Last Updated: January 9th, 2012

The carrier-connected Honeycomb tablet arena hasn't been very successful up to this point, mostly due to the outrageous prices that the units have been showing up with -- we've yet to see one for less than $400. Enter the Pantech Element, a "waterproof" tablet that looks to change the game with its sub-$300 price tag.


The Element is an 8-inch Honeycomb-powered tablet that runs on AT&T's LTE network, packing a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 16GB of storage, 5MP rear shooter, and 2MP front camera. It is also one of the first tablets to claim waterproof status. Except it's really not waterproof - it's more splash proof, assuming all the ports are closed up properly.

Still, a carrier-connected LTE tablet for $299 on-contract? That's not too bad (in comparison to other carrier tablets, that is). If you're not into the idea of a two-year contract, though, you'll be able to grab the Element for $449 sans-agreement. The Element is expected to be available on January 8th.


Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Drewskeetz

    "Splash Proof"? ..really my evo 4G is splash proof ive had coffee spills (just recently) and baby slobber on my phone and it works just like it did when i first bought it 2 years ago...thats stupid unless they mean "splash a bucket of liquid on top and see if it still works"..havent tried that one yet.

  • ins0mn1a

    Could someone clarify what "on contract" means in this case, i.e. what is the minimum plan that you can take? As far as I remember AT&T has something like 200MB of data for $15 per month and 1GB for $25 (these are cntract-free prices), but it seems somewhat unlikely that they would subsidize a product in exchange for $15 a month...


    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody

      On Contract with a tablet at AT&T usually means you have to take their $35/month plan which gives you 3 gigs of data with $10/gig if you go over. It's still a subsidy, but it's obviously not as big as the phone subsidies are.

      The exception to this is the iPad which has no subsidy and you basically get the regular data plans like you have with a phone. With this, you can also turn it off and back on as you see fit.

      • ins0mn1a

        I see, thanks. All the more reason to go for an unlocked tablet (and remembering AT&T software crippling practices makes it a no-brainer really). Now if only someone would make a good tablet. C'mon Google, speed that thing up...

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody

          Well, they all cripple the phones, that's not just an AT&T thing. Nobody has released truly and properly unlocked tablets (even the Xoom was more locked down than it should have been). Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending anybody, actually condemning everybody :)

          I just don't see this as a particularly good tablet or deal. At $449 without contract it's the same price most people would buy a roughly similar SG Tab 10.1 Wifi. A smaller screen size and Pantech historically having pretty poor build quality; granted this has the LTE chipset/antenna in it which adds to the manufacturing cost, but that's of questionable value if you've bothered to root & tether a phone. Oh yeah, and obviously this tablet will NEVER see ICS and probably won't get an update for anything other than a critical bug. Just saying, I'd either drop the big money for a Jetstream or wait for something of better quality at equal price.

        • ins0mn1a

          About the US telecom companies, don't even get me started! But AT&T is a special offender in that they actually block app sideloading in Android. That puts them in a league of their own, even in stiff North American competition. So with them you are absolutely forced to root, no way around it. I tend to root everything eventually, but I really hate being pushed into it.

          As for this tablet, totally agreed, not really worth considering. I was just curious about the available data plans, because I find the tablet data situation quite peculiar. IMO, a mobile always-on device (i.e. a tablet) only makes sense if it's always connected as well. That means cellular data plan, but since we typically have wi-fi during most of the day, the cellular data consumption would be fairly low in the end. This usually means they are gonna rip you off (low consumption => pay 5x the fair price). So I am waiting to see if the telcos catch up with the real world. Dumb hope, I know.

          I have a feeling we are gonna see some nice stuff in the Android tablet world this year. But the wait is so frustrating... ;)

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody

          The sideloading info you have is old news. 2010 and beginning of 2011 it was true. When Amazon came out with their appstore it lead to a pretty big uproar and AT&T reversed their decision. It took too long, but they released firmware updates for a fair number of phones to enable sideloading. Also, they were only blocking local installs, not ADB sideloading.

          Unless something has happened that I missed, they haven't blocked sideloading on anything that's come out in about 6 months or more.

        • ins0mn1a

          I didn't know that. Good to hear.

  • spydie

    You are all missing the best tab on the market for $499. The Asus transformer prime. Pure honeycomb with no branding or crippling

  • Mark

    Got one in my hand right now. Trying to root it, heh. So far not so good, but I did get the drivers and can see it in adb now.