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Pixel C vs iPad Pro: Which tablet is worth your money?

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iPad Pro

iPad Pro or Google Pixel C: It's Apple vs Google in the tablet wars

Apple's iPad range has thoroughly dominated the tablet market, and the new iPad Pro is looking to spread its influence into the realms of the productivity-focused laptop hybrid. Now Google has its own contender with the Pixel C.

Both of these tablets are ample in size and power, and filled some of the highest grade components possible.

Now that are reviews for both the iPad Pro and Pixel C are in, which is the better tablet? Let's take a closer look.

Related: iPad Air 3

Pixel C vs iPad Pro: Design

Pixel C: 242 x 179 x 7mm, 517g, USB Type-C slot, 3.5mm headphone port

iPad Pro: 305.7 x 220.6 x 6.9mm, 713g, Lightning slot, 3.5mm headphone port

These are two handsome tablet devices. The iPad Pro's design is nothing we haven't seen before, though. It's essentially a super-sized iPad Air 2, with a similar all-metal design and rounded edges.

It's also very slim at just 6.9mm, with is roughly the same thickness as the 7mm Pixel C.

Related: iPad Pro vs Surface Pro 4

Pixel C

Google's tablet, for its part, is a massive step up in build quality from most other Android tablets. This is the first tablet built by Google itself (the Nexus series tablets are all collaborations), and that extra attention to detail from the Android creator shows.

The Pixel C has a simple anodised aluminium metal frame, with squared-off edges and a premium-yet-robust feel. Weighing in at 517g, it's a fair bit lighter than the 713g iPad Pro, and is generally much easier to wield.

In fact, Google's tablet is altogether much smaller than the iPad Pro, and that's thanks to its smaller display.

Pixel C vs iPad Pro: Display

Pixel C: 10.2-inch LTPS LCD display, 2560 x 1800 resolution, 308ppi

iPad Pro: 12.9-inch LCD display, 2732 x 2048 resolution, 264ppi

As mentioned, the Pixel C's screen is significantly smaller than the iPad Pro's. While Apple has stretched the iPad form factor out to a whopping 12.9-inches, Google has stuck with a 10.2-inch size that's more typically associated with the term 'full-sized'.

The iPad Pro display technically has a higher resolution than the Pixel C at 2732 x 2048. The Pixel C screen, for its part, is 2560 x 1800.

Related: Best tablets 2015

iPad Pro

However, given the difference in size, the Pixel C display is actually a fair bit sharper than the iPad Pro's. While Apple's tablet produces a respectable pixel density of 264ppi, the Pixel C trumps it at 308ppi.

Still, both are crisp, accurate LCD displays that show off high resolution content brilliantly. We should also note just how bright the Pixel C's screen is - we had to drop it to 60 percent for comfortable usage.

Pixel C vs iPad Pro: Power

Pixel C: Nvidia X1 quad-core processor, 3GB RAM

iPad Pro: Apple A9X 2.26GHz dual-core processor, 4GB RAM

These two tablets pack two of the most powerful mobile processors in the business, and both will run the most intensive apps and processes without a stutter.

The Pixel C runs the little-used Nvidia X1 CPU, which boasts a 'console-grade GPU' as its defining feature. Meanwhile, Apple boasts that the iPad Pro's A9X CPU is faster than 80 percent of portable PCs released in the past year.

Related: WWDC 2016 – What to expect

iPad Pro

These boasts seem to bear out when comparing the performance level of the two tablets, with the iPad Pro having a clear edge in CPU tests and the Pixel C winning through on the GPU front.

In the Geekbench multi-core test, the iPad Pro scored 5,523 versus the Pixel C's 4,188. On the GPU-focused 3DMark Icestorm Unlimited test, the iPad Pro scored 33,483 while the Pixel C scored 41,400.

Both are blazingly fast, and in real world terms are the leading devices for their respective platforms. That's arguably all that really matters.

Pixel C vs iPad Pro: Input

Pixel C: Optional keyboard cover

iPad Pro: Optional Smart Keyboard, optional Apple Pencil

Both tablets have access to official-but-optional keyboard covers, both of which turn the host devices into pseudo laptops.

The Pixel C features a neat magnetic docking mechanism that doesn't suffer from any fiddly hooks or latches, and the typing experience is decent thanks to a solid base. However, it suffers from the lack of a touchpad, and we experienced some lag in the typing process.

The iPad Pro's Smart Keyboard offers a similarly strong typing experience, but also lacks a trackpad. It doesn't have the same adjustable angle as the Pixel C, though, and the general keyboard support mechanism is a lot more convoluted and less practical.

Pixel C

Both tablet keyboards suffer for their reliance on the touchscreen for navigation, betraying the fact that the host devices aren't running true desktop operating systems.

One point in the iPad Pro's advantage, however, is the availability of the Apple Pencil. This stylus enables fine sketching and writing capabilities, if that's your thing. It certainly makes the most of that massive display.

Its implementation isn't seamless, however, and there's nowhere to store it on the iPad Pro itself. But at least Apple made such a stylus provision. Google hasn't laid on anything of the kind.

Pixel C vs iPad Pro: Software

Pixel C: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow

iPad Pro: iOS 9

And so to the true differentiating factor when it comes to comparing Apples with Googles - the operating system.

Are you an iOS person or an Android person? With hardware this uniformly good, the answer to that question could well determine which of these devices you opt for.

Both Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and iOS 9 are fine, modern operating systems. However, if we were to judge them on the merits of these two devices, we'd have to hand the win to the iPad Pro.

Related: What's new in iOS 9.2?

iPad iOS

It comes down to this: iOS is, and has always been, a better tablet OS than Android has (smartphones are a much closer-fought thing). It's simply been better optimised for the large-screen format - particularly in iOS 9, where Apple has implemented tablet-specific split-screen multitasking.

This latter feature is coming to Android, Google has confirmed, but not until Android 7.0 N - which is the best part of a year away.

Then there's Apple's peerless app ecosystem, which again is much better optimised for tablets than the Google Play Store. Put it down to the dominance of iPads past, but third party app developers seem to go to greater lengths to make their apps sing on iPad than they do on Android tablets - with a few notable exceptions, of course.

Pixel C vs iPad Pro: Storage

Pixel C: 32GB / 64GB

iPad Pro: 32GB / 128GB

Apple wins the storage round, but not by much. Both tablets have 32GB as their base model, which we approve of. However, while the Pixel C's top model is 64GB, the iPad Pro's is 128GB.

We would have liked both of these higher options for both tablets, in truth, but the iPad's is obviously more generous.

Related: What's new in Android Marshmallow 6.0.1?

Pixel C

Neither tablet comes with expandable storage, which is arguably a bit of an oversight in an ostensibly productivity-focused market. We kind of expect this of the iPad Pro, but it's a pity that Google didn't see fit to add one to the Pixel C.

It's far from unheard of in an Android tablet, after all.

Pixel C vs iPad Pro: Battery

Pixel C: 9.000 mAh,

iPad Pro: 10,307 mAh, 10 hours mixed usage

The iPad Pro's battery is a fair bit bigger than the Pixel C's, but then you'd hope so given the significantly larger body of the Apple device and its associated bigger screen.

Both companies claim that their devices can go for 10 hours of continual usage. Sure enough, in our experience, both seem to discharge at similar rates.

For example, when playing 3D games, the iPad Pro tended to drop 19 percent of its battery life per hour. For the Pixel C, it was 15 to 18 percent.

Pixel C

Pixel C vs iPad Pro: Price

Pixel C: £399 - £479

iPad Pro: £679 - £899

So far, we'd say that the iPad Pro has the slight edge on the Pixel C. But here's an area that could swing things round entirely.

The most expensive model of the Pixel C is £200 cheaper than the entry-level iPad Pro. That's a huge difference.

This arguably makes the Pixel C a better option than the iPad Pro if you're on a budget, although we'd argue that the iPad Air 2 is more of a direct rival at a similar price. But that's another story.

Verdict

Both the Pixel C and the iPad Pro are premium all-metal tablets with bags of power and rich, pixel-dense displays. They're also the pinnacle of their respective platforms on pure performance terms, thanks to the presence of high-end processors.

Both also benefit from decent keyboard covers that provide an improved, if far from flawless, typing experience.

But we'd give the edge to the iPad Pro in terms of overall experience. It's got nothing to do with the bigger display (though that will matter to some), but rather has to do with the iOS platform that supports it. Apple's OS is simply better suited to tablet usage at this point than Android, with a better-optimised UI and a richer library of tablet-oriented apps.

Of course, you have to pay a premium for the iPad Pro that many will be unwilling to pay, so if you're looking for a keyboard-supplemented tablet for less than £500, the Pixel C will obviously be the better pick.

iPad Pro or Google Pixel C: which would you choose? Let us know in the comments section below

Apis Bull

December 14, 2015, 1:53 pm

Boom, the price, was waiting for that bit.

chancooluk

December 14, 2015, 2:53 pm

Um, neither, thanks.
The Surface Pro 4 wipes the floor with both of them if you want to get any work done.

John

December 14, 2015, 3:32 pm

Agreed. Android is just grim for power users.

Kenneth

December 14, 2015, 3:38 pm

Well I went with the iPad Pro, being an Apple user all ready with laptop, phones, wireless and all things Apple in my personal ecosystem. However, I almost went with the SP4 because of the notion you can get more work done and better business app support for the MS tablet. However, I would suggest one look at their own usage requirements before making any purchases. I have all the MS Office apps installed and use them on my iPad Pro on a regular basis. Email is Outlook and the built in email app. The trickiest part for me was requiring support for work-related in-house applications that run only within a microsoft environment. Well, with a vendor VPN app and Remote Desktop for Windows, my iPad Pro can now connect to this environment and functions perfectly. This was something I thought only my MacBook Pro or a SP4 would be able to do. So for my needs, the iPad Pro covers them all and then some. I took it with me to Europe a couple of weeks ago as my only computer and was able to do everything I normally do with my MBPro. So, for me personally the iPad Pro was the right choice. I would again recommend anyone considering a tablet (as augmenting Laptop use or considering a Laptop replacement) to research all devices and the apps that you would need to use. The iPad Pro (iOS) has a very rich app ecosystem.

🍩DH🍩 (semi-ret'd)💤💤💤

December 14, 2015, 4:16 pm

Windows tablets and hybrids wipe the floor with these mobile OS toys.

Jurassic

December 14, 2015, 5:03 pm

Windows tablets use a desktop operating system, and are basically an Intel Windows notebook PC with a detachable keyboard/trackpad. That detachable keyboard/trackpad is a necessity, since trying to use a desktop Windows operating system and desktop Windows apps on a small touch display is very unproductive.

On the other hand, both iOS and Android operating systems and apps, are designed from the ground up to be used using multi-touch. An external keyboard can be used with those tablets, but it is NOT a necessity and most users DON'T ever buy one.

Also, iOS and Android tablets use ARM processors, while Windows tablet/notebooks use Intel processors. Windows is NOT optimized for ARM processors, which are much more energy efficient than Intel processors. This means less heat generated, and longer battery life, while doing similar functions.

You may believe that ARM tablets are "toys", but many businesses have now replaced millions of Windows notebook PCs with these tablets... And for good reason!

🍩DH🍩 (semi-ret'd)💤💤💤

December 14, 2015, 5:34 pm

I can and have used traditional apps even on a 7" tablet, but most Windows machines are now a minimum 8" if not 10" and the apps work fine or they can be scaled if really necessary. There are tons of Windows apps which are touch optimised for tablet use including Office. Even the most fiddly software can be used with something like Touch Mouse Pointer. Many Windows tablets either come with a keyboard like my x2 did or it's an option, like on the Surface Pro, basically Windows tablets offer the best of both approaches as standard.

The next thing is where I really take issue because you are simply wrong. Windows 10 is a 100% universal OS, it works on ARM just as well as Intel, that is a fact. Even Windows RT ran on ARM processors, Windows 10 runs on ARM powered phones like my 950. There may even be some ARM Windows tablets next year in the 7" category. Intel mobile processors ARE energy efficient, I get 12 hours continuous use from my x2 running Windows 10. I never said ARM tablets are toys, I was referring to a scaled up mobile phone OS and running little apps compared to a fully featured OS that delivers the best of both worlds mobile apps and full desktop applications. Look, I'm not being 'anti' these things, I've got an Android tablet but if I spent £99 or £599 it would make no difference, they are great for minor tasks, playing games, consuming media, but that's it. They are not in the same class as Windows tablets/hybrids.

Jurassic

December 14, 2015, 6:02 pm

"I can and have used traditional apps even on a 7" tablet, but most Windows machines are now a minimum 8" if not 10""

I dare you to use the desktop version of Photoshop or Dreamweaver on a 7" Windows tablet. 😃

"Even Windows RT ran on ARM processors,"

"Ran" is the operative word. Microsoft dropped RT almost as quickly as it introduced it. There are many reasons for that, including the lack of Windows RT apps.

"I never said ARM tablets are toys"

Don't you read what you wrote, or do you just type things telekinetically? You wrote "Windows tablets and hybrids wipe the floor with these mobile OS toys". So please don't try to convince anyone that you "never said ARM tablets are toys"!!!

"they are great for minor tasks, playing games, consuming media, but that's it."

You are so wrong! (and that's it!). iPads are being used by many companies and businesses. In fact, 97% of the Fortune 500 companies have deployed millions of iPads, replacing former notebook PCs. Everyone from IBM to international airlines, to architect companies, etc., etc., etc.

Being unaware of facts does not make your opposing opinions any more real than the fantasies they are.

RichardWrite

December 14, 2015, 6:10 pm

I love how you try to turn the fact that a Surface device can run full desktop versions of programs like Photoshop into an argument against it. If your argument is that a Windows device is not a "tablet" because the full desktop version of it can't be used without a mouse, fine....then we can use the Touch version of it, like with any other tablet. The difference is....WE have the choice of the two.

RichardWrite

December 14, 2015, 6:12 pm

In the midst of the fanboi wars, I think yours is a reasoned response: Sometimes you gotta go with the eco-system that you're invested in.

Jurassic

December 14, 2015, 6:17 pm

"I love how you try to turn the fact that a Surface device can run full desktop versions of programs like Photoshop into an argument against it."

I'm glad you love it! (Oh wait, are you being facetious? ;-))

In case you missed it (which you obviously have done) I was responding to Darth Homer's comment that he has "used traditional apps [i.e. desktop Windows apps] even on a 7" tablet".

But if you agree with Darth Homer that it is somehow easy to use desktop Windows apps on a 7" tablet, then the dare applies to you also.

RichardWrite

December 14, 2015, 6:18 pm

Nope....just going back to the original point, that a Surface wipes the floor with these devices, since it can be a full laptop if I want to be (with programs like Photoshop) or it can be a touch-centric tablet if I want it to be (with apps like Photoshop Touch).

🍩DH🍩 (semi-ret'd)💤💤💤

December 14, 2015, 6:51 pm

Oh dear, now you're becoming angry.

I would not run Photoshop on my 7" Stream, silly argument. I've already said newer machines are 8" or 10". I DO run Photoshop on my 10" x2, I also ran it on my old Surface Pro.

My point about RT, which you glazed over, is that Windows RT ran on ARM and Windows 10 also runs on ARM and Intel - equally, thus invalidating your argument.

I wrote 'mobile OS toys', not ARM devices, don't conflate them to suit your own argument. I was probably using ARM powered computers before you even heard of them, so don't make out I have a prejudice against them. I was referring to mobile OS 'toys',

Yes they are used in business, I never denied that. In many situations they are more useful than laptops or certainly desktops. But equally I've SEEN businesses which use Windows tablets for lots of tasks, my doctor uses one, even the guy who came to measure and quote a new floor for our kitchen had a Windows tablet which he could then take back to the office, connect a keyboard, mouse, display and printer, connect to their server and continue working.

Windows 10 devices do the mobile thing and the desktop thing well on the same device, that's what you're just not appreciating. I can play Cut the Rope (I can even play Android apps on Bluestacks) or use my Windows 10 tablet to watch a movie on Netflix or Amazon, read a comic even.. and then, by simply clicking in a keyboard, I can do 3D modelling and rendering or do some Python coding or some Arduino experimentation on one -single- device.

🍩DH🍩 (semi-ret'd)💤💤💤

December 14, 2015, 6:55 pm

Agreed.

Jurassic

December 14, 2015, 6:58 pm

"Surface wipes the floor with these devices" (because you say so ;-))

"since it can be a full laptop if I want to be (with programs like Photoshop)".

Yes, it is an over-priced Windows laptop, with a thick and heavy display, and lower quality keyboard and trackpad than what you would find on much less expensive Windows laptops.

"or it can be a touch-centric tablet if I want it to be"

If that is how you want a tablet... running the overhead of a full desktop operating system, a less energy efficient Intel processor, and a dearth of multi-touch apps designed for tablet use.

Microsoft is trying to give you a laptop (running a desktop operating system and desktop apps) AND a multi-touch tablet (running a multi-touch tablet operating system and apps), and missing the mark on both!

Jurassic

December 14, 2015, 7:02 pm

"Oh dear, now you're becoming angry."

You are just plain weird. You may want me to be "angry", which is a primary goal for trolls (just out to annoy others), but unlike you, I don't get "angry" by shooting down irrational opinions by presenting facts (in fact I enjoy it ;-))

🍩DH🍩 (semi-ret'd)💤💤💤

December 14, 2015, 7:08 pm

You're just spouting garbage, sorry it's getting embarrassing to read.

There are many Windows tablet type devices, mine is lighter than any iPad I've owned (and yes I've owned a couple and Android tabs). Mine has a great keyboard and touchpad, you're making generalisations.

'The overhead of a full desktop operating system' What does that mean?? The OS image size is comparable to any other, you're just putting down Windows 10 because it CAN do desktop as well as mobile - ridiculous! The Intel processors ARE energy efficient, I get 12 hours from my X2, so get your damn facts right instead of spreading lies. Touch apps ARE multitouch by design, stop talking crap.

And btw, let's put this Fanboy FUD to rest now - there is NO DIFFERENCE in touching a defined square of pixels or clicking it with a mouse - ZERO! 99.99% of desktop apps on a 10" screen (the optimal standard for Windows tabs) work FINE.

Anyway, I've got work to do - on my Windows device.

Jurassic

December 14, 2015, 7:10 pm

"I wrote 'mobile OS toys', not ARM devices"

You are doing a lousy job of trying to pretend that you didn't say what you clearly DID say!

If I have to quote you again, here it is:

"Windows tablets and hybrids wipe the floor with these mobile OS toys."

This article that you are commenting on is about the iPad Pro and the Pixel C... BOTH are ARM devices, and you clearly DID call them "these mobile OS toys."

By being in such denial, you are only making yourself look more foolish to others..

Jurassic

December 14, 2015, 7:14 pm

"You're just spouting garbage"

Oh I see, because you are "angry", you think that I am too.

Wrong. But I can understand how frustrated you must feel trying to support completely unfounded and bizarre opinions.

;-)

🍩DH🍩 (semi-ret'd)💤💤💤

December 14, 2015, 7:15 pm

You are retarded. Sorry.

"Windows tablets and hybrids wipe the floor with these mobile OS toys."

It's clear, Windows tablets and hybrids wipe the floor with these "MOBILE OS TOYS".

I SAID NOTHING ABOUT ARM - YOU DID. Why would I have an axe to grind when I have ARM powered devices? When I've been using them since they were invented to replace the 6502 by Acorn?? Learn some basic comprehension, until then I'm done with you because you're talking crap and just making stuff up it's embarrassing really.

Paul

December 14, 2015, 8:27 pm

another lustful apple victory

A-thought

December 14, 2015, 9:41 pm

That's a common fallacy regurgitated by those who are very unfamiliar with Windows tablets.

I use a 10.1 inch Windows tablet every day, and 80% of the time it is without a keyboard. And I absolutely love it. Productivity without limitations like the other stuff, and very usable.

A-thought

December 14, 2015, 9:47 pm

Also agreed.

Some people like choice. Others like a company to tell them what to use, and worship the company for limiting their choices. The two shall never meet.

A-thought

December 14, 2015, 9:51 pm

"MS is trying to give you a desktop and a tablet, and missing the mark on both!"

Your name suits you - that meme you've bought into hook/line/and sinker is as old as the Jurassic period, and increasingly irrelevant. Have you read any SP4 reviews lately?

But keep spouting it if it makes you feel better.

A-thought

December 14, 2015, 10:00 pm

That's my experience too. I get close to 12 hours out of my asus t100, even apps like excel work good with touch, and I love being able to connect to monitors, wifi printers, disk drives, etc. without a hitch. In contrast, first time I tried to edit one of my advanced Excel spreadsheets on my iPad, it corrupted the whole spreadsheet. what a joke.

I'm convinced of majority of critics haven't really tried a Windows tablet, they're just spouting off The same criticisms they've heard.

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