Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pantech Element, the 1st ideal tablet

iPad Mini is the very first tablet that's done right - the 7.9" size, thin frames and 4:3 screen ratio. Apple's stuff are all deadly locked and over priced, so I've been waiting for something like that but non-Apple. Here it comes, the Pantech Element.


I played with one in a store and found it to be fast and smooth. The 8" size is right and the 1024x768 screen is perfect for rendering web pages and photos. I never understand the point of 16:9 or 16:10, even for video.

Then I saw it's on sale for $167, so I ordered one. Although Pantech is a crappy company, nothing to lose at this price and I already touched one, so I know what to expect.

http://www.all4cellular.com/product/pantech-element-p4100-16gb-tablet-at-t-refurbished-5190.html

Some facts I have gathered so far:
  • Just 1 lb, slightly heavier than iPad Mini, but much lighter than all 10" craps.
  • Large 6400mAh battery to last 9 hours for video playing.
  • Running ICS, can root, add CWM recovery and SIM unlock.
  • Hotspot, once you root and remove the AT&T Communication Manager.
  • AT&T LTE 700/AWS and HSPA+/HSPA: 850/1900/2100 MHz.
  • You can, say, buy a China Unicom SIM card and use the 3G over there.
Warning: I took out the micro SD card from my camera and inserted it into the Element to see how photos look. The stupid thing deleted all the JPG files without a warning!!!

I'll update this article once it arrives. I post this article this soon, thinking others might want this great deal too before it's gone.

Some screen shots I took in the store (you can see ebay items in full lines with prices at the right side; something cannot do with phones):




[update 01/24/13] Received it and very happy so far. It is like brand new condition with protection film still on the back.

  • Bought a SIM unlock code on ebay for $1.59 and unlocked it. T-Mobile SIM works on 2g/3g/4g/lte (AWS), need to add this apn: fast.t-mobile.com.
  • Downloaded the ICS 4.0.4 from Pantech and updated by a simple click. I already installed the USB drivers earlier when I bought a Pantech Burst phone. Then did a reset to factory.
  • Rooted it with this instruction by pure adb, used su, busybox and Superuser.apk files from this zip. 
  • Moved the APNWidget.apk out of /system/app. Enabled tether menu with Secret Codes Revealer, both USB and WiFi tether work.
  • Inserted my SIM card and enjoying very fast 4G.
  • Installed TouchPal and typing this in Chrome.
  • The 1024x768 screen is indeed ideal for checking photos from my G5. No need to mention web pages.
  • Installed Dice Player and it can play the MTS video directly from my G5 using HW decoder! Image is bumpy, but audio is smooth and synced with image.
  • I can hold or grab it with one hand, indeed the ideal size, feels heavier than 7" though.
  • Speaker is loud and clear.
  • Good battery life, dropped only 10% from 88% to 78% overnight, idle with 4G connected, about 1% drain per hour, typical for Android. Watched online TV over 4G for 30 minutes and battery drained 10% from 78% to 68%, which means about 5 hours online video watching. Dropped 9% after 30 minutes of forum browsing and posting over 4G, translating to about 5.5 hours.
  • Several languages included, Chinese is one of them.
  • When I connect it to my laptop, it won't be charged. Because the USB port is at the bottom, it needs a special stand for watching online TV while being charged.

27 comments:

  1. Hi,

    Just double check if the deal is 167 or 176?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. $167, after coupon. This deal has been come and gone almost hourly, on ebay too (this same seller, brand new for $220). Just check as often as you can, if interested.

      Delete
    2. Thanks!

      What coupon did you use? I only found 20% off one.

      Delete
  2. Pls elaborate more about this step, “Enabled tether menu with Secret Codes Revealer, both USB and WiFi tether work.”

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Install SCR by VLADISLAVAKSJONOV. Run this app, Search Codes, it'll find out all the secrete codes on your phone/tablet. List Codes, Look for "softapactivation", click Launch code, confirm "OK", check the first two items, i.e., Tether Menu Activation and Check to use Free Softap feature, the Save.

      Afterward you'll see "Tethering & portable hotspot" in Setting under Wireless & Networks.

      Delete
    2. Thanks. it work.

      Now I get another question. I upgrade to ICS, rooted, completely follow your instruction. Get a SIM unlock code from http://www.ebay.com/itm/Unlock-code-Pantech-Element-P4100-Crossover-P8000-Breeze-C520-2-P2000-3-P2030-/290848629670?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item43b7ede3a6, the unlock code does NOT work. The IMEI is obtained following this instruction, http://att.deviceanywhere.com/PantechElement/tutorials/16570. The ebay seller asked me to revert back to stock rom and try. May I know which ebay seller you get the unlock code?

      Delete
    3. Dung Ngo Viet, mr.ngovietdung@gmail.com

      Delete
    4. Thanks a lot, it is the same seller. Do you know how to revert the ROM back to honeycomb? If voice calling function can be added to element, it would be perfect.

      Delete
  3. Hi, Sean:

    Any ideal how to unroot ICS? It seems troublesome to unlock SIM with rooted ICS. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Follow this, https://github.com/fvalverd/Android-Easy-Rooting-Toolkit/tree/master/Root, I unrooted the element. Try SIM unlock code from Dung Ngo Viet, mr.ngovietdung@gmail.com, no success. Then I rooted it back.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just FYI, I picked one up on eBay from the same seller for $150, it came poorly packed...it was in an oversized box wrapped in one sheet of bubble wrap, so I imagine it bounced around quite a bit during shipping...

    although the screen was near perfect, the back side was pretty heavily scratched...

    lastly, the cover for the charging port was missing, pretty much rendering the waterproof feature useless...

    I called 3 times, first two times I spoke with the same person, they put me on hold then a few minutes the call dropped...

    the third time, spoke with a different person, they said they would email me an RMA label...which I never received

    at that point I just decided to keep it but thought I would give everyone the headsup

    ReplyDelete
  6. Unlock Any Pantech phone at cheaper price $0.50 onwards
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    ReplyDelete
  7. I want to share that, this case of $8 fits size-wise perfectly with Pantech element. However, you need cut holes for usb and cameras.

    http://www.geekbuying.com/item/8-Inch-PU-Leather-case-with-stander--for-Teclast-P85-Tablet-PC-Black-303997.html

    The OEM case is just too expensive to buy.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Unlock Pantech phone at cheaper price $0.50 onwards
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    ReplyDelete
  9. Get 200 MB free monthly on T-Mobile

    Mine was locked to ATT. Unlocked the GSM using an eBay seller. You might be able to unlock for free here. http://forum.gsmhosting.com/vbb/f...t-1452687/

    Purchased a T-Mobile Mobile Internet SIM only kit - Micro SIM. Inserted into the P4100 and turned off WiFi. Opened web browser on the tablet and went to https://mim.t-mobile.com/primary/openPage

    Signed up using Data on Demand plan with $0.00. Just gave them my name, address, email and home phone number. No credit card needed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://forum.gsmhosting.com/vbb/f88/pantech-p4100-unlock-code-needed-t-1452687/

      Delete
    2. Did the exact same thing with T-Mobile. Although I got my unlock code for free from ATT directly. Just submitted an online request and got the code in about 3 days. :-)

      Delete
  10. Has anyone found a solution to the small app storage the element has partitioned? The 1GB size just doesn't leave enough room for apps to install, and I eventually receive Insufficient Storage Available when updating/installing apps.

    Any help is appreciated.
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you find a solution, rom or otherwise to make the tablet more usable as far as app space?

      Delete
  11. What was the purpose of moving apnwidget.apk? I have this device, rooted, twrp, and other tweaks, on T-Mobile free data. I'm just wondering if moving that apk is part of de-AT&Ting it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If not removed, you cannot use the tablet as a hotspot.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
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