HTC Jetstream Review

Introduction and Design

There is no question about it, but Verizon has been aggressively attacking the 4G LTE market by bringing out a treasure trove of devices while AT&T sits idly as they await their time to throw open the switches. Rather than waiting for the inevitable, AT&T decided to get things started by bringing to market their very first 4G LTE enabled Honeycomb tablet – the HTC Jetstream.  Being HTC’s second tablet after the Flyer, it packs a wallop of dreamy hardware under the hood to complement its ability to surf the web lickity split one day in the future. However, its expensive price point from the onset might seemingly derail its ability to become a successful pioneer for AT&T’s upcoming next-generation data network.

The package contains:

  • HTC Jetstream
  • microUSB cable
  • Wall Charger
  • Quick Start Guide


Following the same design footprint established by the HTC Flyer, the Jetstream looks and feels like a much bigger version of its 7-inch sibling, but it sports a silver and dark grey paint job that’s not bad looking at all! For the most part, it exudes a decent amount of durability thanks to its brushed aluminum casing and soft touch patches in the rear, but strangely, a good tap on the back reveals some hollowness to the tablet. Neither the lightest (25 oz.) or most streamlined tablet on the market (0.51” thick), we’re reminded of the Motorola XOOM’s design since there are some similarities. Is it mesmerizing? Definitely not, but at least it embodies all of the characteristics we normally find with other top-notch HTC products.

Sizing things up with a 10.1” LCD display with a resolution of 1280 x 768 pixels, it’s undoubtedly detailed enough to make out fine text, but it’s actually slightly below the mark of the 1280 x 800 resolution used by other similar sized tablets. Honestly, there’s no cause for alarm, but its color production is a bit bland looking when compared to the delectable palette offered by the Flyer’s display. Despite that, its wide viewing angles enable it to retain its visibility any way you look at it. However, we still find ourselves shielding it outdoors since its brightness output isn’t the strongest.

Unfortunately, we’re more annoyed with the Jetstream’s volume rocker and dedicated power button since they’re just way too easily activated. They’re simply placed squarely in areas where our palms rest on the tablet, thus, accidentally pressing them every now and then.

Perched above the display, we find a front-facing 1.3-megaixel camera with a green LED light next to it that powers on when the camera is activated. Meanwhile, the bottom edge of the tablet houses a microUSB/MHL port that allows the tablet to charge, transfer data, and offer a mirrored experience on a high-definition television when an MHL adapter is used.

In the rear, the 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with dual-LED flash is positioned towards the upper right corner, while the left and right speaker notches are placed near the bottom edge. Removing the plastic panel surrounding the camera is effortless this time around unlike the Flyer, but once it’s off, we gain access to its SIM card and microSD card slots.


For something sporting a mighty 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 1GB of RAM, we’re unimpressed by the tablet’s performance since it isn’t as responsive as we’d like. In fact, it exhibits some choppiness when navigating its homescreen whenever a graphically intensive live wallpaper is used – albeit, it runs significantly better with a static one. Who knows why it’s not as fluid looking, but it can be attributed to something with Sense. Still, we’re finding that usual sluggish operation when using the tablet in portrait as well, but it’s only evident when perusing the homescreen. Granted that there are some nagging issues with its operation, it’s able to execute other tasks like running apps with no problems at all. Sure it might have some bulging muscles, but its performance fails to impress the ladies.

Some people were disappointed to find Gingerbread with the HTC Flyer, but since then, we’ve been curious to see what HTC would do to spruce things up with Honeycomb. They essentially ported the Sense UI experience for tablets found on the Flyer to the Honeycomb found on the Jetstream – and that’s it! As much as we adore Sense’s usefulness in offering a complete and engaging experience, we’re bummed to see it sporting more of a conventional look as opposed to the futuristic one found with stock Honeycomb. Gone are the glowing edges and borders, and instead, we find the usual colorful and large sized widgets that are dearly associated with the Sense experience we know and love. However, there are some subtle difference littered throughout the interface – like the fonts and arrangement of the notifications panel.

With the HTC Flyer, we were treated with widgets that encompassed the entire size of a single homescreen. This time around with the Jetstream, they’re broken down so that two HTC widgets occupy a single homescreen – with enough space to add in other tiny widgets or shortcuts. If there’s one thing we adore about the Sense experience on the Jetstream, it has to be that it retains all of the lovely 3D and transition effects; such as the nifty 3D carousel effect when sliding your finger across the homescreen very quickly. Additionally, there’s less of a requirement to launch dedicated apps since widgets are super useful with their basic functionality.

Organizer and Messaging:

Nope, there’s absolutely nothing new with the Jetstream’s set of core organizer apps since they’re the same ones found with the Flyer. With things like the Calendar app, it utilizes a familiar two-panel scheme in landscape that’s commonly employed by many tablets – and of course, it effectively works! Being Android and all, we’re greeted with the usual set of features with the calendar; like the ability to sync calendars. Meanwhile, the Clock app has one tremendous overhaul with its presentation over previous versions of Sense since it carries along the desk clock, world clock, alarms, stopwatch, and timer.

Just like the HTC Flyer, the Jetstream also supports the HTC Scribe Pen, which turns the 10.1” tablet into an easy to use notepad. Using the stylus in conjunction with the Notes app, you’ll be able to use its Scribe technology to draw, scribble, write, and quickly edit notes. Call it unfortunate, but you’ll need to purchase the HTC Scribe Pen separately.

When it comes to inputting text, your only option with the HTC Jetstream is the Sense keyboard – and nothing else. At its core, it’s absolutely a joy to use since it offers a sensibly sized layout and the convenience of inputting other characters by simply executing a long press on specific keys. And obviously, it helps that it’s more than responsive to keep up with our speedy fingers. In portrait, the only difference is that we’re given access to an additional row dedicated for numbers, which reduces the amount of time of having to move outside the usual layout.

Being Honeycomb and all, the email experience is top-notch with both the Gmail and HTC Mail apps. In fact, both utilize that familiar two-panel layout that we’re so accustomed to seeing with most core apps. And once again, their respective widgets enable us to preview messages while staying put on the homescreen. When it comes to setup, it’s almost automatic for most generic accounts by providing none other than our email addresses and passwords. Yet, there are certain ones that require additional pieces of information, like server addresses and ports, to properly set up.

Internet and Connectivity:

Having support for AT&T’s eventual 4G LTE network, the HTC Jetstream should obviously provide some wickedly fast data speeds. But in our testing, we simply used it as a Wi-Fi connected tablet. Interestingly, the web browser’s appearance is different from the normal stock one since executing a slide down gesture from the top bezel uncovers the open and available browser tabs. As for the actual performance, it’s pretty good as it perfectly renders complex sites, but there’s some evidence of choppiness with sites that are heavily drenched with Flash content. Frankly, it’s rather perplexing after taking into account the processor it’s packing, but other navigational controls are gladly more responsive.

Without question, the Jetstream’s 4G LTE connectivity is by far its biggest attraction, but sadly enough, we’re unable to even experience a sampling of it since the network has yet to official launch. Instead, you’ll be kicking things back with HSPA+ speeds “with enhanced backhaul” in the meantime. Moreover, it packs the usual suspect of other connectivity items like Bluetooth 3.0, aGPS, and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi.


Running the camera app, the interface is fairly unchanged from what we see in use with HTC’s Android smartphones, but there are some neat looking effects that you can overlay to give some shots a novel look. Plus, we’re presented with the same level of manual controls and settings that should appease some photo hungry individuals out there.

Continuing to show that it’s packing some serious hardware, the HTC Jetstream is blessed with an 8-megapixel sensor in the rear with dual-LED flash. Surely it’s up there in terms of megapixel count, but it’s only able to take some average looking shots – those of which are good enough for 4” x 6” printouts. With outdoor shots, they’re sharp looking with their neutral color tones, but fine details are a bit soft in tone. Conversely, indoor shots under minimal lighting suffer from excessive levels of graininess and digital noise. However, the dual-LED flash is remarkably potent as it’s able to cast enough light to brighten up the scenery.

Similar to the results with still images, the Jetstream’s 1080p high-definition video recording is average at best with its production. Obviously, outdoor capture fares much better with its fluid capture rate of 30 frames per second and clear audio recording. However, details are still a bit of an issue with the Jetstream since it’s on the muddy side. And you might want to reconsider shooting things in poor lighting since videos are reduced in quality due to evidence of artifacting, noise, and a sluggish capture of 20 frames per second.

HTC Jetstream Sample Video:


Gone is the alluring looking stock Honeycomb music player, and instead, the Jetstream features the same one featured in the Flyer. Rather than pressing the forward or reverse buttons to change tracks, you can actually execute a swipe gesture on the album cover to switch songs – and it does it effortlessly. Not only are we presented with a mini-player within the notifications panel, but we absolutely find another one on the lock screen to be tastefully acceptable. Enabling SRS enhancement, audio quality is robust and powerful with its speakers, and on top of that, there are a variety of equalizer settings available when you connect a pair of headphones.

Easily considered a beast with its dual-core processor, the HTC Jetstream doesn’t flinch for a moment when playing back a movie trailer encoded in MPEG-4 1920 x 1080 resolution. Keeping our eyes entertained by its rich visuals and buttery smooth playback, there’s no doubt that it’s the perfect companion to keep you preoccupied during lengthy trips.

Not everyone might know about it, but the HTC Jetstream is still capable of offering a mirrored experience thanks to its MHL port – however, you’ll need to supply yourself with an adapter since one is not included. Of course, some will complain about that omission, but it’s nevertheless still an appreciable feature that enables us to quickly share content.

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Boasting 32GB  of internal memory, which is broken down to 16GB for apps and the other 16GB for everything else, it’s more than sufficient for anyone out there. Nonetheless, you can still push it up by adding cards up to 32GB in capacity into its unoccupied microSD card slot.


After seeing the vociferous appetites of current 4G LTE enabled smartphones, it’s really intriguing to see how the HTC Jetstream will perform with its massive 7,300 mAh battery. However, in our testing, we disabled its cellular connection and strictly used it strictly as a Wi-Fi only tablet. Essentially, we placed it on auto-brightness and used the Jetstream primarily for web browsing and emailing. After the first day, we were left with a battery tank at 48% capacity, which is a pretty good mark. Frankly, we’re rather impressed with its performance since it’s almost able to get 2 days of battery life on normal usage, although it will last less with the 3G/4G module enabled.


Try as hard as we can, there’s absolutely no hiding the fact that the HTC Jetstream is handicapped by its exorbitant price point – just like some of the other available cellular connected tablets on the market. Sure it’s able to differentiate itself from the pack, by offering a customized Android experience with Sense, the usefulness of HTC Scribe technology, and eventual 4G LTE connectivity, but there’s nothing else too compelling about it to take on the juggernauts in the tablet space. Even more, we’re undeniably perplexed to see some noticeable evidence of choppiness with its operation – despite packing a respectable 1.5GHz dual-core CPU. For $849.99 outright or $699.99 on-contract, it’s very hard to make a justifiable decision to pick up the Jetstream since the comparable LTE enabled Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is priced modestly at $629.99.

Software version of the reviewed unit:
Android version:  3.1
HTC Sense version: 1.1 for Tablet
Software number: 1.17.502.3
Kernel version:
Build number: 1.17.502.3

HTC Jetstream Video Review:


  • Solid Construction
  • Enabled for 4G LTE connectivity
  • Great battery life


  • Really expensive
  • Choppy performance
  • It is thick

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