Feb 02 AT 12:11 PM Taylor Wimberly 25 Comments

Is Sprint’s 3G $99 Android tablet offer too good to be true?

sprint-zte-optik

Today Sprint announced the release date and pricing of their 7-inch ZTE Optik Android tablet. Starting February 5th, Sprint customers can pick up the 3G Android tablet for only $99 with a 2-year contract, or $349 without a contract. A starting price of $99 sounds like a sweet deal, but is it really that good an offer?

Highlights of the ZTE Optik include Android 3.2 Honeycomb OS, 7-inch touchscreen display with WXGA 1280×800 resolution, dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon S3 processor, dual cameras, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB storage, WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth 2.1, expandable memory slot, and 4000 mAh Lithium-ion battery.

To take advantage of the $99 tablet offer, Sprint requires customers to sign a 2-year contract for the wireless data. Sprint offers four plans designed specifically for tablets, starting at $19.99 for 1GB of data, $34.99 for 3GB of data, $49.99 for 6GB of data, and $79.99 for 12GB of data.

For those that choose the cheapest $19 data plan, the total cost of ownership is $578.76 (not including taxes and surcharges). That sounds like a lot, but it’s cheaper than a Sprint customer who purchases their own WiFi-only tablet and tethers it to their smartphone. Sprint charges $29.99 per month for their Mobile Hotspot 5 GB plan, so the total cost over 24 months would be $719.76 + the price of a tablet.

So for Sprint customers that want an affordable 7-inch tablet with a data plan, the ZTE Optik is a pretty reasonable deal. The only downside is that this tablet will be obsolete in less than 18 months and you will still be stuck paying the data plan.

For anyone purchasing the ZTE Optik, consider the WiFi-only, quad-core Asus Memo 370T will be out shortly for only $249. Other low-priced options include the $199 Kindle Fire, and $249 Barnes & Noble Nook tablet.

I’ve been using an Android tablet for the last year and I haven’t had the need for a dedicated data plan since I mainly use it around the house or office where I always have a WiFi connection. I could see certain use cases where a user would require a data plan on a tablet, but those are few and far between. That’s why a device like the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note could be appealing to some.

In my wireless fantasy land, I’d love to see carriers just offer a shared bucket of data that I can use with any device connected to my plan. If I’m paying for 5 GB of data each month, then I should be able to consume that on my smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Sprint has innovated with their truly unlimited plans for smartphones, so maybe they can push the boundaries on multi-device plans one day.

Back to the ZTE Optik, it looks like a nice starter Android tablet for the price. We will be receiving one for review, so check back soon for our full impressions.

Source: Sprint

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • spazby

    I am sure this will appeal to some segment but most people will wait for Asus Memo, and that includes me.

    • Jeff Pan

      Sprint knows that too and that is the reason they are offering it right now!

  • honourbound68

    as mentioned, it’s obsolete as soon as the Memo comes out. i’ve got the htc evo view and setting aside not being able to play high end games, there’s no compelling reason to switch to a dual-core tab running HC.

    • swazedahustla

      IM running the HP touchpad with ICS. I doubt this becomes obsolete anytime soon. It will continue to do what its advertized to do even with newer models released. Its not even for people who are considering asus. Its a low budget tablet for frugal spenders….

      this guy just made over $500 in a day just from his Facebook, crazy…

      http://quick-click-commissions.com/secret.php?n=antech

  • redman618

    I see this product being picked up by the psuedo techies. What makes it worst they would brag to all about how great a deal this is. Me perseonally I would not get this if they were giving it away. The white elephant in the room everyone forgets about is the 2 year contract! Also who here sees that getting upgrading to ICS, that is the important question? We got my niece a Kindle Fire for Christmas and we all couldn’t be happier.

  • SCJaredJ

    I wonder why the data plans on the tablets dont mirror the hotspots.

    • SCJaredJ

      Got trigger happy…$100 +29.99 5gb data for use as hotspot would be more appealling.

    • Jeff Pan

      ” I’d love to see carriers just offer a shared bucket of data that I can use with any device connected to my plan. If I’m paying for 5 GB of data each month, then I should be able to consume that on my smartphone, tablet, or laptop.”

      - This is what everyone should work towards!

  • yankeesusa

    I don’t see any reason to sign 2 year contract for this. I’d get it for $150 off contract but thats it.

  • SGB101

    the over all price is not that bad, looking at it fron a uk prospective $800 is £500, which makes it ipad2 money.

    plus you get the 2 years data and spread the cost over the two years, without interest.

    personally id get a wifi only tab and tether to my phone. but the price isnt that bad.

  • epps720

    I really hope they change their data plans to shared buckets. I have unlimited on Verizon (obviously they wouldn’t allow it w/an unlimited plan) but I really don’t use much data as my phone is always on wifi (home & office) so I should be allowed to use the residual data on a tablet if I want to.

    Can’t wait for the Asus Memo

  • Billy

    Yikes … I don’t think I would sign a 2 year contract for this … Kind of lost me at HC anyway. I will wait for ICS variants with the new upgrades to start rolling out this year.

    But .. like I always say … choice is good!! Somebody will like it.

  • vitriolix

    $100 + (24 x $20) = $580 … quit calling it a $99 tablet

    • Chris

      exactly

      I’m on tmobile and I lol when people give me shit about paying full price for a newly released phone they think im crazy
      yet im not stuck in a 2 year contract AND save like 20 a month on the same plan

      People and are completely oblivious to the fact they are still paying full price

  • http://www.baldypal.com Adam Jones

    Verizon will have two ZTE choices this spring also. Both 4G. Both Verizon branded. One 7 inch one 10.1 inch. I think April is the timeline for that.

  • Nate Hill

    Outdated already. More then likely never will reach ICS OS. If today, out to buy a tablet id match price with the Acer Iconia A200 which currently is running ICS from a leaked OEM Rom. 349.99$ for a brand new dualcore tab with 16gb Wifi only with ICS. Cant beat it today. Tomorrow, maybe….

  • RRR

    WXGA 1280×800 resolution tablets all will slide under $150 and below as soon as Apple and Samsung will deliver high definition tablets with 4x pixel density. What, in two or three months?

    Then who the hell here is paying for the tethering downvote me

  • slurms mckenzie

    yeah right with sprints shitty ass 3g network ur lucky if u get 300kb

    • yankeesusa

      Well lately Ive been getting almost 1mb and its improving. They might suck now but they are getting better and I’ll stick by them till june or later to see if their lte is any good which reviews and testing show that it looks promising.

  • squiddy20

    “For those that choose the cheapest $19 data plan, the total cost of ownership is $578.76 (not including taxes and surcharges). That sounds like a lot, but it’s cheaper than a Sprint customer who purchases their own WiFi-only tablet and tethers it to their smartphone. Sprint charges $29.99 per month for their Mobile Hotspot 5 GB plan, so the total cost over 24 months would be $719.76 + the price of a tablet”
    I’m sorry, but that whole comparison is dumb. You’re comparing the cheapest data plan for the tablet ($19.99 for 1GB) to the Mobile Hotspot plan ($29.99 for 5GB). There’s a big difference in 1GB and 5GB. Once you bump the tablet data plan up to 3GB for $34.99, the “total cost of ownership” (including the price of tablet) exceeds the cost of the Mobile Hotspot plan by $100, even with the cost of the tablet included. And of course the gap widens when you increase the tablet data plan to 6GB. It’s actually cheaper just to get the Mobile Hotspot, when you’re comparing roughly the same amounts of data that is. I’m currently using about a GB a month on my 3G only Samsung Moment. Accessing the Internet on a tablet only increases the data usage, therefore 1GB would not be enough. Please, be more realistic in your comparisons.

  • TIco

    I will be waiting for the $250 Asus Memo 370T :) There has yet to be a tablet announced to beat the price and specs of this tablets :D

  • smartymcsmart

    Or just get the $79 unlimited plan, root the phone, tether 4g for free, and ‘F’ The Man.

    Seriously, is it illegal to do this? No. Is it against contract? Yes. Will Sprint find out? Hell no. Is there a moral issue here? Yes, a phone co. that wants you to pay separate bills just to use data on every device you own. It’s like having a landline but being charged for each room you have a phone plugged into.

    Just root people. It only takes a few minutes and 3 braincells.

    …or just pay more. ;-)

  • me223

    Just root your phone and indulge in free WiFi in your pocket and by the tablet you want

  • me223

    Also if you root check out the mikmik roms, good stuff

  • Dave

    Do NOT BUY! This device is absolute crap, and paired with Sprint’s ‘nationwide’ network you can just about forget it. I have 25 (yes twenty-five) of these running as communication/gps-tracking in my trucking company. Worst investment ever. 5 of these are already replaced with refurbished Samsung Galaxy tab(p1000). These ZTE’s are just plauged with problems. All of the units i had to replace either would no longer change or no longer turn on. The ones that still do turn on have absolutely HORRIBLE battery life (about 1-2 hours), and constantly drop service or just lack service access for days. The service issue is ridiculous; I’ll have a truck in any major eastern city (NYC, Philly, Pittsburgh, etc) and the damn thing just will not pick up service, BUT when my guy moves to the middle of nowhere in Mississippi and he’s already at the receiver.. it will finaly pick up service. Forget about the cheap price of these things. The money you save is quickly used buying new chargers or refurb units to replace these.

  1. I am sure this will appeal to some segment but most people will wait for Asus Memo, and that includes me.

  2. as mentioned, it’s obsolete as soon as the Memo comes out. i’ve got the htc evo view and setting aside not being able to play high end games, there’s no compelling reason to switch to a dual-core tab running HC.

    • swazedahustlaGuest 3 years ago

      IM running the HP touchpad with ICS. I doubt this becomes obsolete anytime soon. It will continue to do what its advertized to do even with newer models released. Its not even for people who are considering asus. Its a low budget tablet for frugal spenders….

      this guy just made over $500 in a day just from his Facebook, crazy…

      http://quick-click-commissions.com/secret.php?n=antech

  3. I see this product being picked up by the psuedo techies. What makes it worst they would brag to all about how great a deal this is. Me perseonally I would not get this if they were giving it away. The white elephant in the room everyone forgets about is the 2 year contract! Also who here sees that getting upgrading to ICS, that is the important question? We got my niece a Kindle Fire for Christmas and we all couldn’t be happier.

  4. I wonder why the data plans on the tablets dont mirror the hotspots.

    • Got trigger happy…$100 +29.99 5gb data for use as hotspot would be more appealling.

    • ” I’d love to see carriers just offer a shared bucket of data that I can use with any device connected to my plan. If I’m paying for 5 GB of data each month, then I should be able to consume that on my smartphone, tablet, or laptop.”

      - This is what everyone should work towards!

  5. I don’t see any reason to sign 2 year contract for this. I’d get it for $150 off contract but thats it.

  6. the over all price is not that bad, looking at it fron a uk prospective $800 is £500, which makes it ipad2 money.

    plus you get the 2 years data and spread the cost over the two years, without interest.

    personally id get a wifi only tab and tether to my phone. but the price isnt that bad.

  7. I really hope they change their data plans to shared buckets. I have unlimited on Verizon (obviously they wouldn’t allow it w/an unlimited plan) but I really don’t use much data as my phone is always on wifi (home & office) so I should be allowed to use the residual data on a tablet if I want to.

    Can’t wait for the Asus Memo

  8. Yikes … I don’t think I would sign a 2 year contract for this … Kind of lost me at HC anyway. I will wait for ICS variants with the new upgrades to start rolling out this year.

    But .. like I always say … choice is good!! Somebody will like it.

  9. vitriolixGuest 3 years ago

    $100 + (24 x $20) = $580 … quit calling it a $99 tablet

    • ChrisGuest 3 years ago

      exactly

      I’m on tmobile and I lol when people give me shit about paying full price for a newly released phone they think im crazy
      yet im not stuck in a 2 year contract AND save like 20 a month on the same plan

      People and are completely oblivious to the fact they are still paying full price

  10. Verizon will have two ZTE choices this spring also. Both 4G. Both Verizon branded. One 7 inch one 10.1 inch. I think April is the timeline for that.

  11. Nate HillGuest 3 years ago

    Outdated already. More then likely never will reach ICS OS. If today, out to buy a tablet id match price with the Acer Iconia A200 which currently is running ICS from a leaked OEM Rom. 349.99$ for a brand new dualcore tab with 16gb Wifi only with ICS. Cant beat it today. Tomorrow, maybe….

  12. WXGA 1280×800 resolution tablets all will slide under $150 and below as soon as Apple and Samsung will deliver high definition tablets with 4x pixel density. What, in two or three months?

    Then who the hell here is paying for the tethering downvote me

  13. slurms mckenzieGuest 3 years ago

    yeah right with sprints shitty ass 3g network ur lucky if u get 300kb

    • Well lately Ive been getting almost 1mb and its improving. They might suck now but they are getting better and I’ll stick by them till june or later to see if their lte is any good which reviews and testing show that it looks promising.

  14. squiddy20Guest 3 years ago

    “For those that choose the cheapest $19 data plan, the total cost of ownership is $578.76 (not including taxes and surcharges). That sounds like a lot, but it’s cheaper than a Sprint customer who purchases their own WiFi-only tablet and tethers it to their smartphone. Sprint charges $29.99 per month for their Mobile Hotspot 5 GB plan, so the total cost over 24 months would be $719.76 + the price of a tablet”
    I’m sorry, but that whole comparison is dumb. You’re comparing the cheapest data plan for the tablet ($19.99 for 1GB) to the Mobile Hotspot plan ($29.99 for 5GB). There’s a big difference in 1GB and 5GB. Once you bump the tablet data plan up to 3GB for $34.99, the “total cost of ownership” (including the price of tablet) exceeds the cost of the Mobile Hotspot plan by $100, even with the cost of the tablet included. And of course the gap widens when you increase the tablet data plan to 6GB. It’s actually cheaper just to get the Mobile Hotspot, when you’re comparing roughly the same amounts of data that is. I’m currently using about a GB a month on my 3G only Samsung Moment. Accessing the Internet on a tablet only increases the data usage, therefore 1GB would not be enough. Please, be more realistic in your comparisons.

  15. TIcoGuest 3 years ago

    I will be waiting for the $250 Asus Memo 370T :) There has yet to be a tablet announced to beat the price and specs of this tablets :D

  16. smartymcsmartGuest 3 years ago

    Or just get the $79 unlimited plan, root the phone, tether 4g for free, and ‘F’ The Man.

    Seriously, is it illegal to do this? No. Is it against contract? Yes. Will Sprint find out? Hell no. Is there a moral issue here? Yes, a phone co. that wants you to pay separate bills just to use data on every device you own. It’s like having a landline but being charged for each room you have a phone plugged into.

    Just root people. It only takes a few minutes and 3 braincells.

    …or just pay more. ;-)

  17. me223Guest 3 years ago

    Just root your phone and indulge in free WiFi in your pocket and by the tablet you want

  18. me223Guest 3 years ago

    Also if you root check out the mikmik roms, good stuff

  19. DaveGuest 2 years ago

    Do NOT BUY! This device is absolute crap, and paired with Sprint’s ‘nationwide’ network you can just about forget it. I have 25 (yes twenty-five) of these running as communication/gps-tracking in my trucking company. Worst investment ever. 5 of these are already replaced with refurbished Samsung Galaxy tab(p1000). These ZTE’s are just plauged with problems. All of the units i had to replace either would no longer change or no longer turn on. The ones that still do turn on have absolutely HORRIBLE battery life (about 1-2 hours), and constantly drop service or just lack service access for days. The service issue is ridiculous; I’ll have a truck in any major eastern city (NYC, Philly, Pittsburgh, etc) and the damn thing just will not pick up service, BUT when my guy moves to the middle of nowhere in Mississippi and he’s already at the receiver.. it will finaly pick up service. Forget about the cheap price of these things. The money you save is quickly used buying new chargers or refurb units to replace these.