Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gets LTE capability, for a price

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is set to hit store shelves on Thursday. But Galaxy Tab users will be forced to lock themselves into a costly data contract.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 runs on the Verizon LTE network. But the newest Galaxy Tab doesn't come cheap.

On Thursday, Verizon will roll out the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the first tablet to run on the next-gen LTE network. The spec list on the Galaxy 10.1 is impressive, to say the least: Flash 10.3 capability, 1080p HD video playback, 10.1-inch HD touchscreen display, the Android 3.1 Honeycomb operating system, and download speeds of 5 to 12 MBs per second in areas covered by the LTE.

That kind of firepower, however, comes at a cost. In order to get your hands on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, you'll have to plonk down $529.99 for the 16GB model, or $629.99 for the 32GB model. Moreover, you'll have to sign up for a contract, which ain't cheap: rates start at $30 per month for a 2GB allowance, and extend up to $80 for a 10GB allowance. So if you're a pretty heavy user, you could conceivably pay just shy of a grand a year for data alone.

Those numbers have not made Matt Peckham of Time a very happy camper. Peckham points out – correctly – that AT&T doesn't make users sign a contract before getting their hands on iPad; you can pay month to month, or you can pay nothing at all. Users, Peckham argues, want options, not a mandatory contract – a contract that is probably piled on top of an already-existing data contract for a smartphone.

"I'm still hoping that some day, a wireless carrier will roll all of your devices -- phones, tablets, Mi-Fis, whatever – into a single plan for which you buy one giant bucket of data," Peckham writes. "With the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Verizon seems to be moving in the opposite direction by locking tablet buyers into separate long-term contracts."

On a related note, if you're short on reading material, it's well worth navigating over to CNET and reading Dong Ngo's meditation on what happens when an LTE modem is actually too fast. (Hint: You hit your data cap very quickly.)

Got some thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1? Drop us a line in the comments section. And in the meantime, sign up for our free weekly newsletter, which arrives every Wednesday.

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