I’ve been thinking about getting some sort of mobile broadband for a while now. Both as a backup for my home connection and to use out and about. My orginal plan was to upgrading my d420 to a netbook with builtin 3G, particularly the samsung n230 but since it does not look like the 3G version will be out in the Uk anytime soon I’ve just went for a MiFi instead on pay as you go.
So the orginal Three MiFi did sound quite useful but the lack of display and being a little fiddlyly to use put me off. So when I heard about the new version having seemed to address most of these problems, that reingnited my interest with two very positive reviews from Hayles and Ian Betteridge.
I ordered online one evening going though quidco for some cashback (£12 currently on pay as you go) thinking I would put it towards some data allowance. The one minor annoyance I has with Three was only being able to dellivery to the registered address of the credit card used, monday to Friday 8am to 9pm, so I would normally be at work for most of that time. As it happened someone else in my flats was around, so I had the package waiting for me when I got back from Work.
This was painless, the unit is well packaged in a small box about the size of 6 CDs. Inside you get all the normal guide and manuals and the SIM Card plus some very nice little cards explaining how to fit the SIM and battery and charge the device. The charging is over micro USB like many of the latest phones with a short and long cable provided alongside a single port USB power plug.
I had a pleasant surprise ass the unit connected straight away, a quick look at the nicely laided out web console showed the SIM came with 1GB of data to get me started, a nice touch. Changing the SSID and password are all straight toward as was checking the blaance on my three account. Another nice touch is the signal strength and connection icons replicated on the web console.
The OLED display switches off quite quickly with only the power buttons green glow to tell you the unit is active.
At home, I get a nice strong HSPCA signal with about 256K download, so more than enough for twitter,email, rss feeds, even in the evening the speed seemed fine and left troubled with congestion than my main ADSL connection.
On Train, Derby to Nottingham was great, a decent signal all the way, so i was happily browsing a way. Brimingham new street to derby was a little more patchy. Bristol parkway to New Street was mostly no signal except in the main stations along the route. I’m not sure if the train moving quickly upsets the cell hand overs or if they just don’t have very good 3G coverage on that route. As a sidenote, I’d be happy to pay for on Train relible internet access but neither cross country (for Nottingham) or First Great western (for that London) offer this currently. Hopefully this will change soon.
At other times I’ve always got a decent signal, at lunchtimes at work, Bathcamp the other month or just out and about. Having a portable connection has proved very useful, recommended.