Google Pixel Stand 2nd Generation review: Conceptually cute, but for the Pixel fanatics only

Quick verdict: Google's Pixel Stand 2nd Gen does a good job of quickly and efficiently charging any Qi compatible phone or device. But its relatively high asking price and bulky build make it a prospect best suited only to the most fanatical of Pixel owners

Pros

  • Fast wireless charging
  • Stand set-up works well as a desk buddy
  • Additional features for Pixel phone owners
  • Cooling fans included
Cons

  • Comparatively expensive
  • Best suited to Pixel owners
  • Integrated fan means it's kinda chunky

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Google Pixel Stand 2nd Generation

It's been a long time between drinks for the Google Pixel Stand.

I was a big fan of the original first generation Pixel Stand, a compact, somewhat Pixel-specific charging stand first released alongside the Google Pixel 3. It did sterling duty on my desk for a number of years before it carked it, at which point it headed to ewaste recycling.

In the meantime, plenty of manufacturers played around with concepts like vertical charging that were once fresh and mostly new for the original Pixel Stand. Alongside the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, Google also released the next generation. It's a fine and entirely capable wireless charger with basically the same bonus feature set if you're a Pixel owner specifically.

However, that intervening period has led to a wide array of other options at lower price points, making the Pixel Stand 2nd Generation more of a nice-to-have option for Pixel 6 owners specifically rather than a really competitive charger, especially at its high asking price.


Google Pixel Stand review: It certainly isn't thin

Google Pixel Stand 2nd Generation review

Alex Kidman/Finder

The first-generation Pixel Stand was quite glorious in its simplicity, looking mostly like the kind of device that Apple might have made back when it loved a plastic MacBook. It really wasn't much more than a disc stand with an oval backing that you placed a phone upon.

You're certainly getting more with the 2nd Generation Pixel stand, because it's nowhere near as thin and simple as it used to be.

Circles are out, replaced by a mostly square base with a scalloped shell bottom that holds phones or some wireless charging headphones (more on this later) in place. The slender oval stand of the first gen makes way for a solid backed base that incorporates an internal fan. This allows the Pixel Stand 2nd Gen to charge Pixel devices at higher rates without cooking the phone in the process, at the cost of a little fan noise.

All up, the Pixel stand measures in at 82x71.6x113.9 with a weight of 71 grams. You'll never notice that of course because it's not designed to be a portable device, but that is heavy for a wireless charger.

Google Pixel Stand 2nd Generation review

Alex Kidman/Finder

Like its competitors, the Pixel 6 phones don't ship with included chargers, but the Pixel Stand 2nd Generation most certainly does.

It's the 30W USB-C charger that Google already sells for the Pixel phones, which costs $45 standalone. By that perspective, the rest of the Pixel Stand 2nd Generation costs $74, not that you can buy it separately if you're already happy with your charger. Google does at least claim that it's made from approximately 39% recycled materials, so you're not entirely destroying the planet here.


Google Pixel Stand review: Fast charging performance and cute features

Google Pixel Stand 2nd Generation review

Alex Kidman/Finder

Like any Qi charger, there's technically no set-up required for the Pixel Stand. If I was using anything but a Pixel phone, I could plug it in, drop the phone on and walk away, taking advantage of up to 15W of charging power.

Drop a Pixel phone onto the Pixel Stand 2nd Generation however, and a few more interesting options open up.

For a start you can charge at up to 23W on Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro phones, but this must be specified within the Pixel Stand settings.

You'll get access to these when you're setting up the Pixel Stand for the first time, but afterwards they're rather awkwardly placed within Bluetooth settings. That's because it does "talk" to the charger over Bluetooth, but it feels like an added and potentially confusing step for Google not to simply offer a quick and obvious icon for Pixel Stand settings to Pixel users specifically.

The Pixel Stand settings let you automatically switch your screen off when it gets dark, so you can sleep at night without a glowing pixel light, use a daylight-sensitive alarm that raises the phone's brightness as the sun rises, set quick access to Google Home devices and set up a photo frame setting linked into, no surprise here, Google Photos.

They're mostly features that the original Pixel Stand offered, and presumably if mine hadn't bitten the dust a few years back I could compare them.

Google Pixel Stand 2nd Generation review

Alex Kidman/Finder

The Photo Frame is the easy highlight here as long as you're a Google Photos user. If your photos reside elsewhere you're not going to see much but your lock screen.

Having the Pixel 6 Pro become a photo frame while charging and locked has made me actively that little bit more happy over the course of the day. That's simply because it's quite lovely to have various images of my cats appear on my phone while I'm working and the Pixel Stand sits on my desk.

I'm told it is in fact possible to take photos of non-cat-related objects, but why would you want to do that?

If you're wondering about the fan, it kicks in if you opt for maximum speed charging mode. The good news here is that while the fan does make some noise, it's mostly low scale. I had to really concentrate to particularly notice it. Then again it's not been super hot during the review period, so folks who live in perpetually warmer climates – Hi Darwin! – might find it kicks in to a greater degree.

The actual charging speeds are fine, and the solid nature of the stand does help across a variety of phones. I've dropped Qi-compatible phones from Oppo, Samsung and even Apple onto the Google Pixel Stand without issue. Even the larger Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 charged happily from it.

Google Pixel Stand 2nd Generation review

Alex Kidman/Finder

There's a tiny indent in the base of the Google Pixel Stand 2nd Generation that not-coincidentally lines up nicely with the shape and size of Google's 2nd Gen Pixel Buds headphones.

The only problem there is that you're not likely to find those older headphones easily unless you have a pair already. I did, and I can confirm they'll charge.

The actually-available Pixel Buds A-Series will also fit, but they won't charge, because Google's cheaper buds don't include wireless charging at all.

Because I'm me, I did test with a range of other headphone options to see what's possible. You've got to play around with positioning for some of the more out there charging case designs, and wonder why you're bothering in some cases, but they can be used with the Pixel Stand if you're stubborn enough.

Google Pixel Stand 2nd Generation review

Alex Kidman/Finder

It doesn't look like it, and you can't easily see the power charging indicator, but the Bose Quietcomfort Buds are happily, if rather awkwardly charging here.


Should you buy the Google Pixel Stand?

  • Buy it if you're a Pixel owner looking for a little extra from your wireless charger.
  • Don't buy it if you just want a wireless charger – it's way too expensive.

The name of the Pixel Stand 2nd Generation does rather point towards its target market. If you're a Pixel owner, and especially an owner of a newer Pixel phone, it's a nice way to both charge up your handset and run a few other key features like the photo frame and daylight alarm.

However, these aren't really must-have features, and the Pixel Stand 2nd Generation does carry a premium price tag. If all you want is a wireless charger, there are plenty of other more affordable options – and every single one of them will work flawlessly with Pixel phones.

Google Pixel Stand 2nd Generation review

Alex Kidman/Finder


Pricing and availability

The Pixel Stand 2nd Generation retails in Australia for $119.

Google Pixel Stand 2nd Generation

How we tested

It was a dark and stormy night, and the Pixel Stand was prepared in the traditional sacrificial manner. Okay, it totally wasn't.

Instead, it was tested over a 1-week period, primarily charging up a Pixel 6 Pro, but also a Pixel 6, Apple iPhone 13 Pro, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and Oppo Find X5 Pro phone, just to put it through its paces. Additional Pixel-specific features were tested on a Pixel 6 Pro to see how easy they were to use and how much value they added to what is otherwise just another wireless phone charger. The Pixel Stand 2nd Generation used in this review was provided by Google.

The reviewer has more than 2 decades of tech product reviewing under his belt and is a multi-time Australian IT Journalist award winner, including awards for best reviewer and best technical journalist.


Specifications

Features

Color
White
Materials
Made with approximately 39% recycled material based on product weight.

Tech Specs

Dimensions and Weight
Length: 82 mm, Width: 71.6 mm, Height: 113.9 mm, Weight: 71
Ports
1x USB-C input
Charging
Up to 23W for compatible Pixel phones, Supports up to 15W (EPP) for Qi Certified devices

Images: Alex Kidman

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