Thu, 20 May 2010 3 MiFi review
3 MiFi Huawei E5830 enables you to create your own WiFi network and walk around with it; the perfect accessory for your iPad?
- Manufacturer: 3
- Pros: Saves you taking out multiple contracts; cheaper than upgrading to a 3G-enabled iPad; enables you to share your data connection between multiple devices and users.
- Cons: Requires you to carry around and charge up a separate device; supplied software is Windows-only
- £49 (Pay As You Go)
- £39 (Pay Monthly); Free on contract
- Star rating:
The 3 MiFi is a neat concept that's taken on prominence in the Apple world ever since the iPad launched. The concept is fairly simple, it's a 3G dongle that creates a mobile Internet connection; but rather than connecting directly to your laptop, it creates its own WiFi hotspot that you log on to. Switch on the MiFi and pop it in your pocket and you have your own personal WiFi network, that comes around with you. It's perfect for getting your MacBook, iPod touch, and – and here's where it gets interesting – iPad WiFi online.
Because the iPad WiFi model went on sale in the US almost three months before the 3G model arrived in the UK, there a lot of iPad Wifi models that have been imported into the UK. This 3 MiFi is a means of turning an iPad WiFi into an iPad 3G. Even if you didn't pick up an iPad WiFi, the MiFi dongle is cheaper than the £100 premium you have to pay to upgrade from a WiFi iPad to a WiFi + 3G model, and the data deals are comparable. On top of that you can also use the device with your MacBook, and iPod touch, or any other device you might want to take online.
You can take out a rolling monthly contract that offers 5GB per month for £15, both Orange and O2 are only offering 3GB for the same amount; and Vodafone is charging £25 per month for 5GB of data.
If you take out an 18 month contract, you can get 1GB for £9.50 or 15GB for £22 per month.
There is also a Pay As You Go plan whereby you pay a fairly hefty 30p per Mb (pretty stingy compared to O2's 5p per MB).The idea with Pay As You Go is to load up your account with cash, and then purchase add-on plans from the 3 Web site that offer 1GB, 3GB and 7GB blocks for £10, £15, and £25 respectively. Any data you use over this amount is charged at 30p per GB. The key advantage with Pay as you Go is that you can't go over an allotted limit, spending cash you don't have.
Like the iPad deals, the data has to be used within 30 days, which is something of a disappointment. And while the 1GB and 3GB deals match the O2 pricing, and the 7GB for £25 is actually a worse deal than the 10GB for £25 offered by Orange.
Although you save £50 or more by going down the MiFi route, we were rather hoping for a better data deals once we got out of the Apple ecosystem, but it would appear that the iPad data plans (with the exception of Vodafone) are competitive in the market.
Fri, 21 May 2010Reviewed by: Xhris2210
Duration of ownership: 10 weeks
Strengths: Flexible; works with all WiFi devices. Costs of data are competitive with other options- especially if used with more than one device.
Weaknesses: Coverage can be patchy [same as any 3G device]. Not as fast as a wired broadband connection,. Short battery life.
Overall Evaluation: I haven't used this with an iPad [I don't own one - yet!] but I've used it for a few months with my MB Pro. I don't have a wired broadband, so I've used the 3 MiFi almost every day for those last several months. It's a fairly decent solution. Speeds are acceptable, it is lightweight and unobtrusive. The MWorld review is accurate and balanced.