The latest Google Pixel Stand is less of a “must have” accessory if you’re a Pixel phone owner and more of a “nice to have”. For $79, its main job is fast wireless charging, and it does that well. But unless you’re a Pixel 6 or 6 Pro owner and really sold on one of the few extra stand features your phone supports, you better save your money and get an inexpensive third-party charger. .
The aptly named Pixel Stand (2nd Gen) is Google’s second version of a fast wireless charger designed to complement its Pixel phones. You don’t need to own a Pixel phone to use it as it works with Qi-enabled gadgets, but you’ll need a 6 or 6 Pro for the fastest charging speeds. You’ll also need the January 2022 security update or later, which you’ll want to download for many reasons if you’re a Pixel 6 owner anyway.
Like the original Pixel Stand, it multitask while charging your phone. When your Pixel phone is docked on the mount, it can display images from your Google Photos albums to act as a kind of digital photo frame. During setup, the first time you place your phone on the charger, you can specify which albums you want to pull pictures from, and photos are displayed in batches of five to 10 at a time, slideshow style.
Other features are geared toward bedside use. There’s an option to automatically turn on “do not disturb” when the phone is placed on the charger, and you can have the display turn off automatically in a dark room. There’s also a “sunrise” alarm that gradually brightens your screen within 15 minutes before your alarm goes off. You can specify a time window for this feature, so it’s not applied to other alarms throughout the day – just your wake-up call.
As for its main job – charging your phone – it does it efficiently. I noticed a few false starts here and there when I put the phone down on the stand, and it started charging, only to pause momentarily before picking it up again. It didn’t cause any problems; it just gave me a few moments of worry as I tried to determine if it was properly mounted on the bracket.
The Pixel Stand 2 offers 23W charging with the Pixel 6 Pro and 21W for the Pixel 6 – fast enough for wireless charging on a phone that isn’t made by OnePlus. It took a totally drained Pixel 6 Pro battery from zero to 100% in almost exactly two hours, which is impressive. My most typical day-to-day use case was recharging a Pixel 6’s battery, bringing it from 70-80% to 100%, which took about 30 minutes using the fastest charging mode. The stand offers slightly slower 15W charging for other Qi-enabled phones and devices.
As for the extras, I like the photo frame feature more than I thought. I’m not sure I want to commit to owning and keeping images for a dedicated digital photo frame, but I happen to have dozens (okay, hundreds) of photos of my four-month-old on Google Photos which I like to browse. Having them on my desktop on my phone is kind of a happy medium – I can actually see and enjoy the many photos I take without worrying about another device. I’m sure my colleagues who review smart home technology could point me to a number of smart displays that already do this sort of thing, but I digress.
If I have one complaint about this feature, it’s that it tends to pick favorites and show them over and over again. Maybe it’s because it favors portrait orientation photos, and I tend to shoot more landscape. Either way, you can tap the screen to end the current slideshow and swipe the lock screen to shuffle the selection and start a new one.
The Stand’s nightstand-oriented features also work well. The sunrise alarm is a nice way to wake up, and the ability to detect a dark room and turn off the screen makes it a good bedside companion. But those specs seem a bit at odds with the Stand’s main draw: fast wireless charging. If I’m charging my phone overnight, I don’t need the absolute fastest speeds. I wouldn’t see much of the photo frame either, as my phone doesn’t spend much time on the bedside dock during the day.
I also encountered some issues with Google Assistant when using the support. After tapping the Assistant icon on the lock screen while docked, the phone will record my voice commands but unnecessarily ignore anything it has just heard me say and display “How can I help? ” text on screen. Accessing Assistant by saying “Hey Google” on the lock screen works great, though, and it’s not a Stand feature – just something you can enable on any Pixel phone.
Then there’s the built-in fan; it’s pretty quiet, but if the fan is running at full blast, the assistant has trouble hearing me. You can choose a quiet charging mode to avoid this, but then you miss out on those super-fast charging speeds.
The Pixel Stand 2 doesn’t come cheap: At $79, it’s way more than the standard $30 Qi charging stands you can find on Amazon. If you own a Pixel 6 or 6 Pro, really want fast wireless charging, and think you’d particularly like one of the extras the Stand (2nd Gen) offers, then you’ll probably find its $80 well spent. . But if you’re only mildly interested in bedside or picture frame functionality and fast wireless charging isn’t essential, save the cash and go with a standard Qi charger. You can even add a digital photo frame to your cart for the same price.
Photography by Allison Johnson/The Verge