Google Pixel C - Google Pixel C – Software and performance

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Google Pixel C – Software

Unlike Google’s last Chromebook Pixel, the Pixel C runs the Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system, not Chrome OS.

This

is a massive improvement as, despite Google’s efforts, Chrome OS’s

reliance on cloud apps was a big hindrance and it never felt as

developed as Android.

With Marshmallow on board, this restriction

has been removed and buyers will have access to all the apps on the

Play Store, making it better for both work and play.
Pixel C
My one

concern is that most of the apps on Android haven’t been optimised for

the physical keyboard. Games don’t let you use the arrow keys to control

characters and many productivity apps still require touch input to work

properly, which is an annoyance.

Hopefully this will change in

the near future, as Google’s confirmed it’s working with developers to

add keyboard controls to Android apps.

Used as a pure tablet, Android

Marshmallow is as sweet as ever on the Pixel. The OS launched earlier

this year alongside Google’s Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P smartphones and comes

loaded with a wealth of innovative new features. The best of these are

enhanced privacy controls, a “Doze” battery-saving feature and improved

Google Now functionality.

The privacy controls let you manage

which apps can access your data, while Doze enables the Pixel C

to detect when the tablet is inactive and slowing down, or shutting off

unnecessary features to reduce power consumption. The upgraded Google Now functionality means you’re able to access it within applications by holding down the home button.

Google’s

also designed the Pixel C to take advantage of Marshmallow’s improved Now

voice command features and has loaded the tablet with four far-field

microphones.

The tech is similar to that seen on the Amazon Echo speaker and should radically improve the Pixel C’s voice-recognition powers.

Utter

the magic words “OK Google” and the Pixel C will be at your beck and

call, even if it’s on the other side of the room. Having tried to

showcase Google Now’s charms while filming a video in a noisy office, I

can confirm the microphones work a treat.
Pixel C
However, Android still suffers from a few niggling issues that hamper the

Pixel C’s overall appeal. Multitasking still isn’t up to

scratch on Marshmallow and the lack of multi-window

functionality rapidly begins to grate when using the Pixel C as a laptop. The dearth of optimised tablet apps in the Play Store is also still an

ongoing pain.

This combination of

factors makes the Pixel C occasionally feel like a great piece of

hardware that’s let down by unoptimised software.

Google Pixel C – Performance

The

Pixel C is, on paper, a powerhouse Android tablet.  A key selling point

is its use of a quad-core Nvidia X1 processor, which is paired with a

Maxwell GPU and 3GB of DDR4 memory.

The Pixel C benchmarks

amazingly well. I couldn’t get AnTuTu to run on it – which is likely due

to its use of the atypical Nvidia CPU. But on the more general

Geekbench benchmark test the Pixel C ran in with a 4,188 multi-core score. On

the GPU-focused 3DMark Icestorm Unlimited and Slingshot tests the Pixel

C finished with 41,400 and 2,856 scores respectively. These scores are

some of the highest I’ve seen on an Android tablet.

By

comparison, the Nexus 9 scored 3,562 points on Geekbench. Samsung’s

flagship Galaxy Tab S2 also fails to match the Pixel C’s performance,

scoring 3,562 on Geekbench and 19,306 on Icestorm Unlimited.

With

real-world use the Pixel C’s impressive benchmarks have generally rung

true. The Pixel C opens applications in milliseconds and I’m yet to find

a 3D game or task it can’t run without stutter or chug. All in all you’re

not going to find better performance on any other Android tablet at the

moment.