The latest version of Three’s MiFi mobile internet hotspot is a sturdy, smart looking, matt black lozenge which will look great alongside your laptop or tablet.
The MiFi E5756 allows up to 10 devices to connect to the web at the same time, though of course the more you use concurrently the slower the speeds each device will enjoy.
At a press of a button the crisp, bright central display will show your battery life, internet speed and network and login-details which are also contained on a ‘keep sake’ card included in the box.
Connecting is as simple as switching on both the MiFI and your laptop or tablet and, on first use, entering the network details into your mobile device’s WiFi settings screen.
If you need need to tweak the MiFI’s settings or top-up your pre-paid data allowance (the device is available on contract or Pay As You Go) you can do so via an online account manager. If you run out of credit you’ll be automatically taken to Three’s website to buy more.
As with all mobile data devices, the speeds you’ll enjoy will depend on a number of factors and you’ll tend to get better speeds when outside or working close to a window.
Working indoors in a mobile blackspot we were able to get a comfortable and consistent 1.5Mbps from our review unit, more than enough to browse and check emails on.
When Three launched its first MiFi in 2009 there were fewer venues offering free WiFi and those mobile networks which allowed users to connect their laptops via their mobile phone’s data plan tended to charge extra for doing so.
Today tethering and free WiFI are widely available, so is there still a need for devices such as the MiFi?
We think there is.
These gadgets ensure that you can leave home safe in the knowledge that you’ll be able to connect wherever and whenever you want, and without the need to pay £4 for a coffee just to get online.
They also make a handy back-up in case your home or office broadband takes a dive.
And because they can be used with Tablets and laptops, the can also represent fantastic value compared to paying more for a 3G tablet – Apple wants £100 more for a 3G or 4G capable iPad than the plain WiFi model – and then buying a dedicated data plan for that one device.
If you absolutely have to be able to connect while on the move and switch between devices on a regular basis, the MiFi is almost certainly a better bet than a dongle or Tablet data plan.
The MiFi E5756 is available either on Pay As You Go fro £79.99 or free on a two year contract for £15.60 per month from Three.co.uk.