Fri, 23 Dec 2011 MiFi E586 review
UK’s first mobile WiFi device with HSPA+ technology
- Manufacturer: 3
- Manufacturer: 3
- Pros: WiFi hotspot for up to five devices; plug and play setup; choice of payment plans; password-protection; attractive design
- Cons: Significant percentage of Three network not yet HSPA+; expensive option compared to fixed line broadband; USB dock connection poor
- Price: PAYG from £94.99; monthly from £10.97
- Star rating:
The Huawei MiFi E586 from Three is billed as the first mobile WiFi device in the UK to feature next-generation HSPA+ mobile broadband technology. According to independent tests carried out by price comparison site uSwitch, the MiFi E586 is up to 50 per cent faster than previous models, with download speeds as fast as 21.6Mbps.
That said, mobile broadband speeds haven’t been great for many users and Three has yet to fully roll out the HSPA+ technology across the UK. Despite the frustrations of mobile broadband, the MiFi is easy to set up. The unit clicks open to install both battery and SIM card, after which you require two supplied password codes – the SSID and WiFi key – to be up and running. The device gives users the ability to connect up to five devices – including iPhones, iPads and iPod touches – to the internet by creating a personal WiFi hotspot. In practice it works well, giving consistent performance in central London, as you might expect, with web pages loading and video playing just fine.
Even with the provided charging dock or cradle, the MiFi is lightweight and portable enough not to be a burden on your travels, although the addition of a carry bag or pouch is necessary to help protect your investment.
The wireless modem comes with a small, clear OLED display. A neat but tricky to remove microSD card slot supports up to 32GB of storage. The display shows the amount of data used, speed of connection and length of browsing time, particularly important if you’re on a Pay As You Go contract. The actual dock connection – a micro-USB port – is disappointing and feels fragile, like it might snap off with not too much wear and tear, an issue the makers need to address. The MiFi can be charged either from your computer or the mains and promises up to 4.5 hours of battery life, which we believe is a fair estimate.
Connect up to five WiFi-enabled devices at once with Three’s neat and portable MiFi