Is the Pixel 3 Stand a worthwhile investment? Jack Wallen says that there's more to this charger than meets the virtual eye.
Upon purchasing my Pixel 3 phone, I opted to drop the coinage for the associated stand. And why not? The idea of having a fast wireless charger with a few extra bells and whistles was a pretty easy sell on a phone that already had a hefty price tag.
After setting up the charger and using it for a few weeks, I'm happy to report I'm glad for the purchase. Is it necessary? Not at all. But having the Pixel 3-specific charger does make a very convenient charging device, as well as a nice way of viewing photo galleries, quick access to Google Assistant, and even a pleasant wake up for the morning.
But there's more to the charger than meets the virtual eye. Some tiny features make it worth the higher-than-average price (for a wireless charger). Let's take a look at a few of those features and then how to configure the added benefits only found when combining the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 stand.
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The physical stand
The biggest benefit to the physical stand is the surface. What you'll find is a rubberized coating that does an outstanding job of preventing your precious Pixel from slipping off and falling to its untimely demise. Of all the wireless stands I've tested, the Pixel Stand (by far) offers the best stability. The stand also has a rubberized bottom, that helps prevent it from sliding on your desk (or nightstand). When cables accidentally get tugged (by cleaning, by cats, or by accident) that sticky bottom will go a long way from preventing the stand from sliding to the edge and jettisoning itself to the floor. That alone helps warrant the price of the Pixel Stand. The only downfall to the physical hardware is that it is only sold in white. If you have a white Pixel phone, that's great. But with a black phone, it stands out a bit (and not in the good way).
One thing I really like about the stand is, upon returning the Pixel Phone to its cradle, nearly the entire screen momentarily displays the available battery charge percentage. Once that goes away, the phone then constantly displays the percentage charged at the bottom of the display (also indicating it is in fast charge mode).
How fast is fast charging? Google states the Pixel 3 is capable of charging at speeds of 10 watts. Thing is, the Pixel 3 can only charge at those speeds on chargers certified for the "Made for Google" program. Guess what stands are currently rated for that program? If you guessed "Only the Pixel stand," you guessed correctly. On all other chargers, the Pixel 3 is only capable of charging at 5 watts. Because of this, it takes twice as long to charge the Pixel 3 on other wireless chargers. Twice. As. Long. That's significant, especially if you're in a hurry. With the Pixel 3/Pixel Stand combo, the phone charges remarkably fast. For those who depend upon a fully charged phone that's certainly a deal maker.
The silence and the waking
Outside of sounding like the title of a Coheed and Cambria song, the silence and the waking options of the Pixel 3/Pixel stand combo is quite nice. You can configure the Pixel 3 to automatically go into Do Not Disturb mode when docked. However, the only way to gain access to the configuration options is to dock the phone, tap the display, and tap the gear icon in the top right corner (Figure A).
Once you tap the gear, you'll find yourself in the Pixel Stand options page (Figure B).
To enable DND mode when docked, tap the Do Not Disturb while docked slider until it's in the On position.
The Pixel 3/Stand combination also includes a very nice feature geared toward those who keep their phones by their nightstand. If you enable the Sunrise Alarm feature (Figure C), your Pixel 3 will gradually light up 15 minutes before sounding an alarm. That light can help to ease you into a wake-up mode. If you sleep like me, that light is enough to wake you in the morning. This feature alone is worth the price of entry for the Pixel Stand--especially if you hate being startled awake in the morning by an alarm.
Is it worth the cost?
I'm fairly confident you already know the answer to that question. Yes, the Pixel Stand is most certainly worth the cost (currently $79 USD on the Google Play Store). The fast charging alone makes this a worthwhile purchase. Combine that with the rubberized surface and the Sunrise Alarm (as well as other features) and purchasing this stand with your Pixel 3 phone should be a no-brainer.
- Google Pixel 3: The review for professionals (TechRepublic)
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- Google Pixel 3 XL review: Constant surprise and delight (ZDNet)
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- Smartphones and mobile tech: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)