I have been lucky enough to be selected as one of the Telstra #MobileInsider’s to test out and review a Telstra 4G My Pocket Wi-Fi Plus unit.
This little unit is the companies latest weapon in mobile connectivity on the 4GX Network around the country, is the brother to the 4G My Pocket Wi-Fi Ultimate and has an amazing feature set for an item of it’s price!
Being in the Broadcasting & IT sectors I found the ability to be involved in this review delightful as I had a perfect environment to test it in, I carry an iPhone 6 Plus & Microsoft Surface Pro 3 around with me daily as I not only complete my day job as a radio announcer, but look after a community broadcaster and provide some minor IT support to a couple of other smaller organisations…not to mention the fact I attended a conference a few hours from my place during the testing time.
First impressions from receiving the device…the packaging is nice and compact, fresh & funky with enough detail about the product for me to get a good idea of what is can do and what it supports without needing to stand in the store researching the device further before making a purchasing decision.
Inside the box you will find the device with SIM already inserted, wall charger and lead, some guides on getting started with the device and the Telstra mobile network, plus a little sticker you can attach to something detailing the default Wireless ID and passcode.
Looking at the device more extensively I think it’s a great clean very well rounded design in white with a well placed LCD screen and easy access to the SIM should you need to swap to another or use it with multiple cards.
All access to power buttons, one touch Wireless security configs and the SIM point as well as a reset button if things go Pear shaped are spaced reasonably and are not difficult to operate when holding it in your hand.
I love the fact that despite the price tag of the unit, the addition of antenna sockets have been added which makes it great for someone who might need to connect an antenna to get some better reception on the device.
Usually you have to pay more money for a device that is capable of taking external antennas.
I was a little disappointed from opening the box to find that the device did not have any charge at all from factory packing and I had to plug it in for 3-4 hours before I could get started. Usually I find that manufacturers like to test their devices so that they work straight out of the packet giving the batteries a little base charge…which then in turn gives the new owner a moment to be able to power it up and have a mess about before charging and getting serious.
Startup time was less than 30 seconds and it locks onto a signal as fast as a mobile phone.
The LCD display is a great source of information at your fingertips.
The top half of the display shows how many bars you have, the amount of Wireless Clients that are connected, network activity through the device as it happens and battery status.
On the lower half it can display the amount of data you have on your account plus the Wifi network name & password so connecting is a breeze.
Configuring with devices was simple, none of my devices had any dramas with selecting the network and entering the passcode…they just worked immediately once connected.
I ran into a spot of bother with being able to activate straight from the box and using the device to connect to the activation website, 11PM at night and Telstra’s activation site was not responding…but connecting to my home Internet connection fixed this.
Online activation was a breeze as the process seems to have been streamlined a little since the last time I activated a prepaid service. Using the service number on the side of the box along with some personal details and a drivers license, I was able to fill the forms out in less than 5 minutes leaving the rest to Telstra’s activation servers which completed in 5 minutes.
I find it very nifty that Telstra not only sends a text to the service but also emails to let you know when the process was completed.
Performance of the device was great in several places that I tested it, speed was consistent on any equipment I connected wirelessly with the device and my comparisons with using the network on my mobile phone…it also doesn’t get inconsistent as you share the connection with multiple devices which is a big plus.
The device was also able to obtain a good signal in areas where my mobile phone may have found it challenging to lock a consistent 4G connection….like for example at the conference I was at in an RSL club, situated in a basement level room with many concrete and metal obstructions and flaky provided Wifi (I turned the device on and used that instead so I could finish some notes on a presentation I was making).
The device also has a web interface that can allow you to keep tabs on your actual data usage, more detailed information on battery power, the ability to read/send text messages as well as adjusting some settings to improve performance like the Wifi signal, a sleep function when the device is not connected to any clients and some firewall functions.
I think that along with the Wireless ID & passcode sticker they could have included the default web interface password because for those not reading the quick start guides fully it could be a small challenge to figure out what the password was. I immediately thought a group of standard default passwords and was able to enter the config page easily.
Battery was as I would expect with any modern mobile network connected device, enough to get you through a day of moderate usage…some would find this a concern but you can use the device while it’s charging as well and there are many affordable options including USB car charger jacks and recharging packs you can connect it up to when you are short of juice.
Aside from the activation hassle I thought it was a great unit, for the money you are spending to get it the device comes with 3GB to get you started and packs so many features into a device you can carry around in your pocket and have at your dispense when you need Internet on the go.
I would recommend this product to friends and family that need something that is not too complex and not expensive to configure and get going online using the Telstra mobile network.
The device was easier to use as a wireless hotspot than using my mobile phone, which despite a simple settings change does not seem to want to consistently work with my Microsoft Surface Pro 3.
This device would work great for those with basic computer skills after initial setup given the simple controls to turn the device on on and off and having connection info at your fingertips on the colour screen.