Rugged Android smartphones that are built tough are no longer a rarity. This raises the question whether or not there are Android tablets out there that offer similar level of durability and can withstand shock and scratches just as good as their smaller counterparts. The answer, fortunately, is a resounding yes. In fact, South Korea's Pantech goes a step further by making its Element tablet waterproof. Encased in a polycarbonate shell, this is one tablet that you won’t have to worry about using in adverse weather or in the bathroom.
The Pantech Element is an 8-inch Android slate that ships with more than respectable specs. Underneath that plastic-encased hood, you can find a dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor, 1GB RAM, a 1024 x 768 TFT display, 16GB internal memory , 5MP front-camera, 2MP rear-camera, microSD card slot and HDMI-out. Topping it off is the generous 6,400mAh battery, which ensures you can use the Element for several days, as long as you keep the usage light. Another strong point of the Pantech Element is the fact that it is 4G LTE ready. Overall, some very nice specs from a less known manufacturer.
Good specs alone won’t sell tablets. You have to applaud Pantech for trying to differentiate its offering by making the tablet waterproof. That’s why the Element is cloaked in said polycarbonate shell, protecting any openings on the tablet from water for up to 3 meter deep and up to 30 minutes. In terms of waterpoofing, Pantech Element differs from other similar offerings (Fujitsu showed off some waterproof tablets at CES), by using a plastic shell, instead of rubber fittings. This gives it better resistance to submersion (3 meters compare to 1 meter).
If this sounds appealing, you can get the Pantech Element tablet from AT&T for $249.99 with a 2-year contract. Not at all a bad deal, we believe, for a tablet of its kind.
Despite its rather low key presence and brand recognition, Pantech is trying to slowly build a reputation and gain a stronger footing in the Android scene. If the Pantech Element tablet is any indication of what the manufacturer can churn out, the future does look bright for the Koreans.
What would you do with the Pantech Element? I would definitely see myself watching movies in the tub, playing Where’s My Water (see what I did?), or using it to replace maps on my hiking trips. What do you say?