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Pixel C Gut Reactions

The Pixel C arrived today. I read a new review that was quite disparaging about it this morning (before I had mine). Like most reviews it complained about flakey keyboard and WiFi connections, poor app experiences and general poor performance.

Well, I've been playing with it for two and a half hours so far and as far as I can tell these problems don't exist! Or at least I've got the magic Pixel C that doesn't suffer from the problems reviewers seem to find.

The Keyboard

I mentioned in my previous post that the keyboard scared me. £120 for a wireless tabtop[1] keyboard? Well, I really like it. The standard keyboard has a magnetic connection to the device which also charges the keyboard. The connection to the tablet section is over bluetooth. It was super simple to set up. I've not had any connection drops yet, even when using it next to an active microwave.

The keyboard layout is a bit weird. It's small so it is missing a few keys like "delete" but all the keys have a nice laptop style to them[2]. My hands don't hurt when using it which is nice and the hinge puts the screen at a good angle. There's a search button which brings up a Google search prompt which allows for a more keyboard centric workflow. Copy and paste works in the way you'd expect it and CTRL+Z even works. If you want a non standard character like π there's a button that brings up the symbol page of the on screen keyboard.

The build quality on it feels amazing. The keyboard also contains the hinge for the screen and wow does that feel solid. I was taken aback by how well the magnet and hinge hold the screen in place. Great stuff.

Is it worth £120? Ehhhh. Maybe. £120 buys you one of the best keyboards on the market (Filco Majestouch 2) but the Pixel C keyboard is very clever and does what it sets out to do.

The Tablet

The guts of the tablet is in the screen. It's got this 1:√2 aspect ratio which is cool to look at. The bezel is a lot nicer than the Nexus 7 because the upper/lower and left/right bezels are very similar sizes. The finish on the back of the tablet is a beautiful aluminium type finish with some nice lights that glow with the Google colours #branding.

I wont talk about the hardware inside because to be honest I don't have an opinion yet. Everything so far feels very fast but I don't know what that means in terms of hardware. I'm not a hardware dork. I will say the screen is beautiful. It's shiny so there's a bit of glare but I can deal with that. I can't see the pixels even when I'm very close.

Software

Lots of people are complaining that it's not optimised for multitasking yet. This is true. The screens aspect ratio means that when you split it in two horizontally both sections have the same aspect ratio (1:√2) as the tablet. So yes, it's clear that the software wasn't ready.

However, what on Earth do people want from a tablet UI? I have been able to do all the the things I've wanted to do without much effort. Sure you have to swap apps occasionally but most of the time I'm monotasking. Like writing this post.

The app experience has been pretty good so far. There are a couple of UI quirks in things like Twitter where you'd expect the textbox to be the first active item when you compose a new tweet but it isn't. Generally apps don't expect you to have a keyboard plugged it but nothing has broken yet. The iPlayer and Plex apps worked straight away. The iPlayer developers need to be praised because the UI looks fantastic on here.

As for text editing I paid £3 for a beautiful application called JotterPad which handles markdown really well and can do cloud stuff. I've also installed ConnectBot but I've not configured any SSH keys so it's fairly useless at the moment.

Conclusions

This device seems great. I don't think I'll be returning it tomorrow. I'm looking forward to Fab ranting at me on GNR for not wanting to spend more than £200 on a phone but jumping off the deep end with a Pixel C.


[1] - Tablet + Laptop = Tabtop

[2] - I tried the Macbook (the small non-pro non-air) on the weekend and that keyboard is vile. The Pixel C has a vastly superior keyboard. In face I wrote this entire post on the Pixel C.