Net-3G-A10 hotspot review

The Net-3G-A10 pocket hotspot is very similar to the Macworld award-winning MiFi (Best iPad Accessory 2010). It’s a pocket-sized wireless router than can be fitted with a 3G SIM card. It then creates its own wireless network so you can share your 3G mobile broadband with devices such as laptops or iPads that may not have their own built-in 3G capabilities.

The MiFi we reviewed last year was cheaper, but it was also tied into a contract with the 3 mobile network. So although Solwise's version costs more, it can be fitted with a standard-sized SIM from any network.

The use of a standard-sized SIM caused us a minor delay as everyone in the Macworld office was using the micro-SIM cards that fit into the iPhone and iPad. However, you can buy an adaptor for the micro-SIM card online for less than £5, and Solwise told us that it plans to stock them as well.

Once that’s sorted out you simply need to insert the SIM card and rechargeable battery, and turn the 3G-A10 on. It acts like a standard wireless router, so you can easily connect a laptop, iPad or any other WiFi device that you want to use. The wireless network doesn’t have a security password set up at first, but the manual shows you how to quickly connect to the device using your web browser so that you can assign a password.

Slip the 3G-A10 into your pocket and you've got your own on-the-go WiFi network

The internal battery lasts for about two and half hours, and you can share the 3G-A10 with up to 20 wireless devices. Just remember that all those WiFi gadgets will be eating into your 3G data limit, so you need to watch data usage to avoid getting hit with an enormous bill from your mobile network at the end of the month.

OUR VERDICT

The 3G-A10 pocket hotspot doesn’t offer any major new features that you can’t get from rivals such as the MiFi. However, it’s very compact and portable and works with 3G data SIMs from any network, so it’s a useful option if you want to share your mobile internet connection with several other people and don’t have access to a proper WiFi network.

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