Right on schedule, US Cellular has just released its first LTE-capable device, the venerable Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. This tablet has been a long time coming: we first heard of US Cellular's plans to launch an LTE tablet in March and its first LTE smartphone back in January. Spec-wise, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 appears just the same as it did back when we reviewed it back in June of last year — it has the same 10.1-inch display, 1280 x 800 resolution, and dual-core Tegra 2 processor. Unsurprisingly, (but still disappointingly), it's running Honeycomb, and there's no word on if or when it might be updated to Android 4.0.
While we have no beef with the hardware, US Cellular's pricing is a bit complicated and just plain expensive. First off, there are only two data plans available: $14.99 gets you 200MB per month, while the next step up is $54.99, 5GB plan. There's nothing in between, unlike what Verizon and AT&T offer their tablet users. Unfortunately, you'll need to sign up for one of these plans for two years, and then you'll still pay $499 for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (after a $100 mail-in rebate, which comes as a Mastercard debit card) if you pick the 5GB plan — you'll pay an extra $100 if you choose the 200MB option.
There's a bit of good news, though: those who live in US Cellular's LTE coverage area will get another $100 off. This means you could conceivably get the tablet for $399 — provided you live within the carrier's LTE coverage area (or a planned coverage area for 2012) and you sign up for the 5GB data plan. While the initial price may be cheaper than an iPad, being saddled with a two-year data plan makes it hard to recommend this device, unless you really need a tablet that works on US Cellular's network.