Google Pixel Stand Review

The Google Pixel Stand is a wireless charging accessory for Google’s latest phones, or any Qi-compatible phone for that matter. If you’re using the Pixel 3 or 3 XL, it basically gives you a Google Home Mini for free. But it isn’t perfect.

Functionality

Whenever you put your Pixel 3 on the stand, it replaces the ambient display with a different screen, with Google assistant functionality, photo slideshow and sunrise alarm clock. I don’t use my phone as my alarm as a clock, so I haven’t tested the latter, but I can’t imagine it would affect sleep too much. I have multiple Google Home Minis in my house, and the phone does not do as good of a job as them. The music is quieter, but still plenty loud, the microphones are worse, which is pretty bad, but the photo functionality is great. My only concern is that it is wasting the battery as it comes into the phone, which is notoriously bad for the health of the battery (which isn’t that great to start with…) Seems a bit counter-intuitive Google.

One of my favourite things about the stand is the music functionality. If you are playing music, and you put the phone on the stand, it shows the album cover, the song name, the singer, a progress bar through the song, pause, play, skip and rewind buttons, and a Google Assistant button. I could not ask for any more. I could literally not improve this in any way, and I love it, whenever I play music on the phone.

The stand will charge your phone at 10 watts, which is the industry standard for wireless charging, or 7.5 watts for iPhones, which was the industry standard for Android in 2016. That is barely sufficient when the latest from Huawei can wirelessly charge at 15 watts. Google needs to catch up, and fast. However, that isn’t really a dock on Google, that is just a benefit of Huawei, as all phones wirelessly charge slower than the Mate 20 Pro.

Design

I think the Pixel Stand looks nice. Minimalistic, clean and angled perfectly. The rubber grips on the bottom make it near impossible for it to be unintentionally shifted. The cable runs under the stand, to make it near invisible, and that gives it a very cool look. My only single complaint about the design is that it is not very portable. It is thin where the top section connects to the base, and due to the angle of the stand itself, can snap quite easily. If I had designed this, I would have added functionality to let it fold flat, even if the charging stopped working, just to make it more portable. Other than that, it looks awesome and is perfectly functional.

Nitpicks

Now, time for the part where I get a bit rant-y. Google made some software decisions for this accessory that make me really dislike using it.

Number one, when the phone is wirelessly charging on the stand, it is actually on. The display that replaces the ambient display is actually turned on. That makes for some glitches when turning the phone ‘on’ from that screen, such as the phone turning off for a few seconds before realising it should have turned on, or it taking 3 seconds to respond after pressing the on button. That is really annoying. I assume they did it to get the colour display working, but surely there was another way to do that, rather than keeping the phone on all the time.

Number 2, but this is more of a criticism of the Google Assistant in general, asking your Google Assistant something turns the screen on, to a full white display. That will drain the battery that you are trying to preserve. From that screen, there is no way to turn the screen off without touching the phone, which is the main point of the Google Assistant. Why not include a command like ‘go to sleep’ that turns the screen off? It would save me so much strife. Even Bixby can process simple commands like that.

Verdict

The Pixel Stand has a steep asking price of £70/$80. That is expensive for such a simple product. However, I think that it is worth it if you have a Pixel 3. If not, don’t even consider it. You get a (reasonably) fast charger and that’s it. Sure, it isn’t perfect. It could use some major updates, but it is by far the best wireless charger for Google’s latest phones.

So, what do you think? Is it way too overpriced, or do you fancy picking one up? Let me know in the comments down below.