The SpringBoard has a number of firsts to its credit. It is the first tablet to reach the US and Canadian markets boasting of LTE functionality. The SpringBoard is also the first to feature Android 3.2, though at that point we knew of it as the Huawei MediaPad before T-Mobile re-branded the same as the SpringBoard for sale in North America.
These apart, the SpringBoard comes across as a pleasant surprise in the 7 inch category of tablets. Surprising, since it’s a mighty impressive device with looks, build quality, performance, and so on all requiring superlatives to bring out the true picture of the tablet. It’s extremely well built and looks strong and durable with a brushed aluminum look to it. Also, while the latter does add to the style factor of the tablet, it is still light and easy to hold and operate. However, the aluminum frame makes the SpringBoard resemble the iPhone, and let’s hope that does not spur Apple to go for another round of legal battles with Huawei, though that is a completely different story. The SpringBoard also looks a lot like the HTC Flyer and can be considered the best of both the HTC and Apple products.
Coming back to the topic on hand, the SpringBoard boasts of an impressive spec sheet. It’s powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor with on-board storage amounting to 16 GB. RAM strength is 1 GB and the tablet impresses with its fluid performance and zero lag periods. A microSd card slot allows another 32 GB to be added, which should be enough for most cases.
Among other aspects of the SpringBoard, the tablet offers just a 1.3 megapixel camera up front for self portraits and video conferencing, though for the photographer in you, there is a much better 5 megapixel unit at the rear. Other features the SpringBoard boasts of include a micro USB port for syncing, a micro HDMI slot, 3.5 mm headphone jack along with integrated stereo speaker. The stereo speakers are too weak to make audio playback on the tablet a serious pastime. Providing the juice is a 4,100 mAh battery, which is good enough to provide for about 6 hours of runtime. This isn’t bad, though of course for battery backup time, the more you have is always better. Also, the SpringBoard is just 0.41 inch thin while tipping the scales at just 14 oz (the same as the B&N Nook Tablet), which makes the tablet from Huawei just the perfect portable device.
However, one of the best aspects of the SpringBoard is its display, which (with a full 1280 x 800 HD resolution) is also among the best of any 7 inch tablet currently on offer. As of now, only the Toshiba Thrive 7 inch and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 boast of a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution. Also, the extra pixels does make their presence felt with super clear pictures and amazing sharpness. Texts look a lot less pixelated, which makes the SpringBoard a really nice device to indulge in some long reading sessions.
Coming to the software side of the SpringBoard, its Android 3.2 Honeycomb that runs the entire show though an upgrade to Android 4.0 shouldn’t be too far away. Also, the SpringBoard comes pre-loaded with a wide variety of apps, which includes the Accuweather for tablets, Blio e-reader, File Manager, Lets Golf 2, NOVA 2 HD, Netflix, and Lookout Mobile Security. BlockBuster and Netflix are also part of the package and the brilliant display does really make all of the above come to life.
So, how does the SpringBoard aka MediaPad shape up in the end?
Dana Wollman from engadget has this to say: “The Huawei MediaPad—make that the T-Mobile Springboard—is a very nice tablet. Before unleashing the world’s umpteenth Honeycomb tablet, Huawei made sure it was speedy, well-built, and long living, with a high-quality IPS display and halfway decent camera thrown in for good measure. T-Mobile’s reliable HSPA+ network is also a pleasant surprise, though we probably would have liked this tab even without that added perk. ”
Eugene Kim from pcmag also has a similar view of the SpringBoard, though points out it s a bit on the costlier side.
“The T-Mobile Springboard 4G offers a great 7-inch tablet experience in a high-quality design, as long as you’re willing to write off the camera. The aluminum construction and excellent display outclass the Acer Iconia Tab A100. But at $430 without a contract, the Springboard is pricier than most other 7-inchers, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus at $400. The Galaxy Tab 7.0 is lighter, but it also has a lower-resolution 1,024-by-600-pixel display. Whether that’s enough to justify the higher price tag will depend on consumers, but with the price of the Springboard approaching iPad levels, T-Mobile may have a hard time moving its newest tablet.”
Overall, a really nice tablet to have in the 7 inch category.