EE Eagle – is this £199 4G tablet a good deal?

EE really wants you to sign up for 4G. So much so that it has launched its first own-brand tablet, the EE Eagle. A repackaged edition of last year’s Huawei MediaPad M1, the 8-inch tablet features a 1280 x 800 screen, 16GB internal storage and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. But the feature that EE really hopes will lift the Eagle from their shelves into your trolley is 4G compatibility.

Is that enough to justify its asking price of £199? We took a first look at the EE Eagle to judge for ourselves.

Tablet reviews – our test lab verdict on all the latest devices

EE Eagle – three key features

4G compatible – if superfast mobile internet is something you need, on a bigger screen than your smartphone, then EE’s Eagle is here to help. Unlike the iPad Air or Nexus 7, you’ll only to have the choice of one network when getting this tablet on contract. That’s EE, of course, meaning you won’t be able to shop around for more competitive deal.

A respectable screen – the Eagle’s screen has a 1280 x 800 resolution, which is better than Apple’s original iPad mini but not as good as the 1,400 x 900 offered by Tesco’s Hudl. It’s also significantly inferior to the Nexus 7’s 1920 × 1200 touchscreen, which dazzles when playing the latest blockbusters. So, although the Eagle has a high-definition display, it won’t have the same wow factor as other tablets – even cheaper tablets – when playing video.

Powerful processor – impressively, the Eagle packs a 1.6GHz quad-core processor, meaning it’s well suited to all your app multitasking needs. You shouldn’t have to worry about slowdown when switching between BBC iPlayer and Gmail or using any of the latest apps.

Which? Expert Verdict – ‘4G? I’d rather have a wi-fi only Hudl’

Rob Leedham profile imageSince the Tesco Hudl flew off supermarket shelves last Christmas, everyone wants a piece of the budget tablet pie. Both Vodafone and EE have launched their own tablets today, and you can expect O2 and Three to follow suit before Santa Claus rides into town this December. Why? They’re an easy way to tie customers into a contract.

What’s good for your mobile provider, isn’t necessarily good for you though. The Smart Tab 4 from Vodaphone looks pretty low rent on first impressions, offering little in the way of value despite its £125 price tag. Thanks to its 4G compatibility and speedy processor, the EE Eagle is a better proposition, but I’d still rather get a Nexus 7 or Hudl.

Although the Eagle is reasonably priced on a SIM-free deal of £199, EE will be encouraging customers to get in on a contract when it launches on May 28. That’s an expensive business with 2GB data costing £50 on a pay-monthly plan. You could choose to get less data with your Eagle, but then you’re going to miss out on the best of 4G when streaming video and downloading bumper-sized apps on the move.

Most importantly, you don’t really need 4G on a tablet. For the majority of tablet users a wi-fi connection is all they need. Video streaming wherever you are on a big tablet screen sounds great in theory. In practice, it’s an expensive luxury.

Rob Leedham – Senior Researcher

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Categories: Tablets

7 replies

  1. Why are the “experts” still extolling the virtues of the gulf when there have been so many on going problems with it. See Which blog thread! These issues should at least be mentioned when comparing tablets. Have Which got an interest in Hudl?

  2. When I used to use 3G mobile broadband as my only home interrnet connection, I could easily use up to about 2GB of data each month. Hence, as noted by Rob, it is hard to see how to really benefit from 4G without potentially using a lot more data than that.

    For a lot of users, having a 4G smart phone with a tethering contract might be much more versatile. Any old wifi tablet or laptop could then be used to extend the capabilities of the smart phone.

  3. Hang on, your pricing is WAY out!

    A quick trip to EE’s website shows options including £20 -a-month with 10 gb of data, or £15 -a-month with 2 gb.

    That’s a massive discrepancy from £50 –a-month for 2 gb in your review!

  4. I am writing this comment from an we eagle and am happy to day that it is everything I wanted. £50 a month is a lot of rubbish!!! I am paying £20 for 18 months and getting 10gb of data. Well worth the money

  5. I have just picked up my EE Eagle and am well impressed with the performance and ease of use, as to the cost I am paying £15 for 2gb, if I think I am going to exceed that I only have to call and change my tariff to £20 for 10gb. Glad I signed up before I read what the experts think !!!!!!!.

  6. I have an Ipad 2 with 3G and this is also used to watch SkyGo. What I have noticed is that if you use 4g to watch SkyGo the picture stays stable longer and is better in graphics so saying you don’t need 4g is an understatement in my view. It mainly depends on what you use your tablet for and mine is for weekend sport live football as well as for using the Internet to buy things. Paying the extra for a 4g tablet is far better than using a 3G for live sport. As for my Iphone it’s already got 4g on it but the screen is too small to watch football for long periods so my next tablet will be 4g as long as SkyGo can be used on it. Remember that if your watching your favorite team playing football and the picture then keeps stopping and going out of focus you’ll end up throwing your tablet in the bin.

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