I travel frequently, usually a few times each month. When I travel it’s important that I have the ability to stay connected with co-workers, clients, and friends. As someone who runs a consulting company making sure I’m connected is pretty darn important. A few months ago I tried jailbreaking my iphone and tethering it to my PC but that proved to be a bit slow and somewhat ineffective. Finally, I made the decision to go fully mobile with a wireless card. I came close to purchasing various 3G cards and then I finally learned about the Sprint Overdrive 3G/4G Mifi card. For those of you not familiar with a Mifi card it basically gives you the option of connecting up to 5 devices to the card to get wireless access. This mean you can either give connection to 4 of your friends that happen to be with you or hook up 5 of our own devices (ipad, iphone, laptop, etc). I haven’t actually hooked up multiple devices yet as I usually just travel alone.
So let’s get started with the Pros and Cons.
- While 4G isn’t available everywhere yet (for example in San Francisco) when you do actually get it (I had it when I went to Georgia) it’s very fast. If you get a 4G connection then you have unlimited bandwidth, if you have a 3G connection then you are limited to 5 gigs a month, which is not bad. I haven’t exceeded my limit yet.
- You can charge the device via your laptop (USB) or by plugging it into an actual outlet, this comes in handy when you travel as you have two ways to charge the device.
- The design is very sleek and clean with a digital display that gives you various connection information such as battery life, connection speed, etc.
- The ability to hook up to 5 devices to the Mifi card.
- The device comes with some nifty connection management software which allows you to customize and configure the setting via a web browser.
- It’s a relatively small device so it’s very easy to travel with.
- If only using the battery you probably won’t get more than around 2-3 hours of connectivity, even though the advertisements all say you get around 6 (not true!).
- If you’re using the device while charging it via your laptop you will extend the usage slightly but the device exerts more power than it consumes meaning that even if your device is plugged into your laptop charging while you’re using it, that it will still die out. However, you can plug the device into a wall socket and you will have unlimited usage.
- The device can get pretty hot if used for extended periods of time so I wouldn’t recommend leaving it in a backpack or other tightly packed area where it can’t get any air. Try to keep out in the open and avoid packing into tight places while it’s being used (to avoid any overheating).
- The Overdrive costs around $150.00 with a $50 mail-in rebate (if I recall correctly) and the monthly fee is around $60/month (for the 5 gig limit) just like paying for another cell phone.
- 4G isn’t available everywhere yet.
Overall I think it’s a great device for any traveler to have especially if you manage to pick up a 4G connection. If you don’t travel very frequently then it might not make sense to get the Overdrive card and you can probably be fine with something that has a smaller bandwidth. I’m quite happy with my purchase and recommend it to anyone looking for a wireless connectivity device.
Do you own the device, what do you think? Have you thinking about purchasing one? Let me know what you think.