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I used to have a traditional USB dongle from 3 to connect up to the internet while travelling. As a loyal mobile phone customer, they offered me a deal where I could switch over onto this wireless modem very easily. I jumped at the chance, because I have lots of devices (iPad, iPhone, and laptop) which I need to get access to the internet on.
WHAT IS IT?
Three UK have a service called MiFi which is part of your mobile broadband contract. With this product, you can set up your own personal WiFi Hotspot. Now recently there have been more and more public hotspots, but when I bought this there weren't as many in my area. You can connect five devices up to it, so is also suitable for going out with the family.
The item is about the size of a credit card and is only a centimetre or so thick. Mine is in an obsidian black colour, but I believe white is available also. The device is very simple with a slot for your SIM card as well as an LED Display on the top. The display is extremely useful as it tells you if there is signal, what level of battery is left in the unit (it can be mains powered too) and how long you have been online, including the data usage you have incurred.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
You place your Micro SIM card which you receive as part of your mobile internet contract into the device and this gives you the access to the network. Coverage is also very good with 3.
You can charge up your Modem and then carry it around without the need to have any bulky leads or chargers with you. The full charge gives around 5 hours usage when two devices are connected, and then battery life decreases as the number of devices increases. (Inversely proportional for the mathematicians out there!!)
To access the internet, you go about the normal procedure of connecting to a network. On the back of the modem the name of your network and the password is printed. Quite honestly, it couldn't be easier!
COSTS / CONCLUSION
The router can be purchased on a pay as you go basis for around £80, and then you pay a particular rate for access. Alternatively you can get Pay Monthly deals where the modem is either free or has a nominal cost. For me, on a loyalty deal, I get 5GB data per month for £15, where the modem was free.
I think it is a great device, and considering it costs just a few pounds more that the USB Standard dongle, it definitely is worth it, because you can connect multiple devices.
I picked this up a couple of years ago, free on a 18 month contract from 3 (only £7pm for 1gb of data), a couple of years ago when I was a heavy iPad user.
I had a WiFi only iPad and I found the fact I had to hunt for a WiFi connection - ideally a free one, a bit of a chore after a while. It seems like when you don't want to find a connection all your device will do its try and connect to 100 WiFi spots at once, but when you do need one they are impossible to fine.
I found out about this simply by seeing it in the window of a local 3 shop, went in asked some questions and it seemed like the product I was looking for - and it was. It never left my side as long as either my iPhone or iPad were with my.
This product works in a really simple way - it creates a WiFi hotspot around the device and upto a reasonable distance - 20-30 feet, and upto 5 devices can connect to the device and take advantage of connectivity. Its stated that it is capable of reaching speeds of upto 7.2mps, but you will never get this - your more likely looking at 50-100kps, occasional more if you are lucky. Security wise, to connect a device to the hotspot you must enter the passcode which is printed on the inside of the back cover of the unit. Its really easy to open, unlike lots of smartphones these days that require a lot of patience and fiddling around to get the battery cover off.
As I mentioned, the speeds this thing are capable of are not what you would get on your home broadband - but I found them adequate. I used the device mainly for enabling me to listen to online radio and watch Youtube clips when I was out and about and it handled this fine. I very rarely lost connection and everything I wanted to play played pretty smooth - the occasional buffering that you would expect but nothing too frustrating.
The one real flaw of the device is rather than have a brilliant battery life, its is only fairly average - at around 5 hours when being used and about 24 hours of standby. Now, 5 hours might seem like more than enough time connected to the internet - but as I was streaming internet radio on it whilst working 10-12 hour shifts I needed to ensure it was plugged in at all times. On the odd occasion I needed it on the move, for train journey etc - it usually proved sufficient but I was always keeping an eye on the battery level. I think the problem here is that it has a smaller life than the devices your using it with - smartphones or iPads - that can go much longer without charge.
A hand feature of the device is that it has a small screen on the front that shows how much data it has used since it has been switched on (as well as battery life, how many devices are connected and its connectivity status) so if you are concerned about exceeding your allowance you can keep an eye on it. The unit is charged by a mini USB charger, similar to most smart phones these day - which to my mind is great - I found that most of my phones and devices have either had mini USB or Apple Chargers meaning there is always an abundance around the house.
Its a durable, small (pocket sized) device - I dropped it many times and its still fine, and you can easily store it on your person when out an about, with it emitting a signal. It doesn't need to be set on a table or anything.
I would reccoemnd this to iPad users who don't have 3g iPads, but also people who are heavy mobile data users. Its a more cost effects way to consume data (I now pay £7 for a gig, but I was paying £17 for 15g) and its generally faster than the 3g most smartphones come with. Its a product that I have got a lot more use from than I expected and has come in much more handier than I thought it would
I have had this little marvel from the start of the year. Was a free upgrade from my USB modem from "3". It can be bought these days for less than £50.
I left it in the drawer for over a month without realising it's potential. Then when I saw a friend using it I took it out and use it now pretty much everywhere while on the move.
I connect 2 netbooks and my son's ipod to it as well. It is blazing fast I have had skype video chat with someone on the other side of the world while my wife was driving at over 70 miles an hour... Better than that I have had a facetime call my son's ipod in HD quality again on the move.
The battery life is excellent on a full charge it lasts more than 5 hours. Also the battery can be kept charged in car with a run of the mill usb power outlet and a mini usb cable.
Mine is locked to three but there are others that are unlocked and can take any sim card - just take out your sim card form your old usb modem and slide it in - thereby sharing your internet connection - and yes it does have a password so any evesdroppers can be shut out!!
Awesome piece of kit.
I have to admit I was a bit put off by the Huawei brand as I have a Huawei 7002 mobile phone which isn't really all that great but when I started using the 'MiFi' (personal WiFi for up to 5 people) with 3 Mobile then I realised that when they put their minds to it they can really make some great kit!
The E585 is a WiFi modem for home use which can be used by any WiFi enabled device including iPad and Blackberry. It costs around £70 but if you shop around you can get a decent enough deal via the web or 3 direct, it depends on how long you have been a customer in some cases. You get a wall charger with the unit which is small and like a pebble, it is black and fits in the palm of your hand. You get 2 USB cables a long one and a short one and a smallish instruction manual.
It's very easy to use - once initial setup is out of the way you can turn it on and in less than a minute be surfing the web. It's certainly the fastest mobile broadband I have ever used. It means my non 3G iPad can be used outside of my home - saving me a fortune on upgrade costs - and means I can share locally information with my friends too.
I would give this 10/10 for ease of use and versatility. Despite my initial reservations on the make this has proven to be a worthwhile, sturdy little bit of kit that now I have started using I simply could not be without. I recommend it 100% as it has never let me down!
I had been accessing 3 mobile broadband for a year using a dongle. However, I encountered 2 major problems, only one computer could the interent at a time and the connection was often very poor. I went to my local 3 store on the off-chance that might have something that could allow wireless connection so multiple devices could use the internet and even speed up my connection. I found the solution to both my problems in the little beauty! 3 market this idea as 'Mifi' - a wireless signal (Wifi) that works on a personal basis. Only 5 devices can use it at once, so perfect for most households or a small business, but clearly not for bigger establishments.
On first appearances, it is a very attractive product and fits in with the sleek designs that are very fashionable with technology products. it is very portable and can fit in the palm of your hand or be discretely slipped in a pocket. The only button is a power button, and a clear display that shows the connection status, the type of signal, how many devices are connected and the data usage.
Installation is so straight forward. Insert the SIM card (I inserted the SIM card from my dongle, but it does come with a SIM card that you can set up in store with the type of contract you would like) and then insert the battery. These both fit in underneath, very much like the battery and SIM of a mobile phone. The first time using the device requires that you plug in it's charger before powering up. When the device is fully charged, I can get about 8 hours completely wireless use (meaning I can take the modem out and about and get wireless internet anywhere!) but it can be used whilst charging too.
Connecting your computer/device to the internet works in the same way as connecting to a router. Search for the network and type in the security passkey. There is a card in the box that will tell you the network name to look out for and the passkey to use.
Now I can get the most of of my 15GB internet allowance: both the laptops, and the PS3 can connect completely wirelessly, without an unsightly dongle sticking out the side, and the speed now rivals that of any wireless broadband arrangement...or maybe the connection speeds for 3 have generally improved in my are at the same time by coincidence!
Bought on a pay as you go basis (so that I could get the device without a contract as I already had one) I paid £69.99...seemed like a lot at the time but it has solved all my internet problems so worthwhile in my opinion. I am also aware that it can be bought for less from online retail places like amazon.
Overall I am so pleased with this product. the little faith I had in 3 before has been completely restored.