Thursday, December 16, 2010

Review - 3 Wireless Modem

Last weekend I purchased a pay as you go, wireless modem, on the 3 network.

I have been looking at these for a while; especially as I have a Wi-Fi only iPad, so this would be ideal for accessing the internet whilst away from such networks.  It also means that the iPods and Nintendo DSi devices could also connect.

Other reviews I have read have been mixed, mainly good, but some terrible customer service issues.  Then, Threes' customer service has always left a little to be desired.  Because of this I was a little doubtful, however, I parted with the cash and this is what I found.

The 3 wireless modem is supplied by Huawei (it's the E585) and is a neat, small, device, with only one control - the on/off button.  Also supplied in the box is a battery, a mains charger and a couple of USB leads.
The other pack, supplied at purchase, is a 3G SIM card.

There was a little power when I first put the battery in, and once the SIM card was inserted, I had to see how easy it was to set up.

This was very simple.

Once switched on, a number of icons are presented on the screen.
  • The signal strength
  • The network speed (either 3G or the faster HSDPA)
  • The number of connected devices - it's capable of handling up to 5 devices; but this will impair the performance
  • Internet Connection - proving that the modem is connected
  • SMS inbox - shows if there are any unread messages
  • Battery Charge indicator
  • Data used - this only shows for the current session
  • Connection time - again, only for the current session
  • International roaming - displays when the modem is used outside of the Three network.
That's it.  Nothing else; and quite frankly, there's nothing more needed.

So - I switched on my iPad; and it found the Three modem immediately. I entered in the supplied key-code and away it went.  Easy.

To make management of the airtime easier; Three have provided a dashboard where you can change the SSID, your password, and text messages sent and received to this SIM card (it is a mobile phone number, after all).

I bought the 3 month pre-paid package; which gives me 3Gb of data over 3 months.  After that, it's £10 for a month (with 1Gb of data).  Since it's not a contract, if I don't want to top-up, I don't need to.

The download speeds can't be compared to that from a home Wi-Fi network; but as something to use when out and about, when I need something bigger than my BlackBerry, then this is an ideal solution.

Thankfully, I haven't experienced any of the issues other people have written about; and fingers crossed, I won't.

If you've used one of these mobile wi-fi (mi-fi) devices, what do you think?

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