With the debut of the Pixel 3, Google launched a first-party wireless charger, the Pixel Stand. Three years later, that original charger still holds up and is now a better deal than its sequel, even for Pixel 6 owners. Here’s why.
While it’s easy to say that all wireless chargers are the same — you set your phone down, and it charges, no messing with cables — Google made the Pixel Stand to be different. To do this, they packed Pixel phones full of features that are (arbitrarily) exclusive to the Pixel Stand, such as Home controls and Photo Frame.
Coinciding with the Pixel 6 series, which offers significantly faster charging than any previous Pixel phone, Google introduced a second generation Pixel Stand last year. The primary change between the two years is a faster charging rate. However, this means it now generates more heat and needs a fan system.
Under ideal conditions, the second-generation Pixel Stand can charge the Pixel 6 Pro at a rate of up to 23W, while the original version caps out at 10W. In practice, we’ve seen the new Pixel Stand charge a low battery at a max speed of about 19W, while the old one charges at around 8W.
In our testing, we’ve found that the second generation Pixel Stand can boost the Pixel 6 Pro’s battery quite quickly — from under 10% to full in about two hours. Other than that difference in speed, the two generations of Pixel Stand work almost identically, and even have the same suggested retail price of $79.
Of course, time has marched on, and the original Pixel Stand has seen quite a few markdowns. Right now, you can pick up the first-gen Pixel Stand for $40 or less — $29 right now on Woot — which dramatically changes the dynamic. It’s easy enough to suggest that a charger that can work roughly twice as fast should cost twice as much, but let’s consider where the Pixel Stand is designed to be used:
- Sunrise Alarm, which uses red light to gently wake you up, seems suited to a bedside table.
- Google Home and media controls are prime for your desk during a workday.
- Photo Frame, showcasing pictures of family and friends from Google Photos, would be perfect for both.
In short, the best parts of the Pixel Stand are well suited to sitting on a charger as a desk companion or a bedside frame, and in either case your phone would be able to stay there for hours at a time. Not to mention Pixels also offer Adaptive Charging, which intentionally charges slowly to reach 100% around the time your alarm would go off. These are situations where fast charging is absolutely not needed.
If you’re dead set on charging the Pixel 6 series as quickly as possible (or at least as quickly as Google will let you), the second-gen Pixel Stand is a solid choice — and honestly your only choice, as Google has locked wireless fast charging to be Pixel Stand exclusive. But otherwise, most people would be served just as well by the original for half the price.
More on Pixel:
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- Hands-on: Whitestone Dome Glass for Pixel 6 and 6 Pro [Video]
- Opinion: Android’s update problem fails the Pixel 3 and other phones on security, not features
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