It’s funny, for the last year everyone has been declaring that tablet, if not dead, is at least a sinking ship. And that’s mostly been fair. iPad sales are declining about 20% year over year–and that’s the most popular tablet in the world. Android and Windows tablets aren’t faring any better. But there may be a critical shift in the tablet market in 2016 if Apple and Google’s plans are any bellwether. That’s because both companies have announced “pro” tablets–tablets that aim to be both tablet and laptop. For Apple, it’ the just-released iPad Pro. For Google, its the upcoming Pixel C.
Could these beasts revive the tablet market? It's way too early to tell, but one thing we can begin doing is comparing them to each other. Here’s how they stack up.
iPad Pro vs Pixel C: Design and Specs
Display: 10.2-inch 2560×1800 pixel at 308 pixels per inch
Storage: 32 and 64 GB
Processors: Tegra X1 ARMv8 ARM Cortex-A57 quad-core + ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core (64-bit)
RAM: 3 GB
OS: Android Marshmallow 6.0
Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, possibly more
Size: To be announced (TBA)
Display: 12.9-inch 2732×2048 pixel at 264 pixels per inch
Colors: Silver, Space Grey, Gold
Storage: 32 and 128GB
Processors: 64-bit A9X and M9
OS: iOS 9.1
Cameras: front 1.2MP 720p HD camera and a rear 8MP 1080p HD camera
Connectivity: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, optional 4G
Size: 305 mm × 220 mm × 7 mm
Weight: 710 grams
To be fair to Google, this comparison isn’t exactly apples to apples (excuse the pun) because Google hasn’t revealed all the specs for the Pixel C. That being said, the company has released most of the major specs–and it appears the iPad Pro beats the Pixel C in almost all areas.
For example, the iPad Pro is packed with 4GB of RAM compared to the Pixel C’s 3GB. Then there is the storage options: the iPad Pro gives you a choice of 32GB or 128GB, whereas the Pixel C gives you 32GB or 64GB options. For tablets designed to be hybrids, I think 32GB is too little. I’d want AT LEAST 128GB, but it’s nice to have the 64GB option too.
As far as processor goes, the A9X found in the iPad Pro is said to be INSANELY fast–faster than the Intel chips found in some MacBooks. The Pixel C features the Tegra X1 chip which features a high power ARMv8 ARM Cortex-A57 quad-core processor along with a lower powered but more battery efficient ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core (64-bit) processor. It’s yet to be seen how the Tegra X1 compares to the A9X in real-world tests.
iPad Pro vs Pixel C: Display
It’s usually Android devices that have the larger displays, but in this case the iPad Pro wins hands down. First, the display is physically larger at 12.9-inches. But it’s also got a much higher resolution at 2732×2048 pixels. That compares to the Pixel C’s 10.2-inch display with 2560×1800 resolution. In short, if you are looking for a laptop replacement, the iPad Pro’s size is much closer to the normal 12- to 13-inch laptops you are used to carrying around. The Pixel C’s 10.2-inch display comes up a bit small.
iPad Pro vs Pixel C: Keyboards
Both the iPad Pro and Pixel C allow you to buy an additional keyboard accessory that transforms each tablet into a hybrid device. Each uses magnets, conduction, and Bluetooth to communicate with the respective tablet.
The sad thing in both these instances is that neither Apple nor Google include the keyboard–you’ll have to splash out over £100 extra in each case to get one.
iPad Pro vs Pixel C: Price & Verdict
The iPad Pro costs £679 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model, £799 for the 128GB Wi-Fi model, and £899 for the 128GB Wi-Fi + Cellular model. UK pricing has not been announced for the Pixel C yet, but in the US it costs $499 (about £329) for the 32GB model and $599 (about £399) for the 64GB model.
The Pixel C prices are significantly cheaper than those of the iPad Pro, but you’re also getting a lot less spec for spec. For starters the iPad Pro has the vastly larger and superior display. It also comes with the higher 128GB storage option and a 4G option as well. Another thing is has that the Pixel C lacks are front and rear cameras. The iPad Pro also has 25% more RAM.
Both the iPad Pro and Pixel C aren’t true hybrids until you splash out for their optional keyboard, however, so the cost of each goes up for that. But the iPad Pro also has another optional accessory–the Apple Pencil stylus for those that want to get serious graphics work done. The Pixel C offers no such stylus options.
If you’re a professional in the graphics or design industry, you’re almost certainly going to want to go with the iPad Pro. However, if you are just looking for a hybrid to replace your current laptop and tablet, your choice over which is best will depend on whether you are an iOS or Android fan.