Google Pixel Stand (2nd gen): stand and deliver (review)

8.3

A wireless charger that holds your phone upright, the Google Pixel Stand (2nd gen) ensures your smartphone is always at your beck and call.

With smartphones so central to our lives, you can find yourself lost when the battery runs low and you need to plug it in. A wireless charger doesn’t just do away with the inconvenience of cables, it can also hold your phone upright so you can see the screen and keep using it while it charges.

As such, a wireless charger might be perfect for your desk or kitchen bench, so you can charge your phone during the day. It might also find a home on your bedside table, especially if you want to use your phone as an alarm clock.

The Google Pixel Stand (2nd gen) is primarily designed for Google’s Pixel gadgets, delivering up to 23-watt charging to Pixel phones – from the Pixel 3 onwards – and Pixel Buds earphones. It’s also compatible with a wide range of Qi-certified devices, delivering up to 15 watts.

Review: Google Pixel Stand (2nd gen)

Website Google Australia
Price $119 RRP
Warranty 1 year
RelatedShow me other Pixel news and reviews on GadgetGuy 

First impressions

The Google Pixel Stand (2nd gen) has undergone a redesign from the 1st gen model. It’s slightly wider and deeper, but not quite as tall, allowing room for the new built-in fan.

As a result it looks less elegant, although the utilitarian design has allowed Google to reduce the weight while maintaining stability, to reduce the chances of knocking it over.

Google includes a 1.5-metre USB-C-to-USB-C cable in the box, along with a 30-watt USB-C AC power adaptor. It uses the PD 3.0 fast charging standard, plus it is a Programmable Power Supply (PPS), which allows it to adjust current and voltage for more efficient charging.

Unfortunately, the redesign sees the charge cable stick out further from the back of the cradle, meaning it needs a little more clearance when sitting up against a wall.

A built-in, a very quiet fan means it’s not just for charging your smartphone while it’s at rest. It can also cool your phone if you’re streaming or making video calls while it’s on the charge stand.

Google Pixel Stand (2nd gen) Specs

Height: 113.9 mm
Width 71.6 mm
Length 82 mm
Weight 71 gm
Connectivity USB-C
Sustainability Made from 39% recycled materials
Charging Up to 23W for compatible Pixel phones
Up to 15W (EPP) for Qi-certified devices

Features

The Google Pixel Stand (2nd gen) offers faster wireless charging than its predecessor. The 1st gen model only delivered up to 10W for all compatible Pixel phones and up to 5W for other Qi-certified devices, while the 2nd gen model ups this to 23W and 15W respectively.

You’ll only approach that theoretical max of 23W when charging Google’s flagship Pixel 6 Pro smartphone, while the standard Pixel 6 supports up to 21W. Earlier Google Pixel phones are still limited to 10W charging, offering no benefit over the previous Pixel Stand model.

While the stand can charge a wide range of Qi-certified devices, there are a few extra benefits if you’re using it with a Google Pixel smartphone. 

The first time you place a Pixel smartphone on the cradle, you’re taken through a set-up which offers access to a range of special modes that basically turn the phone into a tiny Google Nest Hub. These include a smart home controller, a photo frame mode drawing on Google Photos and a sunrise alarm which uses red light to gently wake you up.

Other features designed with the bedroom in mind include automatically enabling Do Not Disturb and automatically dimming the screen in a darkened room, similar to a Google Nest Hub. You can also take advantage of the phone’s built in “Hey Google” features to talk to it, just like a smart screen.

Google Pixel Stand (2nd gen) functionality

When you place a Pixel on the stand it displays its current charge percentage prominently on the screen, so you know it’s started charging. If you’ve enabled the photo slideshow, it kicks in after a minute.

A single tap on the screen reveals the phone’s stand-centric options, such as easy access to smart home controls. Unfortunately, it’s not as extensive as what you see in the Google Home app, lacking options like easy access to the live video feeds from Google Nest Hubs and cameras around your home.

You can also easily change the charging speed, with a choice of Max, Optimised or Quiet, which also changes the fan speed and noise. Optimised or Quiet modes are fine for the bedside table, while Max is loud enough to be annoying at night – although realistically you don’t need to fast charge at night.

There’s also a small indent in the base of the stand designed to hold Google’s 2nd Gen Pixel Buds earbuds for wireless recharging. While it’s handy – assuming you got your hands on the Pixel Buds before they were discontinued – it’s a shame there’s no room to charge your Pixel phone and earbuds at the same time.

Of course, you’re not just limited to Pixel phones. You can slip on a wide range of Android Qi-certified handsets, or even one the latter model iPhones, for a spot of wireless charging.

Quality

Put to the test, the Google Pixel Stand (2nd gen) recharges the Pixel 6 Pro in a little over two hours. That is not that much different to the charge times when plugged directly into a 30W charger, thanks to Google’s engineering decision to slow down charge times in the name of battery management.

Keep in mind that, while it’s a “wireless” charge, the phone needs to be resting against it and not just nearby. Sitting it on the stand, it’s not too hard to find the sweet spot for charging. That said, it occasionally fails to recognise a Pixel phone and you need to remove it stand and try again.

Without a protective case, you can charge a Pixel phone in portrait or landscape mode. The latter would be handy when watching movies in bed. Yet with a Tech21 case on the phone with a silicone card pocket stuck to the back, I found a Pixel would only charge in portrait mode and not landscape. Your mileage may vary here.

GadgetGuy’s take

While the Google Pixel Stand (2nd gen) is a handy accessory, to justify the price you really need to be a serious Pixel fan with one of the latest Google phones in your pocket. You also need a good use case for those extra Pixel-only features, along with a location for the stand where those features would be useful.  Even then, you might be better off investing in a Google Nest Hub for those kinds of features.

The stand is not cheap at $119, especially considering it only charges one device at a time. If you don’t own a Google Pixel 6 or 6 Pro phone then you might not bother, as you’ll find cheaper Qi-certified wireless chargers elsewhere. Alternatively, for $119 you’ll find options that will also wirelessly charge your smart watch and/or earbuds at the same time. 

Would I buy it?

No, not unless I was a Pixel diehard.

Google Pixel Stand
With the fastest charging speeds limited to the latest Google smartphones, the Google Pixel Stand (2nd gen) is perhaps just for the Pixel diehards.
Features
8
Value for money
7.5
Performance
9
Ease of use
9
Design
8
Positives
Fast high-watt charging for Pixel 6 and 6 Pro
Activate extra modes on Pixel phones
Holds phone upright
Negatives
Expensive
Only charges one device
8.3