3 Mobile Broadband Internet Key Modem (E180)

3's latest HSDPA Internet Key Modem features a slimline design and a rotatable USB connector.

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now 2
3 Mobile Broadband Internet Key Modem (E180)
  • 3 Mobile Broadband Internet Key Modem (E180)
  • 3 Mobile Broadband Internet Key Modem (E180)
  • 3 Mobile Broadband Internet Key Modem (E180)

Pros

  • Stylish design, microSD card slot, reasonable speeds, good value plans

Cons

  • Question marks over build/design, additional usage and roaming are expensive

Bottom Line

3 Mobile's Internet Key Modem E180 won't break the bank but will provide you with a reasonable mobile Internet solution. The flimsy feeling hinge could be an issue in the long term and excess data charges are expensive, but speed and performance combined with reasonable plan costs make this definitely worth a look.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 2 stores)

  • OPTUS USB E3131 Modem Mobile Broadband Pre-Paid 39.00
  • OPTUS WiFi E5331Mobile Broadband Pre-Paid 69.00
See all prices

3 Mobile has launched yet another Internet Key Modem that offers wireless Internet access the via the telco's high-speed 3G network. It features a slimline design, plug-and-play installation and a microSD card memory slot. The E180 Modem also has a USB connector that can be rotated 270 degrees.

The E180 Internet Key Modem delivers theoretical maximum download speeds of 7.2 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 2Mbps. Of course, you'll never see these speeds in real life; the actual speed achieved will vary depending on a number of factors such as device capabilities, your location and equipment, as well as network usage at the time. Typical speeds should range from 600kilobits per second (Kbps) to 1.5Mbps.

3's mobile broadband service supports connectivity in HSDPA, 3G and GPRS coverage areas. If the HSDPA signal strength isn't strong enough, the service falls back to standard 3G (a maximum speed of 384Kbps). If no HSDPA or 3G signal can be received, then the modem will revert to standard GSM (60Kbps maximum).

The new 3 Mobile Internet Key Modem E180 is one of the more stylish mobile broadband devices on the market, but we do have some issues with its build. Despite the hinged USB connector rotating 270 degrees it feels quite flimsy, especially when plugging it into a USB port. A small LED denotes current status, including whether you are in a HSDPA, 3G or 2G coverage area.

Aside from its compact size, one of the Internet Key Modem E180's main appeals is the fact that the software required to use the service is installed on the USB device itself. This means much more flexibility in terms of using the unit on multiple computers, as you don't need to carry a software disk around with you.

During testing, the Internet Key Modem E180 performed well in our offices, receiving a standard HSDPA signal. The device has no problem with basic Web browsing, loading pages swiftly and without much delay. While downloading files in a standard HSDPA coverage area we were able to achieve speeds of up to 194 kilobytes per second (KBps), although speed frequently fluctuated between 160KBps and 180KBps. As an example, we managed to download a 65MB file in 6min 29sec, at a transfer rate of 173KBps.

The software included on the Internet Key Modem E180 scores points for ease of use and set up. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X, and took less than a couple of minutes to install. The My3 menu is a convenient way to manage your monthly usage, view invoices or change account details. You can quickly view information on the current session in the Statistics menu, including duration of connection, the volume of data sent and received, and the current signal strength.

3's mobile broadband plans for the Internet Key Modem E180 start at $15 per month for 1GB of data and range up to $29 (3GB), $39 (6GB) and $49 (7GB) plans over 24 months. On top of this, the key has a device repayment of $10 per month. All plans charge an additional 10 cents per megabyte for any additional usage, and $1.65 per megabyte for any roaming usage.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Be the first to comment.

Post new comment

Users posting comments agree to the Good Gear Guide comments policy.

Login or register to link comments to your user profile, or you may also post a comment without being logged in.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?