T-Mobile Springboard 4G tablet impressions

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We’ve looked at the T-Mobile Springboard 4G tablet before but now that we have the retail unit in our hands, we’re able to take a deeper look at this 7-inch tablet with Android 3.2 Honeycomb. Overall, it looks like a good, if uninspired tablet but there are still questions about where a 7-inch tablet will fit into the mix.

As you can see from the pictures below, the Springboard kind of looks like the HTC Flyer, right down to the white and aluminum backing. There’s only so much you can do with a tablet form factor, so I won’t ding Huawei too much but the Springboard feels like a high-quality product even if there’s nothing in its design that makes it stand out. One key difference between this and the Flyer is that the Springboard rocks Android 3.2 Honeycomb and the 1.2 GHz processor means it runs quite smoothly.

The 7-inch screen is nice and responsive but I would have liked a little less bezel on the face of the device. That’s part of how it goes but it’s more manageable on something like the PlayBook because those are used for the gesture areas. On the right spine, there are high-quality power/unlock and a single-piece volume rocker. Both are very responsive and have a good travel back speeds.

On top, there are stereo speakers which provide a loud, if somewhat tinny sound and a standard headphone jack. The left spine is clean and the bottom has a microUSB port, a miniHDMI port and a power port. I was hoping that this could be powered by plugging it into a standard microUSB charger but that wasn’t the case. The included power charger is relatively easy to tote around but the less proprietary cables I have to carry around, the better.

The backing is a nice brushed aluminum and there are triangle-shaped pieces of plastic for some visual flourish. The bottom one actually comes off quite easily to let you swap the SIM card or get at the microSD slot.

I’m still a bit conflicted about 7-inch tablets like the Springboard and the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus because I truly believe this form factor is more portable and usable than something like the iPad but without an integrated data connection, it loses most of that appeal. Of course, I also don’t think that paying for an individual data plan for these types of devices is worth it yet for the average consumer either and if you’re going to go with a 7-inch tablet, you may as well stick to something cheap and WiFi-only like the Kindle Fire.

I’ll play around with this thing and give you some deeper thoughts. In the meanwhile, check out the pictures below and let me know what you think and would like to know about the Springboard 4G.

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