The newest Google Pixel Stand is more of a "nice to have" accessory if you possess a Pixel phone than a "must-have." Its sole function for $79 is quick wireless charging, and it accomplishes it brilliantly. However, unless you possess a Pixel 6 or 6 Pro and are totally convinced on one of the stand's handfuls of extra functions enabled by your phone, you'd be better off saving your money and obtaining a cheap third-party charger.
The Pixel Stand (2nd gen) is Google's second attempt at a fast wireless charger designed to match its Pixel phones. You don't need a Pixel phone to use it because it works with Qi-compatible devices, but you'll need a 6 or a 6 Pro to achieve the quickest charging speeds. You'll also need the January 2022 security update or later, which you should download anyhow if you own a Pixel 6 for a variety of reasons.
It does some multitasking while charging your phone, just like the original Pixel Stand. While docked, your Pixel phone can show photographs from your Google Photos albums, acting as a digital picture frame. When you initially charge your phone, you may pick which albums you want it to retrieve photographs from, and photos are presented in groups of five to ten at a time, slideshow style.
(Image Source: The Verge)
Other features are intended for usage at the bedside. When the phone is placed on the charger, the option to switch on "do not disturb" is available, as is the option to have the display turn off automatically in a dark environment. There's also a "sunrise" alarm that progressively illuminates your screen 15 minutes before your alarm goes off. You may set a time frame for this function so that it only applies to your wake-up call and not other alarms during the day.
It performs a good job of charging your phone, which is its primary function. I observed a few false starts here and there when I'd place the phone on the stand and it would begin charging, only to pause for a second before I picked it up again. This didn't cause any issues; it only caused me to pause as I attempted to figure out if it was properly installed on the stand.
It does an excellent job of charging your phone, which is its major function. I noticed a couple of false starts when I placed the phone on the stand and it began charging, only to halt for a second before I took it up again. This didn't create any problems; it only gave me pause as I tried to figure out if it was correctly mounted on the stand.
In terms of frills, I appreciate the photo frame function more than I expected it to. I'm not sure I want to commit to owning and curating photographs for a dedicated digital picture frame, but I do have dozens (well, hundreds) of photos of my four-month-old on Google Photos that I like browsing. Having them shown on my phone at my desk is a wonderful compromise — I get to see and appreciate the many, many images I take without having to fiddle with another gadget. I'm sure my colleagues who evaluate smart home technology might point me to a number of smart screens that already accomplish this, but I digress.
If I had one issue with this function, it would be that it likes to choose favorites and repeat them. This might be because it prefers portrait orientation photographs, but I prefer landscape. In any case, you may terminate the current slideshow by tapping the screen and swiping the lock screen to shuffle the choices and begin a new one.
The Stand's nightstand-oriented features are very effective. The morning alarm is a wonderful way to wake up, and its ability to recognize a dark room and turn off the screen appropriately makes it an excellent bedtime companion. However, these characteristics appear to be in conflict with the Stand's key selling point: quick wireless charging. I don't need the very quickest speeds if I'm charging my phone overnight. I wouldn't use the photo frame function because my phone is rarely on the nightstand dock throughout the day.
(Image Source: The Verge)
I also had a few issues with Google Assistant while using the stand. When I hit the Assistant icon on the lock screen when docked, the phone registers my voice commands but unhelpfully ignores what I just said and displays the words "How can I help?" on the screen. However, accessing the assistant by saying "Hey Google" on the lock screen works perfectly, and this isn't a Stand feature - it's just something you can activate on any Pixel phone.
Then there's the built-in fan; it's somewhat quiet, but when it's going at full speed, the assistant has trouble hearing me at all. You can prevent this by using a silent charging mode, but you'll miss out on the super-fast charging speeds.
The Pixel Stand 2 isn't cheap: at $79, it's significantly more expensive than the $30-ish conventional Qi charging stands available on Amazon. If you possess a Pixel 6 or 6 Pro, desire quick wireless charging, and believe you'd benefit from any of the features that the Stand (2nd gen) provides, you'll probably find its money well spent. However, if you're just somewhat interested in the bedside or photo frame capabilities and rapid wireless charging isn't a must-have, save money by opting for a conventional Qi charger. For the same price, you may also add a digital image frame to your basket.