Telstra and Samsung have joined forces to introduce the first 4G tablet to Australia, the Samsung Galaxy 8.9 with 4G. Finally a useable alternative to broadband with Samsung’s tethered 4G goodness bringing high speed internet to the road warriors amongst us.
Along with the Tab 8.9 Telstra also offers two other 4G devices, the HTC Velocity smart phone and the USB 4G Dongle for data access on the go, but the Tab 8.9 is by far the most exciting 4G device to hit Australian shores so far.
The Galaxy Tab 8.9 sits right in the middle of the performance curve as far as tablets are concerned, faster than cheaper tablets on the market but just a little behind the premium price tablets such as the ASUS Transformer Prime. A well rounded tablet, the 1.5Ghz dual core ARM processor provides plenty of speed while sipping power. With add on keyboards, docking stations along with 3rd party Galaxy gadgets the functionality is only limited by your budget.
Telstra is pricing the 16GB tablet at $720 while the 32GB model will sell for $840, when signing up to one of Telstra’s 4G plans. If you are willing to forgo the 4G the 16GB Tab 8.9 can be brought outright online – no sim – for as little as $500. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G with 16GB of storage is available immediately from Telstra, while the 32GB model will be available shortly, according to Telstra. There are four plans available starting at $49.99 for 1GB downloads per month, with the top plan providing 15GB for $100 a month.
Samsung have paid attention to the most important aspects of a tablet, top of the list is display, tablets are all display after all. Samsung have included a TFT LED back-light panel, the 8.9” HD Widescreen display is capable of 1280 x 800 resolution along with Samsung’s Brilliant vivid colours.
Slim and lightweight at 470g – 15.9 ounces – 230.9 x 157.8 x 8.6mm thin. Taking the battle to the iPad, beating it just slightly in weight and thinness. Battery life is rated at up to 11 hours run time and 40 hours stand by time. Internally the Tab 8.9 uses a Qualcomm 1.5GHz, ARM9 CPU, Qualcomm® GHz dual core processor. A rear 3MP camera as well as 2MP front-facing camera are included for happy snaps, movies and video conferencing. Android Gingerbread 3.2 is installed standard but Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich will be rolled out by Telstra in the near future.
Wireless connectivity is what makes the Tab 8.9 special, Samsung and Telstra have worked closely here to enable the fastest possible speeds. The Tab 8.9 4G features dual channel HSPA+ connectivity, making it faster than most phones and tablets even when not used in a 4G coverage zone. It won’t alleviate a full cell network but will guarantee optimal speeds. Telstra’s flavour of 4G for the Tab 8.9 runs on the LTE 1800MHz network band but switches to the Next G network when 4G coverage is not available. Telstra claims speeds of 2-40Mbps downloads and 1-10Mbps uploads typically.
While the technology surrounding your 3G connection have sped up, data speeds have been the same for years, slow. So what is the 4G advantage? The simple answer is bandwidth. In practical terms, it enables watching full high definition movies on the go, think of it as Blu-Ray without the disk.
The latest generation tablets, The Galaxy Tab 8.9 included, and smartphones are all undoubtedly quick little slabs of technology, no longer is the CPU or video the bottleneck, now it is the connection speed of 3G. On top of this, these little touchscreen wonders are now multitasking. Now we are all keeping more internet connected applications open at any one time. If you have to have Google+ and Facebook open while watching a movie then you have to have 4G. Do it all and still have bandwidth to spare.
Making the 8.9 even more interesting is the ability to tether the tablet to your PC, Allowing those without broadband to experience the 4G speed without Telstra’s annoying USB dongles. Taking the idea a step further the tablet can easily become your central internet portal with e-mail and other cloud services driven by the 4G speed. With a few simple applications, DropBox, G-Mail, Social Media etc. we can now move across multiple machine and have the same data and applications available. If you need to use your PC simply tether the tablet and your away, log into those same cloud services and everything is instantly available to windows. Switch to a laptop in the field and the same applies, tether the tablet and access all of your online life with abandon. If you are willing to make the tablet your central platform then this is an amazing option,
“In 4G coverage areas the Galaxy Tab 8.9 4G can offer speeds typically reserved for the office which will make it hugely popular with businesses too, said Warwick Bray, executive director, Telstra Mobile. “Customers will be able to access email, cloud-hosted applications and documents without the need for a bulky laptop and it’s perfect for sharing multimedia content on client visits.”
The only real downside to 4G in Australia at the moment is the coverage. Telstra is steadily rolling out the 4G network but if you are in the outer suburbs or rural setting you will need to check when coverage will be available. The capital cities and larger rural communities are already witnessing the 4G roll out.
The Galaxy Tab 8.9 has ample speed for mobile gaming or demanding apps while still maintaining a sleek and light body. Telstra’s first 4G tablet has set the bar high. Samsung has provided Telstra with a tablet that offers great performance, an amazing display and good looks while still allowing excellent battery life, a well-balanced tablet. The 4G roll out should see more tablets and smartphones released as the year rolls by, they’ll have to be good to beat the Galaxy.
Source: Telstra Samsung Tab 8.9