Editors' note: Thanks to the release of recent, high-quality tablets, the overall score of the Springboard has been adjusted down from 7 to 6.5.
I'm against signing up for multiyear contracts for tablets. The way I see it, the market is still too young to be committed to a single device for so long. My advice is the same advice my uncle gave me in high school: it's best to shop around and not be tied down to any single device. Only he was referring to girls, if I remember correctly.
It's a smart move, but there's always going to be that really appealing, um, device that seems like a great deal and casts doubt on your belief that doing the smart thing is the same as the right thing. Is the T-Mobile Springboard that device? Keep reading to find out.
The T-Mobile SpringBoard's front visage doesn't do it many favors with those, like me, who tend to make snap judgments based on looks alone. From the front, the tablet looks like a typical, cheap, rinky-dink 7-inch tablet you'd likely find at your local drug store. Luckily, first impressions aren't always the most lasting.
The SpringBoard's piano-black bezel contrasts with a light gray highlight along its edge. It's smaller than both the Blackberry PlayBook and Acer Iconia Tab A100. Like the HTC Flyer, the SpringBoard has an aluminum backside and actually bears more than a passing resemblance to the HTC Flyer's caboose, with large white overlays at the top and bottom ends of the tablet. Thanks to its metal backing, the tablet feels a bit slippery when held; we prefer the grippier hide of the Playbook. As 7-inch tablets go, the SpringBoard is one of the highest-quality ones. Although light, its weight is distributed in a way that makes it feel weighty and substantive.
|T-Mobile SpringBoard||Acer Iconia Tab A100||Blackberry Playbook||HTC Flyer|
|Weight in pounds||0.88||0.88||0.96||0.94|
|Width in inches (landscape)||7.4||7.7||7.6||7.7|
|Height in inches||4.8||4.6||5.1||4.75|
|Depth in inches||0.4||0.5||0.4||0.6|
|Side bezel width in inches (landscape)||0.75||0.8||0.8||0.8|
The tablet includes a Micro-USB slot, Mini-HDMI slot, and a microphone pinhole on its right edge. On the opposite edge reside two speakers and a headphone jack. On the top is a volume rocker and power button.
On the back, the bottom white overlay can be easily removed to reveal both a SIM card slot and MicroSD card slot.
The T-Mobile SpringBoard includes 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi support, Bluetooth, an accelerometer, gyroscope, and GPS. The speakers are located on the left side and deliver fairly high volume, albeit with tinny sound that lacks bass.