stylus||Works with USI 2.0, not included||Works with USI 2.0, not included|
|Dimensions||258 x 169 x 8.1mm; 10.2 x 6.7 x 0.3in||259 x 164 x 7.5mm; 10.19 x 6.45 x 0.29in|
|Colors||Porcelain, Hazel, Rose (US-only)||Grey|
In day-to-day use, you won't find much of a difference between using the Pixel Tablet's 10.95-inch screen versus the 11-inch panel on the Fire Max 11. Both of these screens are using 60Hz LCD panels, which will be just fine for media consumption but won't match up to some of the best Android tablets sporting OLED panels.
On paper, battery life seems to be pretty comparable with the Pixel Tablet rated for up to 12 hours while the Fire Max 11 is rated for 14 hours. However, Amazon's decision to use the MediaTek chip with less RAM will likely lead to consistently longer battery life. While the Tensor G2 is more battery-efficient than its predecessor, it's still more power-hungry than what the Fire Max 11 is powered by.
Google Pixel Tablet vs Amazon Fire Max 11: Accesorizing your tablet
In true Amazon fashion, there are a bunch of different "bundles" that you can purchase if you're in the market for a Fire Max 11. There's a Slim Cover Bundle, Stylus Bundle, Slim Cover Bundle, and a Productivity Bundle. This is nothing new, but it does seem as though Amazon reworked its keyboard case to be more stylish compared to what was found with the Amazon Fire HD 10.
One noticeable similarity between the Pixel Tablet vs. Fire Max 11 is stylus support. Both of these tablets support the USI 2.0 standard, meaning that you aren't limited to using an Amazon-branded stylus and can instead use one of the best USI pens. The same goes for the Pixel Tablet, although, Google has yet to release a Pixel-branded stylus to pair with its new device.
On the Google side of the fence, there aren't any bundles available, and you can't just buy the Pixel Tablet by itself. In addition to the device, Google is including a Charging Speaker Dock for the Pixel Tablet. We'll touch more on this in the next section, but as it currently stands, it doesn't seem as though Google is planning an accompanying first-party keyboard case or stylus for the Pixel Tablet.
Google Pixel Tablet vs Amazon Fire Max 11: Software and features
Moving onto software, there shouldn't be too much of a surprise regardless of which tablet you're considering. The Fire Max 11 is running Amazon's Fire OS which does not include the Play Store, and places more of a focus on accessing your favorite entertainment apps. All the while, putting Amazon's different consumption services front and center.
In recent years, Amazon has also implemented a feature called the "Device Dashboard." With this, you essentially turn the best Fire Tablets into an Echo Show, all while being able to pick them up and use them as traditional tablets when you want to. This is a great feature that Amazon has continued to improve, especially if you have a lot of Alexa-compatible smart home accessories.
Google is "borrowing" this concept with the Pixel Tablet and its Charging Speaker Dock. When docked, the Pixel Tablet will turn into a Nest Hub of sorts, complete with a dedicated "Hub Mode." It's essentially the same concept as what Amazon is doing, but the dock itself has built-in speakers which is great if you want to watch a video or listen to some music.
Speaking of which, the Pixel Tablet is also the first Android tablet to feature a built-in Chromecast. It might not seem like that big of a deal, but being able to start watching a video on your phone and immediately send it to your tablet is sure to be pretty convenient.
Google Pixel Tablet vs Amazon Fire Max 11: Pricing
The last factor to consider when deciding between these two tablets is the price. The Pixel Tablet, with its included Charging Speaker Dock, is priced at $499 for the 128GB version or $599 for 256GB of storage. And as we mentioned previously, you can't purchase just the tablet, which is a bit of a bummer.
Meanwhile, the most that you'll spend on the Fire Max 11 is $379, and that's without needing to worry about Lockscreen Ads, while also including the Keyboard and Stylus. Plus, you can always just pick up the tablet on its own, which will set you back either $229 with ads, or $244 without them.
Google Pixel Tablet vs Amazon Fire Max 11: Which should you buy?
Making the final decision between the Pixel Tablet vs. Amazon Fire Max 11 comes down to what you plan on using the tablet for, along with your smart home ecosystem. If you want to be able to use your tablet with a keyboard case in order to get some work done, then the Fire Max 11 is the way to go.
You can still pair the Pixel Tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard, but it won't be the same experience. Instead, Google is positioning its tablet as a utilitarian device, focusing on content consumption and smart home controls. But the luxury of having a Speaker Dock will set you back a few more sheckles compared to the Fire Max 11.
On the other hand, while Amazon can tout the speed improvements over its predecessor, Fire OS isn't exactly for everyone. Plus, you'll have to sideload the Play Store unless you're okay with being limited to what's available on the Amazon App Store. And that's not even mentioning the fact that the Tensor G2 and 8GB of RAM will run circles around the MediaTek chip and 4GB of RAM in the Fire Max 11.
Both of these tablets are great in their own right, and while the overall picture painted by the Fire Max 11 looks better, the Pixel Tablet is no slouch.
A different type of versatility
The Pixel Tablet may seem as though its been limited by the lack of a keyboard attachment or included stylus. But Google is positioning this differently, despite being more powerful than Amazon's tablet.
Pick your bundle
You can opt to just pick up the Fire Max 11 by itself, but Amazon is also offering a few different bundles. One of which includes a keyboard case and stylus, turning this into an all-in-one device.
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Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.