We got some hands-on time with the just-announced Pantech Element tablet for AT&T here at CES 2012. The Element is a unique Android tablet that features an 8-inch display and waterproof construction.

Oh, where to start. There are a lot of cool, different things to like about the Pantech Element. For starters, I really like the size and more square'ish aspect ratio of the 8-inch, 1024 x 768 pixel touchscreen display. It offers an obviously larger amount of screen real estate than competing 7-inch tablets, but is still worlds easier to handle than the 10-inch monsters we see all the time. I like that.

I also like the fact that this low-cost, LTE tablet comes with a solid performing dual-core, 1.5GHz processor. In my quick test runs on the tablet, everything performed very smoothly. I didn't have access to data, though, so I can't say how well it performs when it comes to download speeds. I can say that you can spill your drink on it with no ill effects, though, since it is fully water-proof for up to 30 minutes in 3 feet of water. I don't really see people taking tablets out in the rain often, but it's nice to know that it's perfectly safe on your desk. Coffee be damned.

AT&T will offer the Pantech Element on January 22 for $299 with a new two-year data plan commitment. For a limited time, buyers can get the Element along with the Pantech Burst smartphone in a bundle for $249.99.