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Get ready for 4G in the UK: Four devices you can buy right now

After a long wait, 4G is finally around the corner in the UK — but it's hard to find handsets that use the UK's particular LTE spectrum. Here's a bunch you can buy to be ready for T-Mobile and Orange's 1800MHz switch-on.
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Topic: Mobility
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1 of 5 Ben Woods/ZDNet

Now that Everything Everywhere has been given the go-ahead to start offering 4G in the UK after 11 September, it's a good time to look at which devices will work with the service from launch.

Undoubtedly, the operator will be lining up devices to lure customers into signing up for 4G once the service goes live on its Orange and T-Mobile networks. At this point, though, the company isn't saying what those handsets and tablets will be.

Still, some people will need to buy a new handset before the LTE service arrives and won't want to have to get another in quick succession. So if you're happy to go pay-as-you-go, what devices are around now that will work on Everything Everywhere's 4G?

Most countries and devices use a different band of spectrum for 4G to the 1800MHz being used by Everything Everywhere — Apple's new iPad, for example, doesn't work on it right now. But there are a few handsets knocking around that support 4G in the UK band. And while they aren't generally offered on sale in Blighty, that doesn't mean you can't get them. Read on to see four devices that will do the trick.

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2 of 5 HTC

The HTC One XL, like all the devices on this list, has never been sold in the UK via the usual channels. However, it is available from some online retailers.

The handset is the only one of the bunch that runs the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android; it also comes with 16GB of internal storage and a 4.7-inch (1280 x 720 pixel) display. Under the bonnet there is a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 1GB RAM. It has an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel forward facing camera for stills or video calling.

More importantly, the handset's 4G LTE functionality is based in the 1800MHz and 2.6GHz bands, both of which will be used for 4G in the UK.

The phone measures 134.8 x 69.9 x 8.9 mm, weighs 129 grams with the battery in, and is available to buy SIM-free for £399.

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3 of 5 Samsung

While the Samsung Galaxy S3 is happily selling by the truckload at the moment, you'll struggle to find a 4G LTE variant. Fortunately, if you look hard enough, you can get your hands on a 4G version of its predecessor, the S II LTE 9210.

Key specs are a 4.5-inch Super Amoled Plus screen (800 x 480 pixels), 8-megapixel camera and 16GB of internal storage. It also has a 2-megapixel forward-facing camera, and it will support microSD cards up to 32GB. 

Perhaps the weakest part of this handset's spec list is the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system.

Connectivity wise, it comes with the smartphone staples of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and will support LTE networks in the 800Mhz, 1800MHz and 2.6GHz bands — all of which will eventually be used for 4G in the UK.

Admittedly, these phones are tricky to track down from UK-based sellers, though models can be picked up from locals on eBay. However, if importing from abroad doesn't faze you, the SII LTE I9210 could still be an option — there are sites that price in pounds but ship from overseas. We found one on sale at £410.

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4 of 5 LG

Next up is the LG Optimus True HD P936, which was originally targeted at the Far East but has since been confirmed to be heading for some European countries — but, alas, not the UK.

However, a quick search of eBay will usually track one down, even if it needs to be imported from a seller in Hong Kong (we found one priced at £319 including shipping). Alternatively, there are online retailers that will import it, if you don't like the eBay route.

Like the SII LTE, the weakest part of the LG's spec list is the Android 2.3 OS. That said, it will work with the 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2.6GHz LTE bands.

Other specs include a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, a 4.5-inch 1280 x 720 pixel IPS display and 4GB of internal storage. It has support for microSD cards up to 32GB.

The device measures 132.9 x 67.9 x 10.4 mm and weighs in at 135g. It is available to buy online for around £500.

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5 of 5 Samsung

Of course, if you're more interested in a 4G tablet there are options (but not the new iPad, if you want it to work on the UK's networks).

The Galaxy Tab 8.9 P7320 4G LTE will do the job as it works on the 800Mhz, 1800Mhz and 2.6GHz bands.

The tablet has an 8.9-inch 1280 x 800 pixel display, as well as 16GB of internal storage and a 1.5GHz dual-core processor. Sadly, it uses the Honeycomb (3.2) version of Android rather than the newer Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean builds.

Other specs include a 3-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.

The tablet is available for delivery in the UK from a range of online sellers — including Amazon Marketplace — with prices ranging from £294 to £628.

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