Telstra serves up 4G on a platter this holiday season

This week, Telstra has given us a taste of its Christmas line-up, making the high speed service available to as many people across this great nation of ours, whether they’re looking for a first-time smartphone or tablet, or maybe something just a little more premium.

Set to launch from next week, Telstra’s device line-up for the rest of the year includes some interesting gadgets that aim to serve different price points, whether you’re looking for a great value, or

First in the new line-up is a 4G handset that truly fights to be easy on the wallet. While most 4G devices we’ve seen cost at least $500, Telstra’s Frontier 4G is the company’s first inexpensive LTE handset.

The new mobile handset is reasonably up to date, and packs in a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 5 megapixel camera, and a 4 inch touchscreen, managing a $299 price tag in the process.

A reasonably recent version of Android is included, too, with Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) used on this handset, but we’re more impressed with the budget prepaid handset including access to the 4G network, essentially providing speedy performance to customers on a budget.

In the hands, the Frontier a decent feeling handset, with an almost rubberised back and a decent amount of responsiveness. We didn’t get to spend much time with the Frontier, but did run a 4G test and found it received speeds at least in the 10Mbps range, which isn’t shabby at all for something that retails under the $300 mark.

Next up is a device that updates the senior phones from Telstra’s “Easy Discovery” series and aims to bring an easy-to-use touchscreen experience to seniors and first-time buyers of smartphones.

Built to be reasonably durable and Blue Tick certified for use in Australia’s rural regions, the Easy Touch 4G is, as the name says, a 4G smartphone with a 4.3 inch touchscreen, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, 8 megapixel rear camera, and a special custom overlay developed by both Telstra and ZTE to make Google’s OS less fiddly.

“If I had to describe that device, I’d call it ‘My First Smartphone,'” said Andrew Volard, Telstra’s Director of Device Management.

Volard isn’t far off, with a simple lockscreen displaying all of the information you need, and special widgets that allow you to manage wireless connectivity, make phone calls, check messages, and turn the volume up and down with ease.

A brief play with the handset showed it was quite easy to use, but if you’re already comfortable with Android ecosystem and design, it’s at least nice to know that you can switch this overlay off easily.

Telstra’s Easy Touch 4G will be available later this week for $456 RRP outright, with options available on plan.

The company also let us play with the first two Windows Phone 8 devices it will be launching for the holiday season, with Telstra selling the HTC Windows Phone 8X for $696, as well as getting the exclusive on Nokia’s flagship Lumia 920 handset for $696 also, with plans available for each.

Mobile phones aren’t the only 4G devices we’re seeing from Telstra for the holiday season, with a 4G-enabled Android tablet hitting below the $500 tag arriving in stores this week.

While its design echoes more of something we’ve seen from HP’s now defunct TouchPad, Telstra’s 4G Tablet lacks a creative name but manages to include a 10.1 inch 1280×800 HD screen, dual-core processor, 16GB of internal storage, a microSD slot for expanding it, 5 megapixel rear camera, 2 megapixel fornt camera, Android 4.0, and access to 4G connectivity.

The 4G Tablet isn’t really an iPad competitor as such, even falling down to specs offered by Google’s recently announced Nexus 10, but it will offer 4G connections on the go for as low as $480 outright, obviously not including data.

Most of these devices should be in store from this week, though some – like the HTC Windows Phone 8X – won’t hit shelves until December, so look out for them then.