Pixel Tablet Unboxing and Initial Impressions | GrapheneOS

published 2023-06-26 Ā· updated 2023-06-26 #grapheneos #tablet #security #android
The Google Pixel Tablet was just released! 12 hours after I received it in the mail, the initial build of GrapheneOS was ready for it.


Please excuse any grammatical errors. I used a tool to generate the transcript and haven't had a chance to read through it yet.

I have been waiting a while for this product to be released. This is the Google Pixel tablet. I was initially going to make this an unboxing video, along with a few first impressions. But 12 hours after receiving this tablet in the mail, I saw this tweet from the Graphene OS team that they had an initial build ready. So, I thought I would test it out. This is not going to be an installation guide video; that will be coming out shortly after this one, and I will link it down below once it's ready.

So, as we can see in the box, this is the Pixel tablet with charging speaker dock. So, that's kind of cool to include that for free. I went with the 128-gigabyte version; that's what I normally get whenever I buy a Pixel device.

So, we have two strips on the bottom. First, we have the tablet. Let's get that out of the way. I'm going to set that aside for now. And then underneath the tablet, we have some instruction pamphlets. It tells you how to use the dock, tells you how to get startedā€”press the power button, follow the instructions. Thank you, Google.

Here we have the dock that comes with it, and then we have a charging cable just for the dock. This wall adapter is just meant to be plugged into the dock directly; it doesn't have a USB-C connection, so you can't use it with a tablet. But the dock does charge the tablet, so you can always charge it that way. So, let's get this box out of the way.

So, this is the dock for the tablet. I believe it's also a speaker, has a nice fabric finish to it.

So, this is everything in the box: you have the tablet, the dock, and the power adapter. Pretty simple, nothing much. So, let's take a look at the tablet.

On the back, it's plain, kind of has a soft finish to it. I believe it's metal, but there's some kind of coding on here which feels kind of nice. We have the reflective Google logo in the center, along with the four pins that correspond to the four magnetic pins on the dock as well.

So, the actual tablet is a 10.95-inch screen. The resolution is 1600 by 2560. It has an 8-megapixel camera, and it also has the Google Tensor G2, which is the same as the Google Pixel 7. So, just for a quick size comparison, my camera can focus on the front screen. Here is a Google Pixel 6A laying on top of the tablet. So, as you can see, it is much larger, as is to be expected from a tablet.

On the bottom, we have a couple speaker holes along with the USB-C port. On this side, there are some rubber bumpers here, and on the other side, we have what looks pretty similar to a Pixel phone. We have a power button, which is recessed into the actual body of the device, and then we have a rocker, which I'm assuming is for volume.

On the front, it might be tough to see, but we do have a circle there, and that is where the front web camera is. And on the back is the rear camera. So, let's go ahead and turn this on. Hold down the power button.

So, usually these devices come charged, but it looks like this one is... up there it goes. I'll give this a minute to start up. This currently just has stock Android OS on it. I've never turned this on before, so this is the first boot. We have the standard walkthrough screens.

I'm going to set up offline. I'm just going to walk through this quick.

So, here we are at the home screen. Let's go find the one part that actually matters, which is OEM unlocking.

So, this looks like it's similar to mobile devices where you need to connect to the internet to enable OEM unlocking. But for now, I'm going to take a break from this video. I'm going to go ahead and make the installation video, and I will be back here shortly.

So, after I finished filming the installation video, I ran out of time. So, here we are, the next day after I completed the installation. I just powered off the tablet. So, let's turn this on and take a look.

We have our standard screens you expect to see with Graphene OS and an alternate operating system installed.

One of the most shocking things, I think, so far is just how large this screen is. After using Graphene OS on a handheld device for the past two years, it's very odd to see it in such a large form factor.

I didn't realize yesterday, but the buttons are actually on the left side of the device, unlike the mobile devices where the buttons are on the right side.

Don't make your passcode one, two, three, four, five. So, here we are, Graphene OS on the Google Pixel tablet. If you've ever installed and used Graphene OS before, then you might be familiar with the bare screen that you are presented with, which is a reminder of just how minimal this operating system is. We just have the default apps you expect to see.

Like I mentioned in the intro, there's not going to be much to go into in this video. I just kind of wanted to show that it works, what it looks like, my initial first impressions, which there's not much going on, so not much really to tell. I will have a much more in-depth video in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for that one.

But if we just poke around again, it's great having such a larger display.

Now, since I don't have much to actually talk about the user experience in this video, I did want to talk about why I bought this tablet and what use case I think it can offer. For me, at least, this is much easier to travel around with, the larger display. It's not annoying to use. If I need to do something technical with terminal, it's easy on this display, especially with landscape mode.

You get the full experience. It's like a full-screen computer, and at a 10-inch screen versus the smaller mobile device. And one of the things I recently purchased to use with this, I was actually looking at upgrading the mechanical keyboard I had to something that's a little bit easier to travel with. So, thank you to my friend who recommended this, the HHKB. So, this is a Bluetooth keyboard. It does not have a dongle. That's important to note. So, I wanted to make sure that this would actually work with it. So, I'm going to test that out now and see if I can pair it with the device, because to me, if you can get this on a stand and have a keyboard paired with it, at that point you have a nearly fully functional computer, at least for my use cases. That can work, and it's compact, easy to travel with. So, let me pair this quick.

There's the keyboard. Looks like it has paired successfully. So, let's just test out this text box up here.

That looks abysmal on camera. Let's try something else.

So, the keyboard does work. That's pretty awesome. I did order the case for this that comes with a kickstand for it. So, at that point, you kind of have a computer display that you can use.

The other reason I was very excited for this device is that this retails for $499 in the US, and I'm not aware of anything else you can get that is as secure and private as the default installation of Graphene OS for that price point. Yes, you can throw Linux on a laptop and have a high level of privacy, but there's nothing at this price point, especially in this form factor, that offers this level of security and privacy combined. So, at this point, I think this is one of the most secure and private devices you could purchase. And with a larger screen, it's extremely usable.

The other thing I really like about this device is it's Wi-Fi only. I've been in the tech industry for over 10 years, and from everything I've seen about cellular technologies, I still don't think there's a great way to use them in a secure and private manner. You're always triangulated when you're connected. And yes, some services exist to help anonymize you or to spoof some of the data that's used when you are connecting to those services. But at the end of the day, I think it's a broken technology.

So, now when it comes to Wi-Fi and Ethernet, those technologies I understand, and there are good ways to remain private and secure while using them. So, there's no need to disable cellular connectivity because it does not exist on the tablet.

So, one last thing I want to cover is I did read there might be some initial issues with the dock if you didn't first set up the dock using stock Android OS. So, I just want to test that quick. From what I understand, the smart features of the dock don't work on Graphene OS because those require system-level Play services, and on Graphene OS, sandboxed Play services are installed as normal apps. Therefore, it will not function. But again, it's still too early to tell, but that's what the initial feedback was I saw from the developers on Twitter.

So, the audio works on the tablet, as to be expected.

Here's a YouTube ad, of course.

So, the dock should also function as a speaker when you plug it in. So, I want to test that out quick. Let me plug in the dock.

So, there's nothing indicating the dock is plugged in once you do plug it in. So, I guess it's just on. So, there's a sound that does come out of the dock when you plug it in. So, I guess it's booting up or turning on. And now we can dock the tablet with the four corresponding magnets.

Those are extremely strong magnets. So, if we look here, we can see the tablet is charging. So, the charging functionality works. Let's see if the audio works.

And so, I can confirm that just by doing that, the audio on the speaker is working on the dock. So, it seems like that does work. There's no initial setup needed on the stock Android OS.

As to the other smart features of the dock, like I said, those probably or likely will not work in the future. At least they don't work at this time.

So, to sum up my five minutes of usage with this tablet, I'm extremely impressed that within 12 hours after its release, the Graphene OS team had the initial build out there. So far, from my basic usage, it works well. It's also worth noting this is technically a first-generation device. So, if you're looking for something that's perfect from a hardware perspective, this is not that. But at the end of the day, I think the software is more important. And with Graphene OS, we know that it's going to be a secure and private device. And I think, in that regard, it's going to be a really good device for people who are looking for something at this price point.

So, if you're interested in more videos about this tablet, let me know down below. I think in the future I will be making a video about that custom stand I got, as well as any other use cases I find for this device. So, let me know if you're interested in that. I'll have a lot more coming out shortly, so stay tuned.