Like a lot of smaller Asian manufacturers, Pantech is making a big push in North America this year looking to expand its smartphone market share. If early moves with AT&T are any example, it’ll do that by leveraging tablets. Starting today, you can buy the new Pantech Element tablet and the Burst budget smartphone for $250 all together – a $50 discount on both. A new or recurring AT&T contract is required and – sigh – you’ll have to pay separately for both the tablet and smartphone data. On the plus side, both tablet and smartphone are the cheapest devices in their class to use AT&T’s fledgling 4G LTE network.
The Element is a standard 8-inch Android Honeycomb tablet with a trick up its sleeve: it’s rated as IP57 waterproof, or more accurately, splash-proof. It wouldn’t be a good idea to toss the Element in a pool or tub, but you could confidently use it while cooking or in inclement weather. Other specs include a 1.5Ghz dual-core processor, 16GB of storage and a 5 megapixel camera capable of 1080p video recording. a 4:3 screen tops out at 1024×768, but the 6400 battery should serve you well. The Burst is a typical Gingerbread smartphone with a 4-inch screen and 16GB of internal storage.
Separately the tablet and phone go for $299.99 and $49.99, respectively, and $449.99/$$399.99 without a contract. For the few that are in the market for both a cheap tablet and smartphone, the Element and Burst deal might seem appealing – but remember that you’ll have to pay for both each month. It might be more economical to get the phone and a WiFi tablet, using the savings for a more high-end model, or getting a more functional MiFi hotspot instead. For those who like the idea of a combined tablet-smartphone package, AT&T is also offering the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE and Galaxy S II Skyrocket combo for $479.99.