Today I have an outlier for you all, I have a very low end device that I am now the semi proud owner of and I owe it all to my mom and her magnificent ability to destroy devices. Namely phones. First off her Otterbox case “just broke”. A likely story. Then she dropped her S4 and the screen shattered, but the phone itself still worked fine. A weekend went by and then it stopped working completely, so she went and got a new S5. And this being my mom, she waited all of a day before going and getting more charging cables for it because naturally those don’t seem to last under her ownership either. So she went to T-Mobile to pick up a few “just in case” and she ended up leaving with two tablets which were free “provided you pay for a data plan for them and that’s $10 a month”. She was down, mostly because my bill is $70 per month and I give her $100 for the hell of it. “You’re already giving me that much anyway as extra, so why not get tablets.” “Because you already have a tablet, mom. A Nexus 9, remember?” [silence ensues on the part of both parties on the phone] “Shut up. I’m here on my lunch break, I’m doing this for you. So be grateful.” I love how she somehow managed to try and turn that around on me. I didn’t make her go to T-mobile.
But anyway, that’s how I ended up with this device and it’s an interesting device.
Oh yeah, my mom carries all three devices with her. I realized that this morning when I was grabbing breakfast from the counter. She had them all stacked up on one another. [shakes head] Sometimes there’s just no understanding my mom.
On a not quite related note, I felt beyond groggy this morning and thus did a double take when I saw all three devices stacked on one another. But a weekend that essentially started on Thursday like I had will do that to you. (Those of you who follow me on Twitter know what happened. Those of you who don’t, well you can ask for specifics but long story made short: I went out for a drink Thursday afternoon after arguing with my best friend and someone roofied me. Nothing happened to me and I have both kidneys still and wasn’t robbed or anything but fuck. I can’t believe someone did that. I am so lucky I made it home somehow and without anything bad happening to me. Oh, and obligatory The IT Crowd GIF.)
It looks like a tablet. Yeah, that’s really all I have to say about the design.
Honestly, there’s not much to write about from a design or even build perspective. It’s as plain as can be without making you think “this has to be a knock off device from China”.
Weight wise it’s light enough to hold with one hand and thumb swipe with the same hand to read, but that’s about it. You aren’t going to be using this for anything more one handed.
The bezels are relatively small as you can see in the pic above. Sorry about the lack of pics for this post, honestly I just couldn’t be bothered to take pics of the tablet. But I mean it’s a tablet, it’s gotta have bezels. The same way you’ve got to build bypasses.
I noticed no backlight bleeding from the display, nor any issues with the build quality of it. Which is really as good as can be. Only when you have those issues do you realize their is a quality control issue in the product.
It’s stock Android, but thank goodness for third party launchers and icon packs.
You see all that there? That is what I had to work with. To quote Marvin the Paranoid Android, “Ghastly, isn’t it?”
The one upside is that there is no skin on this device. It is absolutely stock Android. The device I have shows it as 5.0.2 though and since of course my DSL is down yet again I can’t be bothered to check to see if a 5.1 based update is out for it, like the documentation on T-Mobile’s site shows the device as actually running. On a related note, fuck yeah! We cancelled our AT&T account in fucking full! Time Warner will be here in a little over a week and I will have a 20 Mbps connection at home. So realistically 2 MB/s download speeds. [drools all over self]
Stock Android is probably best for this device though, I’ll explain why soon enough.
Overall though I found things to be decent enough from the look of things but I absolutely hated the design of the icons. Aesthetically it makes me want to set myself on fire. Like I said, thank goodness for Nova Launcher (free) and Glim Icon Pack (currently discounted by 60%, bringing the price down to $1.57).
Unrelated, all icon packs by Maximilian Keppeler are currently on sale. Glim Dark is similarly discounted to $1.57 and Quada is currently discounted to $0.99. Seriously, just buy these icon packs because they’re absolutely stunning and can give even the most horrid of skinned devices a stock Android look and feel. Plus the developer puts out updates regularly and is a nice enough guy.
The specs leave a lot to be desired for a power user like myself.
They’re not bad per se, for the average user I’d say it’s more than adequate in every regard but goddamn the processor and RAM are just so not what I’m used to.
Side note: I”m reasonably sure the processor is a Snapdragon 600, I saw documentation saying as much online when I got the tablet last week but having checked for this post I can’t find what I found then.
I think it’s known to all who read these posts that I am a power user and I pretty much use nothing but flagship devices. But damn. You know what it felt like? It felt like I was back in high school, or just out of it actually. I blew a piston my ‘64 Mustang’s 289 and had to use a ‘94 Honda Civic for awhile. Fuck. My. Life. Let me repeat that. I went from a ‘64 Mustang coupe in candy apple red to a ‘94 Honda Civic. I mean they should have just dug a hole in the ground, shoved me in it, and buried me rather than make me suffer through that.
This tablet is by no means bad, it’s just so not what I’m used to that I basically run circles around the device and it’s forced to play catch up with me. Just being myself and doing the normal things I do throughout the day on my phone I experienced a lot of little pauses here and there. We’re talking pauses of only a second or so, but pauses nonetheless. Obviously it’s something your typical user of such a device wouldn’t deal with, but for someone like me it’s the kind of thing that makes you not want the device. I mean personally this is what I told myself whenever it happened, “It’s a free fucking tablet, man. Free. You honestly can’t bitch about it when you paid nothing for it. This is only happening because you’re you and this is a device made for people who are not you.”
So yeah, if you’re not a power user like I am then you’ve got nothing to worry about spec wise. This tablet is more than perfect for reading, browsing the web, jamming out or doing any of the million other things the average person does.
Another thing worth mentioning is that it does come with a rather limited amount of storage capacity. 8 GB of internal memory and roughly (and I might be remembering incorrectly) 3 or 4 GBs of it free. It does have a microSSD card slot and officially supports microSD cards up to 32 GB. And of course having been a Nexus device fanboy for years now I have no microSD cards at home or in my desk somewhere or anything. I laughed when I realized it had that feature that I was ill equipped to take advantage of. Freaking first world Nexus fanboy user problems, amirite?
Obviously it’s an LTE equipped device and the connection/speeds were nothing short of amazing.
I know T-Mobile is doing a ton of network related work in our area right now as pretty much every T-Mobile user I personally know has been bitching about signal and network issues lately. And it was awesome to have a working tablet with a full LTE connection.
I say that because when I woke up beyond fucked up still Friday morning I found my phone was completely screwed. No data connection whatsoever, so I was late in replying to both crashed and Archnemesis after having Tweeted with them for a bit before things went dark Thursday evening.
But damn. The connection on this thing was solid. Even after I got my phone fully working again (after a quick call to T-Mobile to ask what the hell was going on with their network) it still didn’t hold a candle to the connection this bad boy has. Honestly, for just browsing the web and whatnot at home this is now officially my go to device.
As for the specifics, it uses both LTE (on Band 4) and HSPA+. The latter which I dropped down to a few times while at home, but we have signal issues at our house and honestly the fact that it dropped down at all was amazing to me given how strong the LTE connection was. Oh yeah, it only dropped down momentarily at that. So yeah, this thing kicks ass in regards to LTE.
Where do you get it and what’s the cost?
Well, T-Mobile has the device in stores and online and apparently they’re running a promotion right now, which is how my mom got it, where as long as you meet a few requirements you can get it free.
Those requirements are as follows. Be in good standing as a customer, pretty much. I wish I was joking. But that’s basically it. As long as you’ve got an active line with the company and purchase a qualifying data plan for the device they’ll let you walk out of the store with one on them. Oh and you can score a data only plan for it for $10/month.
$10 a month gets you 5 GB of unlimited speed LTE data, once you hit that 5 gigs though they throttle you.
Oh snap! I totally forgot, you can use the tablet as a mobile hotspot too! And despite the nonsense currently going around the net about T-Mobile taking abusive customers to task and not actually allowing “unlimited data” that’s all just a bunch of bullshit. Clickbait headlines at their finest. T-Mobile is not taking abusive customers to task. Unlimited data is still that with them, unlimited data. But it’s made very clear when you sign up for a plan that it is on device unlimited data. Tethering is the actual issue at hand in this kerfluffle and again how much you can use is made clear by T-Mobile when you sign up. 7 GB a month, which they raised from the previous 5 GB allowed a few months ago. So in no way is there any kind of “bait and switch” or “false advertising” going on, contrary to what idiots might be saying online (and anyone saying those things is an idiot, there’s no room for debate on that because they are in fact idiots stating bullshit that doesn’t even remotely apply here). Oh and those people they’re taking to task? Roughly 3,000 users who are tethering roughly 2 TERABYTES(!) of data via their devices. Good on T-Mobile for planning to cut them off or make them pay for what they’re doing. Assholes like that ruin things for the rest of us. And T-Mobile is the most chilled carrier their is in regards to data usage, I mean they do allow unlimited streaming for music from all the big services.
So yeah, if you’re in good standing as a customer and in need of a tablet and can spare an additional $10 a month to the company there’s no reason you shouldn’t pick one up as soon as you have a chance. It’s a pretty good device, something I’m sure some of you might be shocked to hear me say about something that isn’t from a “known” OEM or a flagship level device. That’s how good this is, it’s worth my writing “it’s a pretty good device” about. : )