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T-Mobile SpringBoard review: The high-school girlfriend of tablets

At first, a multiyear contract may seem like a great idea to get a subsidized tablet. But that initial bliss will likely wear off quicker than you expect.

$180 isn't a bad price for a Honeycomb tablet. Too bad that price doesn't tell the whole story. Josh Miller/CNET

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 only one device for so long.

My advice is the same 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. You know that tablet that totally works for you and is really cool and exciting at first and you start thinking, "Hey, maybe this is the last tablet I need".

Then, six months later, you're starting to notice all these other tablets on the market that seem absolutely perfect and better in nearly every way than the one you've been with for the last few months. Unfortunately though, you're already committed and you know that ending your current agreement prematurely comes at a great cost.

OK, I feel like I'm rapidly digressing, so let me pull back from my high-school trauma a bit and ask an important question: at what point will getting roped into a two-year contract to get a subsidized tablet be something that appeals to most people? What needs to change with tablet devices or the market in general before we're as quick to do this with tablets as we are with cell phones?

I'm not sure I know the answer to that question just yet, but if any of you has a good idea of when you'll be ready to go steady with your tablet of choice for the next two years, leave a comment below.

In the meantime, check out how the T-Mobile SpringBoard nearly convinced me that a two-year plan maybe isn't such a bad idea after all. When you're done with that, more tablet reviews await.