Is the T-Hub 2 enough to keep you with Telstra?

Telstra's T-Hub 2.
Telstra's T-Hub 2.

Will a fancy home phone stop people ditching the Big T?

Telstra has been pushing its T-Gadgets pretty hard over the last few years, such as the T-Box media player, T-Hub home phone and T-Touch Tab tablet. The reason for this push is that Telstra can see trouble on the horizon in the form of the National Broadband Network. The NBN is going to create what Telstra has fought tooth-and-nail to avoid; a level playing field. Without control of the pipes, Telstra's new plan is to lock customers in with Telstra-only gadgets before the NBN brings true competition to their door.

While the T-Box has its merits, the original T-Touch Tab and T-Hub phone were woeful. The T-Hub was basically a DECT cordless handset accompanied by a 7-inch touchscreen tablet running custom software with a handful of Telstra-centric apps. It was designed to play three key roles; act as a touchscreen interface for your home phone and voicemail, offer access to the web and online Telstra services, and finally play your music, video and photo files along with internet radio. It's useless if you're not a Bigpond and Telstra home phone customer.

Of the T-Hub's main functions, only the home phone integration was worth getting excited about. Apart from that it was a steaming pile. Meanwhile the awful T-Touch Android tablet was a clunky piece of junk with no redeeming features at all. It was little surprise that Telstra scrapped the T-Touch Tab after 12 months. Despite this, Telstra has decided to marry the T-Hub with the T-Touch Tab to create the new Android-powered T-Hub 2. If you're unlucky enough to own a T-Hub 1 you can get a T-Hub 2 half-price, but you still have to paying off the original T-Hub.

So what's new about the T-Hub 2? Basically the tablet has undergone a complete overhaul. It now runs Android 2.3 with extra grunt under the bonnet, offering access to the Google Play apps store. You'll also find front and rear cameras along with connectors such as micro-USB and micro-HDMI. It still requires a Bigpond internet connection along with a Telstra full service home phone.

The T-Hub 2 costs $360, or you can pay it off on your phone bill. But the real price is that you're now stuck with Telstra and stuck paying for a home phone line whether you want it or not. Even when the NBN reaches your door, Telstra insists you have to keep your copper phone line if you want to be a Bigpond NBN customer on the fibre network.

Once again the T-Hub 2's integration with your home phone for making calls and checking voicemail is the only reason why you'd consider paying for it instead of buying a standalone tablet. For only a few dollars more than the T-Hub 2 you can pick up a Wi-Fi-only iPad 2. If you're an Android fan, you'll find the impression new Nexus 7 tablet for less than the T-Hub 2. It runs Android 4.1, has a sharper displayand packs plenty of extra grunt. The Nexus 7 shows up how out-of-date the T-Hub 2 tablet really is. Best of all, it doesn't lock you in to paying for a Telstra home phone.

Whether you're tech-savvy or not, there's no reason to sell your soul to Telstra just to get a tablet on your coffee table.

This story Is the T-Hub 2 enough to keep you with Telstra? first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.