For connectivity, a slew of antennas are included here. There is, of course, WiFi and Bluetooth, but the G-Slate is a tri-band UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+ device, meaning it's sorta 4G right here and now.
Performance and battery life
We found browsing and general tableting to be a very responsive experience on the G-Slate. Pages are rendered quickly and respond handily to swipes, drags, pinches, and whatever other caresses you want to throw their way. Running the Quadrant benchmark we scored an 1,879, which puts it ever so slightly ahead of our Xoom, which clocked in at 1,801, but that's close enough to call it even. Unsurprisingly, the SunSpider browser test likewise had them neck-and-neck: 2,135 for the G-Slate to 2,042 for the Xoom.
Battery life tests were nearly identical as well. We had no problem making it through a full day of solid usage, surfing and gaming and generally loving life. But, when we sat down to our video loop test, with WiFi on and display brightness at about 65 percent, we scored eight hours and 18 minutes. That's a mere two minutes short of what the Xoom managed, and near enough to identical for us.
In terms of wireless performance, the G-Slate has an obvious advantage of being "4G" right out of the box. We had no problem finding that extra G on T-Mobile's network, staying on HSPA+ more often than not, even out in the country a ways. Running repeated network speed tests we nabbed scores of 6.5Mbps down on a few occasions, and saw 2.1Mbps up once. But, average scores were about half that, most download rates in the 3 - 4Mbps range, upload hovering generally somewhere around 1Mbps. That's well short of the amazing LTE rates
we've seen in the past, and not the 42Mbps speeds
we're looking forward to, but enough to keep downloading and browsing a snappy experience.
The G-Slate is running stock Honeycomb, Android 3.0, so there isn't much to talk about here. You quite naturally get the official suite of apps from Google, along with a few others to boot. Need for Speed: Shift
continues its dominance of the tablet racing genre by being present here, looking nor playing any differently than it does anywhere else. QuickOffice HD is installed for viewing officey-type documents, and there are two apps for working with 3D video. The first, 3DCamcorder, is for recording content in 3D, while 3DPlayer is quite naturally for playing that content back. You won't be working with any active-shutter glasses here, and the screen lacks the parallax barrier wizardry of something like the EVO 3D
. Good thing there's a pair of red and blue glasses in the box.
Also installed is T-Mobile TV, which allows for the viewing of limited television content, pushed straight to the tablet, including live footage and replays of some shows. Quality is poor and selection is extremely limited, with only nine channels available live. On-demand content is a little better, with a number of original shows from Discovery, A&E, and Animal Planet, but we'd trade this in a heartbeat for Netflix. We'd throw some money in there too, just to sweeten the deal.
Beyond that we're talking straight Android Honeycomb, which means a massive slew of applications in the Market -- most of which haven't been optimized for tablets and just don't look right on this screen. The stock keyboard still needs work and overall there's some polish needed. But, the Gmail app and browsing experience are still great, and Android lovers will certainly find a lot to love here.
The G-Slate has three cameras and, unfortunately, none of them is particularly good. The one looking back at you is fine for video calls and the like, but it's grainy enough that you won't need to worry too much about shaving or putting on makeup before calling a loved one.
Meanwhile on the back the dual five megapixel ports disappoint. We expect a decent amount of grain out of a sensor this size when things get a bit dim, but it's here even when there's what would be plenty of light for other shooters. Macro focusing is reasonably good for stills, but flip over to video (up to 1080p) and suddenly you have to take a few steps back if you want anything in focus. Even when in focus, plenty of compression artifacts marred the results.
Then, of course, there's the 3D capture mode. The tablet is advertised as 3D capable, but it's no better at 3D than that old tube TV you finally got rid of a few years back. It ships with a pair of quaint red/blue anaglyph glasses and that's the default presentation mode for video shot on this thing. You can feel good in knowing that this same technology was making people feel queasy way back in the '50s.
Ultimately the 3D cameras (which step down to 720p when filming in stereo) don't add much, but who knows. Maybe in a year or so when 3D home movies will be all that and a bottle of aspirin you'll be glad you have support here. But, right now, we'd trade these two crummy sensors for a single good one.