You may be forgiven to think Google was new to wireless charging if you have not been obsessed for its products for many years. Nexus 4, 5 and 6 all had wireless charging features, and Google launched its own wireless charger in 2013. After ignoring wireless charging for several years, the feature is back on Pixel 3 and 3 XL. Google also sells a wireless charger again: Pixel Stand.
Not much has changed over the last five+ years. Google's official wireless charger costs more than the competition, and it has an unusual design. However, Pixel Stand contains some really cool technology, and it integrates tightly with Pixel 3. You probably do not need these features. It's hard to justify $ 79 for the stand when you can get a Qi compliant pillow that charges the phone just as well for $ 20.
Design, Hardware, What's in the Box
Pixel Stand is the ultimate minimalist deconstruction of what a charger can be. It is a flat circular base, an oval-shaped back to support the phone, and a small lip to hold the phone in place. That's it. The pixel stand looks like someone started drawing a chair in Microsoft Paint, did a bad job, and gave up.
Google's wireless charger comes only in white, which seems like an unanswered opportunity. Google could have offered versions that match all Pixel colors. The underside has an unexpected color crack ̵
The machine is covered top-to-bottom in soft plastic, which prevents the phone from slipping too much when you release it. The lower lip that keeps Pixel from slipping down has a scalloped edge, which is a bit odd. There's nothing that stops the phone from sliding side to side, so avoid jostling the tripod.
Your Pixel 3 charges at 10W when standing on the stand, as the phone reports as "Loading fast." Although it is 8W slower than you come with the cable, and 5W slower than Samsung's wireless charger with its phones. A small hidden LED lights up on the front of Pixel Stand when docking the phone to let you know that it is connected. The stand charges any phone with compatible wireless technology (Qi), but the custom Google features only work with Pixel.
Pixel mode piggybacks an identification signal on the wireless charging waves using a technology designed by Google. This means that the phone is actually paired with your Pixel Stand automatically – no Bluetooth or NFC required. When docked, the phone always activates assistance, and it can offer suggestions (via a button on the screen) like playing the news or reading your messages. In the Pixel Stand dock, you can rename your stand and configure it to enable, do not disturb, turn off the screen at night, or view the latest images automatically. It also integrates with the Nest Hello doorbell.
The box does not contain anything unexpected. You get Pixel Stand, a USB C-to-C cable and a plug. The charger can charge 18 W charge if plugged directly into the phone, so I guess it's identical to the storage charger you have with Pixel.
Should you buy it?
Probably not . I applaud Google to add wireless charging to the phone again, but Pixel Stand is just too expensive to compete with all charge-basement charging pads using the same Qi technology. Google's custom features are neat and they enhance the experience. But they are not worth the exorbitant $ 79 asking price.
I like that dropping Pixel 3 on the stand can turn on features like always in listening and photo frame mode. The way Google identifies Pixel Stand on via the charging signal is undeniably smart. You can even have more pixel racks (such as a home and one at work) with different settings. It's easy to take care of a messy desk because it has a small footprint. It will interfere with your layout because it is an unremarkable device. The pixel mode is not elegant or interesting – it's only . The soft touch surface prevents the phone from sliding around, but I would feel safer if it was something to keep it from sliding side to side – the sculpted lip does not work properly.
If you start buying multiple Pixel Tripods for home and work, the cost will pick up quickly. The price is just too high when there are highly rated chargers that can make 10W too much less (like this and this). Even Samsung's fancy quick charger is about half as expensive as Pixel Stand. You can claim it comes with a Pixel Speed Charger, and it's $ 35 in itself. However, you will only leave the stand connected all the time, and Google's wired chargers are too quite overpriced.