Huawei E367 3G Broadband Dongle On Three Mobile ReviewWritten by John Thompson on July 14, 2011 · Filed under Review, Tech
Firstly, you might ask why would you need the >Huawei E367 3G Broadband Dongle on Three? Especially given smartphones, with their built in 3G data connections, are great for taking care of your social networks and the occasional e-mail on the go, but they’re also somewhat limiting in what they can do.
You won’t have any problems typing out a 140 character tweet on a touchscreen keyboard, but what if you have some more serious work to attend to? Attempting to type out an essay or a series of long emails on any phone will undoubtedly leave your hands looking like they’ve been through a thumb war with Ivan Drago, and all of the auto-corrections will leave you more frustrated than, well, I’ll leave that one for you to finish off…
If you were able to take your laptop with you wherever you went, however, and use a 3G connection with that machine instead of your smartphone, your life would probably become a whole lot easier. If you don’t want to rely on free public WiFi access for your data fix on the go, then you may want to invest in a 3G dongle, such as the Huawei E367 from Three, to give you the flexibility of a data connection wherever you are and the reliability of your trusted personal computer.
A dongle has a similar shape to a USB flash drive that you might use to store your files on, and it simply connects to your computer via USB just like your flash drive would too. The Huawei E367 has a nice, discrete USB connector that folds away into the casing when you aren’t using it to maintain a flush appearance and protect it from picking up any dust. It has a smooth, black plastic finish which carries a minimalist look, although it is slightly large compared to most other USB peripherals you find on the market. Unfortunately, this seems to be a trend amongst most of these 3G devices that are available, but it’s still slightly inconvenient in that it may block another USB port when plugged in. There is a supplied USB extender cable to help combat this if you would prefer to keep all of your ports accessible.
Underneath the back cover of the device is a slot for the SIM card to slide in to, and this is the only step that you will need to take before inserting the dongle in to your computer. There is no installation CD present in the packaging; instead, the necessary software that’s required is pre-loaded on to the dongle itself, which is really convenient. Not only does this prevent you from picking up yet another disc to add to your ever-growing collection, but it also means that you don’t have to worry about finding anything else before you can use the dongle: just plug it in and you’re good to go.
Theoretically, the set up process on your computer couldn’t be easier, and the installer should take care of most things for you. I tested this with both a Windows and Mac based computer, and the Windows installer went along fine, although there was a permissions error in the file supplied on the USB drive for the Mac OS X installation so I had to launch the installation manually through the Terminal application, which is far from a user-friendly workaround… Hopefully, Three will address these issues and update the software on the USB dongles accordingly for future shipments.
Despite the hiccups that occurred during installation, activating the dongle after installation is a simple matter of clicking the “connect” button on the 3Connect application that has been installed. Although you aren’t going to get super fast speeds through the dongle – I did a speed test which reported 0.89mb/s download and 0.64mb/s upload (obviously depends on your location’s signal strength and Three’s ongoing rollout of HSPA+ across their network) – it’s certainly enough to do some light web browsing and research whilst you’re picking up emails and other feeds. Just don’t try to stream a movie on this thing!
All things considered, the Huawei E367 3G Broadband Dongle on Three is a well designed and easy to use way of providing an internet connection. Once the Mac OS X installation issues are ironed out I would certainly recommend it to someone looking to use their computers without having to rely on public networks, but I’d probably urge people to consider looking at Three’s One Plan which gives you unlimited data for £35 a month on smartphones such as the iPhone and Android phones, as you may get more bang for your buck, and can use your phone to tether to your computer wirelessly on this plan too.