My Quest for a 7 inch Android "Phablet" that will Function on T-Mobile

azlife

    I am deciding on whether  to leave the Verizon network or go to T-Mobile.  I have hesitated mainly because I currently have a grandfathered unlimited data plan and am reluctant to lose it.   In addition to my Verizon plan, I recently picked up a $70 unlimited T-Mobile plan and am using a Huawei Ascent Mate 2 (6.1 inch phone).  I am now trying to decide on which network to keep.  The goal though is to find a 7 inch device so I can stop carrying both a tablet and a cell phone around, and most importantly, to gain the extra screen "real estate" since I use the phone so much for data/browsing/reading. 

     

    Unfortunately, in all the research I have done, it appears that T-Mobile uses a frequency that is not supported around the world (LTE), so my original thought of using any international unlocked GSM phone does not seem to be feasible, and, maybe switching away from Verizon is not as important as I initially thought.

     

    Here are the phones that I’m interested in, with the network frequency they support:

     

    Huawei MediaPad X1 / Huawei Honor X1 (7 inch)

    2G: GSM:850/900/1800/1900MHz
    3G: WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100MHz  TD-SCDMA A + F
    4G: TDD-LTE:B38/39/40/41, FDD-LTE: B1/3/7
    Data Services GPRS / EDGE / WCDMA HSPA + (DL: 42Mbps, UL: 5.76Mbps) / TD-SCDMA/TD-HSPA (DL: 2.8Mbps, UL: 2.2Mbps) / TDD LTE (DL: 112Mpbs, UL: 10Mbps)

     

    HP Slate 7 VoiceTab Ultra (7 inch: possibly rebranded Huawei MediaPad X1)

    GSM at 850/1800/1900 MHz
    WCDMA at6 900/2100 MHz primary with a printed circuit board (PCB) design to support 850/2100 MHz

     

    OrientPhone Mega Pro 7.0 (7 inch)

    2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz

    3G: WCDMA 850/2100MHz

    GSM+WCDMA

     

    Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 (8.4 inch International)

    2G

    GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 - SM-T321, SM-T325

    3G

    HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 - SM-T321, SM-T325

    4G

    LTE 800 / 850 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 - SM-T325

    I actually purchased and tried this device but service was not reliable.  Sometimes I would get HSDPA+ other times slow as a dog. Also, it was just a tad too big for everyday practical use.  7 inch seems to be the sweet spot for me...

     

    HiSense MaxE X1

    Not enough specs out yet.

     

    Sony Xperia Z Ultra (6.4 inches)

    This is the option which I am about to pull the trigger on because I know for a fact it will work on T-Mobile LTE.  Only hesitation is that I really would like that extra half-inch and an LED Flash for the camera.

     

    Huawei Ascend Mate 2 (6.1 inch)

    I am currently using this now on T-Mobile LTE (1700/2100 Mhz).  It is actually an awesome phone and have no regrets purchasing it.  Battery life is unbelievable.   Can literally go for days with normal use.  But, as mentioned, I would like a bit more screen real estate if possible.

     

    So, IN SUMMARY,

    I know that only a couple of the above phones will function with LTE on T-Mobile.  But, I am not sure what results I will have with the other phones.  I definitely don't want normal 3G speed, but I could possibly live with HDSPA+.  With the little experience I have with the frequencies, I am thinking that the only frequency that I can take advantage of with most of the above phones is the 1900 Mhz frequency that T-Mobile has re-farmed (I am in a re-farmed area).  Only problem, T-Mobile doesn't guarantee that frequency will work or if the service will be reliable enough.  I believe I found this out while testing the international version of the Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4.

     

    Anybody have any feedback on the above, or have any other experience with 7 inch phablets on the T-Mobile network (obviously with calling capability)?  If so, please share the phone model.

     

    Thanks.

      All replies

      • I am in your same exact boat.

         

        I currently have the Z Ultra GPE. Awesome device. Only issues are typical of Android devices. Buggy as hell, reboots etc.

         

        I was also looking at a 7 inch phablet and unfortunately it seems like the options are as follows:

         

        1.) buy a Nexus 7 tablet with 3G radio and rely on VOIP solutions (yes I know not ideal)

        2.) Buy an Xperia Z Ultra GPE (best option but smaller screen)

        3.) MegaPro 7 ONLY because its cheaper (if you won't get LTE anyways, then why spend more?)

        4.) Mediapad x1

         

        Only option 2 will get you LTE

         

        So you have to pick your poison: Get something that will definitely do LTE (option 2), or live with spotty coverage and "hope" refarmed 3.5G (HSPA/HSDPA+) is usable enough combined with wifi.

         

        Another thing to bear in mind: Option 2 has Android lollipop. The others run Android 4.2 and/or 4.3, and are very unlikely to be upgraded any time soon unless you poke around on XDA for a custom solution. The sad fact is none of these phablets appeal to the masses, so their support is slow (if at all existing).

        • This has been my obsession, too. I'm currently using my second Sony Z Ultra GPE, having damaged both charging ports on my first. With a display size of 6.44 inches, the Z Ultra has the largest display of all phones that can live in a standard shirtpocket. It can even fit in a shirtpocket with a 10,000mAH battery magnetically clamped to the back! That's how I roll. So if I'm going to sacrifice shirtpocket convenience, I'd better get a lot more area. In other words, not a Nexus 7, but...

          a Samsung Tab 4 8.0, if I want to spend as little as possible

          a Sony Xperia Z3 8.0, if I want to preserve my investment in magnetic chargers and magnetic adapters

          an LG 8.3 Google Play Edition, if I want to preserve the pure Google experience.

           

          At about 125mm wide, each of these tablets is about 33mm wider than the Sony's 92.5mm body. That's still narrow enough to live in a front trouser pocket. And each would provide about 63 to 72 percent more glass than the Sony. Not a bad tradeoff.

           

          Meanwhile, for T-Mobilers who prefer a phablet to a larger tablet, feel free to post a comment on my spreadsheet of T-Mobile-compatible phablets larger than 5.5 inches. The spreadsheet includes many "global" phablets, noting that they won't work on American LTE, to remind me--and now, you--that I haven't overlooked those models.

           

          AZLife, if you can find my email address or somehow send me a private message, I'll give you editing rights. Or, if you prefer, download my spreadsheet, upload it to your site as your own, and modify it as you wish.

          • I am also same boat with OP.

            It looks like Huawei mediapad X1 may work as HSPA+ according to the youtube reviewer. I know they recently released X2, but no US version yet. I need a phablet bigger than 5.5 inches that can also make voice phone calls.

             

            Huawei MediaPad Honor X1 T-Mobile (UNBOXING) - YouTube

            • olivierm

              Since November, you can get the BLü Studio 7.0 LTE which works perfectly with t-mobile LTE. I'm actually posting this message from my Studio 7 LTE.

              • daniel@steen.blue

                I have been using a Huawei Mediapad X2 for the past two years, and I have been generally very happy.   The internet speeds are fine for pretty much anything I have been able the throw at it from Netflix to gaming to downloads. 

                 

                However, you definitely have to be aware that you will not have access to all of the channels that T-Mobile expects.   What this means in practice is that availability of connectivity looks more like it did 3-4 years ago rather than today.   It's not a speed thing.  Speed is fine.  However, there are more "dead zones" than you would expect today.   As an example,  I live in the Baltimore MD area.  I generally don't have any issues.   However, if I travel to NY, I typically hit a few zones where I do not have connectivity at all (Something like 10-20 minutes of the entire 4 hour trip).   There are also one or two locations here in Baltimore where I don't have good connectivity (although, those areas are problematic even with "normal" phones - though not as bad).

                 

                I also find that switching between wifi and Cell Data takes longer than I would usually expect (about a minute).   I don't know if this is a function of the phone or the fact that it takes a while to pick up the tower, but it's definitely a thing. 


                The above aside, I am generally extremely happy.   You just have to go into it knowing that you may have occasional issues, and be willing to accept that as worthwhile.  


                -Dan

                • frederickdawg

                  Same boat. Have you looked into some other Huawei mediapad models. According to frequency check the model

                  T2 7 LTE  bgo-l03 works on all but LTE band 12.

                   

                   

                   

                  I'm currently using a Sony Xperia Z4 tablet which works fully on t mobile LTE inc voice.  Albeit too big at 10,1 inches to be my sole device