Better, but at a cost
The Galaxy Tab S9 blows away the Pixel Tablet in pretty much every aspect, making it the better buy for users looking to be productive. The only catch really is the higher price tag.
- Includes an S Pen
- Brighter and more vibrant display
- Plenty of first-party accessories
- Faster performance
- Better for productivity workflows
- More expensive
- No docking station despite POGO pins
Tablet or smart home hub?
Google's first Android tablet in years is finally here, and it tries to change the way you think about how to use a tablet. But it does fall short in quite a few ways compared to the new Galaxy Tab S9.
- Less expensive
- Supports USI 2.0 stylus pens
- Includes Charging Speaker Dock
- Pixel software is delightful
- Doubles as a smart home hub
- No official stylus or keyboard accessories
- Display is limited to 60Hz
- No expandable storage
Over the past six months, we've seen the Android tablet market heat up quite a bit. We've seen new options from the likes of Amazon and Lenovo, but Google even jumped back into the mix with its Pixel Tablet. Samsung has remained at the top of the mountain, but we're going to take a look at how the Galaxy Tab S9 stacks up against the Pixel Tablet to determine which tablet is right for you.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 vs. Google Pixel Tablet: Where the Tab S9 excels
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Without burying the lead any further, the Galaxy Tab S9 really is the better overall Android tablet compared to the Pixel Tablet. The list of reasons why is pretty long, starting with the better AMOLED display, included S Pen, and all of the different productivity-focused accessories that you have to choose from.
Then, there's the whole argument about performance between the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy and Google's Tensor G2 chip. While the Pixel Tablet is reportedly using different clock speeds, it's still pretty fair to say that the Galaxy Tab S9 will offer better overall performance. If you need more proof as to why, just check out our comparison of the Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Pixel 7 Pro.
|Category||Samsung Galaxy Tab S9||Google Pixel Tablet|
|Display||11-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x, 60Hz-120Hz), 2560 x 1600||10.95-inch LCD (60Hz), 2560 x 1600|
|Chipset||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy||Google Tensor G2|
|Memory||8GB or 12GB||8GB|
|Storage||128GB or 256GB w/ microSD card slot (up to 1TB)||128GB or 256GB|
|Rear Camera 1 (main camera)||13MP AF||8MP|
|Rear Camera 2 (ultrawide)||❌||❌|
|Charging||25W wired charging, 10-15W fast wireless charging 2.0, 4.5W reverse wireless charging||15W via USB-C or via Charging Speaker Dock|
|Sound||Quad Stereo Speakers w/ AKG tuning, Dolby Atmos||Quad speakers|
|Biometrics||On-screen fingerprint scanner||Fingerprint on power button|
|Connectivity||5G, LTE, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3||WiFi 6 (5GHz), Bluetooth 5.2, Ultra-Wideband, Google Cast|
|Stylus||S Pen included w/ 2.8ms latency||Supports USI 2.0|
|Weight||498 grams||493 grams|
|Dimensions||10.01 x 6.53 x 0.23 in||10.2 x 6.7 x 0.3 in|
|Colors||Beige, Graphite||Porcelain, Hazel, Rose|
Both of these tablets offer 128GB or 256GB of storage, but only the Tab S9 includes a microSD card slot with support for up to 1TB. Simply put, you can't upgrade the storage in the Pixel Tablet, so you'll need to decide whether 128GB will be enough or if you'll want to double it.
Battery life is another area where the Tab S9 dominates, as it sports an 8,400mAh cell compared to the 7,020mAh battery in the Pixel Tablet. Both tablets will get you through a single day of usage with ease, but the Tab S9's larger capacity is going to let you go for longer before reaching for a charger.
Going back to the S Pen, Samsung is still including this in the box, something that you won't find with the Pixel Tablet. And thanks to the AMOLED display, latency when using the S Pen on the Tab S9 is down to an incredible 2.8ms. And it still magnetically attaches to the back of the tablet, giving you a place to store it when it's not in use while also keeping it charged.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 vs. Google Pixel Tablet: Going for Google
Google's first Android tablet in years isn't your "run of the mill" tablet experience. The company took a different approach with the Pixel Tablet, as it's positioned as more of a smart home hub, even if Google won't admit it. That's simply because of the included Charging Speaker Dock, while also being the first Android tablet to include a built-in Chromecast.
Google even went so far as to include a dedicated "Hub mode" that makes it extremely easy to control all of your smart home devices while the tablet is docked. Frankly, it's replaced the Nest Hub in my home office, and I couldn't be happier.
If I want to go sit on the couch and catch up on my RSS feeds, I just detach the tablet from the dock. And when I'm done, I just throw it back on the dock and never have to worry about running out of juice. Provided that I actually remember to take it out of the living room.
On the flip side of things, the Pixel Tablet supports the USI 2.0 standard, allowing you to use the same stylus from your Chromebook with your tablet. This is great if you already have a USI pen, as you won't need to worry about paying more for a different one.
There are rumblings and rumors that Google could be working on a few first-party "productivity" peripherals. These include a USI stylus and maybe even a keyboard case, but as it currently stands, Google has yet to make any type of announcement.
But something else that Google has on its side is the price of the Pixel Tablet. For just $499, you might not get the best screen or fastest processor, but you will get a pretty solid Android tablet. And the best part is that the Charging Speaker Dock is included in the box, removing the pain of trying to find one after the fact.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 vs. Google Pixel Tablet: Which should you buy?
There's one more thing to consider when comparing the Galaxy Tab S9 vs. Pixel Tablet; software updates. Samsung has committed to providing four major Android OS updates, along with five years of security patches. Google, on the other hand, is "only" offering three major OS updates while also offering five years of security updates.
What it really comes down to when making this decision is how you plan on using your tablet. If you're someone who wants to be productive and get work done, then the Tab S9 and its keyboard cover is going to be the better fit.
But if you're really just wanting a tablet to sit back on the couch with, then the Pixel Tablet is the better bet. And you have the benefit of using it as a smart home hub, along with being able to enjoy the Pixel experience on a tablet. All the while saving yourself a bunch of money in the process.
If you want the best Android tablet, without making any compromises and regardless of the price tag, then the Tab S9 is definitely the way to go.
The Pixel Tablet is in a bit of a weird spot compared to the Galaxy Tab S9, but maybe that's the point. It still offers a solid overall experience, and you get the Charging Speaker Dock in the box.
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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.