We took a look at the Huawei E367, a 3G broadband dongle on Three UK, a few months ago back in the summer, and despite a sleek looking exterior, it failed to impress when it came down to setting the unit up and running real life speed tests.
Fast forward a few months, and I’m sat here with the latest mobile wi-fi offering from Three: the Huawei E586 MiFi which is the lastest model of the Three Mobile MiFi that we also reviewed earlier in the year and really liked.
This MiFi unit has a number of fundamental differences from the traditional broadband dongle most mobile networks have on offer, the most obvious of which is that it doesn’t connect to a computer over USB. Instead, it broadcasts its own wireless signal so that you can connect more than one device at a time, and use devices that don’t support USB, such as the iPad.
Although the modem doesn’t require a system specific setup like the previous model did, you will still have to take a few steps before you are happily surfing the net. The first thing that you will need to do is take the back cover off the unit to insert the SIM card. This seemingly simple operation (if you’re wondering why I’m going over this, don’t worry, there is a point) actually took me 15 frustrating minutes before I gave up and asked someone with longer nails to do it for me.
The morale of this story? No matter how geeky you may be, it’s always useful to have a woman around for certain things. The morale of the story for Huawei is plainly obvious: make it easy to access the inside of your modem so that I can actually use it! At this point, you will also want to insert the battery pack in to the unit, which you will find in the box.
Also in the box is a USB charger with a mains adaptor, and even a cradle to sit your modem in whilst you’re using it on your desk. This is actually a really nice addition, as it minimises any clutter and makes the unit look really good at the same time.
Once everything is plugged in, you’re good to go without any drivers needed on your PC end. You can view the SSID and network key by pressing the small key button on the side of the unit. As soon as it is plugged in, you will be able to connect multiple devices.
One of the major complaints that I had with the broadbnad dongle that we received back in the summer was that it was only capable of downloading at 0.89mb/s, which didn’t leave a lot of scope for browsing any media heavy web pages. During my testing of the newer modem, I did some more extensive testing whilst streaming videos and downloading a few files, and it performed admirably. Although a speed test only reported speeds of under 2mb/s download, my real life tests hit 5mb/s at one point.
There’s no doubt that the latest mobile broadband offering from Three is a vast improvement over the last model. With the ability to connect more than one device, and improved download speeds, if you’re looking for a mobile wi-fi deal then this might be the right one. You can get the Huawei E586 MiFi from Three for £10.87 per month for 1GB of data, or jump to 5GB for £15.99 per month plus £49.99 up front.