Pixel C Teardown—the C Stands for Confusion

Google’s Pixel C launch received such a resounding “meh” that we initially skipped a teardown. But the Pixel C returned to headlines once Google dropped the price, offering the Pixel C as an Android N developer machine.The Android/Chrome convergence is coming, so maybe we should take a peek at that hardware after all.

Google’s first foray into tablet manufacture feels more like a designed-by-commitee piece of hardware than the ones they actually outsourced. What was the Pixel C supposed to be? Chrome OS-powered laplet? Or throwaway tablet? The tablet has tons of magnets to mount to the fancy keyboard—but with the single-window limitation of Android OS, why bother? The hardware is nicely streamlined, but stray cable boobytraps baffle. The components are wonderfully modular, but embedded in glue. Maybe the Pixel C will be better in its next life.

Google Pixel C teardown
Pixel C’s tablet mount hinge.

Google Pixel C teardown highlights:

  • The heavily adhered battery of the Pixel C comes in at 34.2 Wh—which beats the 27.9 Wh 9.7″ iPad Pro, but lags behind the Surface Pro 4’s 38.2 Wh powerhouse.
  • Google is mad for magnets, 17 magnets to be exact, spread throughout the whole case to allow it to connect to the keyboard. In said glue-packed keyboard, a narrow cable lines up with a magnet in the Pixel C’s case, so our bets are on Hall effect sensor. This way the keyboard instantly knows it’s attached to the tablet so “you can start typing in an instant.”
  • It’s no secret we love modular components, and the Pixel C is chock full of them! But for some reason, they are buried behind glue. Accordingly, the Pixel C earns a 4/10 on the repairability scale.

This is just a short review of our teardown. Check out iFixit’s full analysis, including lots of disassembly photos, on iFixit.