HTC Jetstream Android Tablet Nimble Despite Fat Form Factor

AT&T is selling the HTC Jetstream 4G LTE/HSPA+ Android Honeycomb tablet for $699 on contract. The verdict: great software, poor hardware form factor.

If someone were to walk into a retail store and play with AT&T's (NYSE:T) HTC Jetstream 4G LTE/HSPA+ tablet only a flat surface without being allowed to pick it up, they will be impressed by the slate's speed and processing power.

The tablet, which runs Google's Android 3.1 Honeycomb operating system with a 10.1-inch touch screen at 1280-by-800 resolution, employs a third-generation, Qualcomm dual-core 1.5 GHz processor.

After playing with this unit for the past several days, I can safely say it facilitates applications and other data faster than my own Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 device, which uses Nvidia's Tegra 2 1GHz dual-core chip.

Moreover, the tablet is fitted with HTC's Sense user interface for tablets, which makes customizing widgets and moving them around with press and hold gestures facile and fun.

I zipped around from Gmail to Facebook to Twitter, Angry Birds and YouTube, all without any hiccups. Google Books is also preloaded on the tablet, along with the Amazon Kindle application. There is no shortage of media options of the Jetstream.

I got a little surprise when I tapped the "Internet" icon on the main homscreen when I discovered it too took me to a My Yahoo homepage, which is no doubt part of AT&T and Yahoo's long-running content services bundle agreements.

I realized that, just as with the Yahoo widgets on my AT&T U-Verse home entertainment system, I'm never far from that Ma Bell and Yahoo coziness. But don't worry; Google is still the default search engine on this Honeycomb gadget. The search bar lives in the upper left hand corner of the touch screen.

The tablet also has a special treat in that it is fitted with HTC's Scribe digital pen input software, which allows users to take notes and save them to Evernote's cloud, doodle on the screen, and do other things. More on the Scribe later. I have to address why I can't recommend the Jetstream on balance.

The Jetstream's form factor is tragic. The Jetstream is .51 inches thick, compared to about .33 inches for my Tab, and weighs an unbelievable 25 ounces. That is, 1 pound, 9 ounces.

To my mind, it doubles as a media consumption device and a lethal weapon. Moreover, because the device, like most of HTC's tablets and smartphones is contoured, it feels unbalanced when held in one hand. And one can't hold it in one hand for long before tiring.