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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pantech tablet withstands the elements

13

August

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It's easy to be exposed to the elements, especially lately, as summer wallops us with squalls and showers. A sudden rainstorm can certainly put a damper on your day, but worse, it could be a death sentence for your mobile device. Trust me. An iPhone in our family drowned in an unexpected deluge this summer.

For those who are frequently outside, or work near the water, or both, here's a tablet that's sure to withstand the H20 test: Pantech Element available on the AT&T network. With all the ports properly sealed with its rubber flaps, it can go up to 3 feet deep for up 30 minutes in the water, and it carries an IP57 certification. It will surely survive a spill of your morning cup of coffee.

Although it's waterproof, it doesn't mean work IN water. The capacitive touchscreen doesn't work properly when it's wet, or if your fingers are wet. So using the Element requires a dry environment.

This tablet feels solid in your hands, even with its plastic backing. It's not too big, not too small, and its tapered edges make it a comfortable fit. At .42 inches thick, it doesn't feel flimsy unlike some other tablets that may feel thin and fragile. Yet it doesn't weigh you down -- just 16.5 ounces. Sure, it doesn't have the razzle-dazzle Retina display of Apple's new iPad, or the Jelly Bean Android operating system of Google's Nexus 7. But for a middle-of-the-road tablet, this is a strong contender.

The dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 4G LTE capability means the Element will give you fast surfing and downloading. The Android 3.2 Honeycomb operating system gives you plenty of options to customize. OS update plans haven't been announced yet. 

The 1024x768 TFT XGA 8-inch display isn't as vivid as some of the tablet leaders, but the images are still pretty decent and viewing loss at an angle is minimal. But a tablet that begs to be used outside gets washed out in the sunlight. Go figure. If you like some physical feedback while you're typing or navigating, this tablet comes with haptic technology that does just that. 

The Element comes with 16 GB of internal memory, but with the MicroSD card slot, you can double that to 32 GB.

The 5 MP rear-facing camera has a flash and 4X digital zoom and a fixed focus. The front-facing one is 2 MP. It comes with the PhotoFrame app that can use your images on the tablet into a mosaic display.  For those who like to doodle, another preloaded app is the Sketchpad where you can sketch on "paper" and save your creations or share them online.

If you're looking for a sturdy, weatherproof tablet that can withstand the weather, and even your kids, Pantech Element is worth a look. It's currently available for $299.99 with a two-year contract (plus monthly service charges, of course), or 449.99 outright.

Specs:


• Battery: 6,400 mAh Lithium Ion, talk time of up to 12 hours. Realistically, with heavy use, it's more like 1/2 a day or so. • Standby up to 24 hours.
• Processor: CPU Type APQ 8060, 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon
• Weight: 16.57 oz.
• Size: 8.36" x 6.12" x 0.42"
• 8-inch Vivid HD screen 1024x768 TFT XGA
• Android 3.2 Honeycomb operating system
• 1GB RAM
• 16GB internal storage
• Capacitive Touchscreen
• 4G LTE capable, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 3.5 mm audio port, micro-USB charging port, micro-HDMI port
• Video: 720p resolution (1280x720); up to one hour
• Photo: 5 MP rear-facing camera with flash, 4X digital zoom, fixed focus
• Music: Music player, streaming radio
• Web browser
• Email
• Multitasking

[Last modified: Monday, August 13, 2012 11:58am]

    

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