We've had the HTC Jetstream in house for a few days, and it's been chock full of pleasant surprises. Though some bloggers have already proclaimed the product DOA because of it's high price, others have been a little more patient and waited to see just how good the product is.
Sales reps at our local AT&T store were insanely jazzed about the tablet when we interviewed them on the Sunday launch date. Supplies, even in our 4G LTE market, were incredibly limited, and it seems like each AT&T store got just 1 Jetstream to sell. The reps thought the price was aggressive (really, no kidding) and felt it was a better product than the iPad 2, or at least as good (still not kidding). What had them so impressed? LTE 4G. Though AT&T has only 5 markets covered right now, we happen to be in one, and download speeds are insane at up to 46Mbps with full bars and 26-29 Mbps down and 11Mbps up with 2-3 out of 5 bars. On HSPA+ we averaged 7.5Mbps down and 1.1 megs up, which shows up Verizon 3G as a solid fallback where you're not in an LTE area.
The HTC Jetstream is an Android Honeycomb 3.1 tablet that shoots for the high end. Where we usually have to say that the tablet could have a better camera or better battery life or *insert high end feature here*, the HTC Jetstream has the best of pretty much everything. It has a 1.5GHz dual core Snapdragon CPU with Adreno 220 graphics vs. the usual 1GHz dual core Tegra 2 CPU, a gig of RAM, 32 gigs of internal storage, a front video chat camera, a rear 8 megapixel autofocus camera with dual LED flash that takes the best 1080p video we've ever seen (you'll see it in our video review), a GPS, dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth and 3G/4G with HSPA+ and LTE. It has a microSD card slot for further expansion and what we assume is HDMI-out via an MHL adapter.
The tablet costs a painful $699 with a 2 year contract and $849 without. The HTC Scribe pen is included right now, but we don't know how long that promo will last (the pen sells for $70 otherwise). Is AT&T being greedy? We think so.
The tablet has a 7300 mAh Lithium Ion battery that AT&T claims is good for 12 hours on a charge. In our tests, we're seeing 10 hours; significantly longer than other Honeycomb tablets. We had either LTE or WiFi on at all times and used the auto-brightness setting, which for once isn't so dim that we couldn't enjoy using the tablet. For those of you who want to squeeze more power, you likely could disable auto-brightness and set the display dimmer.
The display is one of the best we've seen on an Android tablet, and it's definitely a bit more warm and saturated than my Asus Eee Pad Transformer. It rivals the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 but it lacks Samsung's signature hyper-saturation. Build quality is also top notch with a metal frame, metal back and a curved lip that rises above the display to protect it should the tablet land face down. HTC takes things one step further with their active digitizer and HTC Scribe pen. The same tech is used on the HTC Flyer / HTC EVO View 4G, but it's much easier to write on the Jetstreams' larger display. The pen also works in more apps under Honeycomb, though you still get the custom version of Evernote, a screen shot function and PDF annotation capabilities as with the Flyer.
The HTC Jetstream runs HTC Sense software, and it's much more customized than the usual vanilla Honeycomb tablet. I like Sense and enjoy it on the tablet--it makes for a friendlier user experience. The Friendstream social networking has been enhanced for the big screen, and it's the first manufacturer-provided solution I like well enough to actually use daily. The tablet uses the same USB drivers as HTC phones, and when you plug it in to a computer, you can set it to mass storage mode, HTC sync or modem mode. You need not install any drivers (or Android File Transfer for Mac users), to use the tablet in mass storage mode to copy files.
Above, top to bottom: the iPad2, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and HTC Jetstream.
Performance is excellent, and the Jetstream has been more stable than the average Honeycomb tablet. Adobe Flash performance is solid and the tablet plays crackle.com videos perfectly, does Amazon Instant Video and Netflix too.
There's much more to the Jetstream's story, so be sure to read our full written HTC Jetstream review with details on HDMI out, 1080p camcorder samples and more!
Here's our HTC Jetstream video review. There are a lot of features and quite a few tablets to compare it to, so this is a long video at 30 minutes.