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Google announces Pixel C tablet; priced at $500 for 32GB, $600 for 64GB (hands-on)

The Android-based tablet takes on the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 with a sleek design a powerful specs.

Now Playing: Watch this: Pixel C convertible tablet runs Android

Google added a brand-new tablet to its Chromebook Pixel line of devices. The Pixel C runs the latest version of Android, Marshmallow 6.0 , and features a slim magnetic keyboard case that's sold separately. It's priced at $500 for the 32GB model and $600 for the 64GB version, while the keyboard will go for $149. According to Google, it's expected to go on sale around the holidays.

UK and Australian prices were not announced but the US starting price converts to £330 or AU$715. The keyboard price converts to about £100 or AU$215.

The Google Pixel C bears some resemblance to the Surface Pro 3 and, like the Microsoft tablet, it's geared toward productivity with a tailor-made keyboard. Together they sport a handsome design and both the tablet and keyboard are slim and portable, with the latter doubling as a case as well.

The keyboard connects via Bluetooth, but it's not your average accessory. When the tablet is closed over the case, it automatically charges the keyboard, and it's purposefully missing a few keys; Google moved a few of the less-used keys from the physical keyboard and relocated them onto the onscreen display.

The magnets are strong and feel snappy; you can hold the tablet upside down with confidence as one Google representative did on stage during the keynote. While the keys don't sit completely flush with the surface of the keyboard, the keys are still very flat and the compact size of the overall keyboard may take some time to get used to.

The tablet connects with the keyboard via magnets and has speakers along its side edges. James Martin/CNET

Inside the tablet you'll find some premium specs. It houses a Nvidia X1 quad-core processor, Maxwell GPU and 3GB of RAM. The screen boasts a 2,560x1,800-pixel resolution display with 308 pixels per inch and it purportedly displays a wide range of colors and sports a super-bright backlight. During our brief time with it, the display was sensitive to the touch, sharp and comfortable to view.

Like the Pixel laptops, the Pixel C is entirely built by Google. Previous tablet models in the Nexus line were made in partnership with with different hardware manufacturers. The Pixel C is also the first Google tablet to offer a USB Type-C port, the same charging port on the new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P phones and the company's most recent Chromebook Pixel .

The Pixel C is aimed at anyone interested in a tablet for getting some work done, and it's got some stiff competition. The aforementioned Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is one of the best performing productivity-geared tablets available, and Apple recently announced the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Both tablets offer stylishly slim keyboards and, unlike the Pixel C, a stylus. Standing out in the saturated crowd is no easy feat, but Google was smart enough to give it a competitive price to at least try.

Pricing compared

Wi-Fi only
Google Pixel C (32GB) $500 (£330 or AU$715 converted)
Apple iPad Pro (32GB) $800 (£520 or AU$1,130 converted)
Microsoft Surface 3 (64GB) $500, £420 (AU$715 converted)
Dell Venue 10 7000 (32GB) $550 (£360 or AU$781 converted)

The Pixel C tablet was announced at a Google event where two new Nexus smartphones and updates to the Chromecast streaming devices were showcased.

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Google Pixel C tablet

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