Want a 4G tablet? If you want built-in 4G, you’ll have to go Android. (The iPad can get 4G only with a MiFi device.) There are about half a dozen 4G Android tablets in various sizes and price points available from the four major carriers. Most of these tablets have the latest Android 3.0 (aka Honeycomb) operating system.
AT&T sells two 4G tablets: the Acer Iconic Tab A501 ($330 with 2 year contract) and the HTC Jetstream ($700 with 2 year contract). Both have 10.1-inch, 1280 by 800 screens, dual-core processors, front-facing cameras for video chat and can accept memory cards up to 32 GB. There are a few differences between the two tablets, but whether they’re worth the $370 price difference is up for debate. While both tablets have Android’s Honeycomb software, the Acer Tab has version 3.0, and the Jetstream has the slightly upgraded version 3.1. The HTC Jetstream has the most recent Bluetooth standard (3.0), Wi-Fi, an 8-megapixel camera and a 32 GB drive. The Acer Iconic Tab has Bluetooth 2.1, a 5-megapixel camera, a 16 GB hard drive and no Wi-Fi.
There are also two 4G tablets available from Verizon. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 comes in two hard drive sizes: 16 GB ($530 with 2 year contract) and 32 GB ($630 with 2 year contract). The Motorola Xoom ($500 with 2-year contract) has a 10.1-inch screen, but a 7-inch model is expected to hit store shelves soon. The 10.1-inch Xoom can accept memory cards up to 64 GB; the Galaxy Tab does not
accept memory cards. All of these tablets have front-facing cameras and Android 3.1. The Xoom has a 5-megapixel camera that can capture 720p video; the Galaxy Tab has a 3-megapixel camera.
T-Mobile has just one 4G tablet available, the 32 GB LG G-Slate ($400 with 2-year contract), though two more models, the Galaxy Tab and the SpringBoard, are due out soon. The G-Slate has an 8.9-inch screen, a front-facing camera and a 5-megapixel camera that can capture 3D images and 1080p HD video. Video playback is limited to 720p.
Compared to the other 4G tablets, Sprint’s offering is rather modest. While the other three carriers all offer at least one 10.1-inch tablet, Sprint only offers a 7-inch tablet, the HTC Evo View ($400 with 2 year contract). It’s also has an older Android OS: version 2.3. The View has a front facing camera for video chats and a 5-megapixel camera for taking photos and video – its memory slot can accept cards up to 32 GB. One feature that sets it apart is HTC’s Scribe Technology, which, when used with a compatible pen accessory, enables you to take handwritten notes on the tablet and upload them to Evernote software. Weighing less than a pound, the HTC Evo View is the lightest of this bunch.