Optus Wireless Connect Card
- Solid 3G speeds, good coverage, good software, incorporates WiFi
- Not as faster as the alternatives on the market, not ideal for multitasking
Although Optus' Wireless Connect card falls short of the speeds capable by its HSDPA counterparts, solid coverage and decent speeds make this a good alternative.
Price$ 359.00 (AUD)
Although Optus hasn't upgraded to the High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) network, their Wireless Connect card remains a solid option in the mobile broadband space, thanks to decent speeds and excellent mobile coverage. Using a PCMCIA data card, the Wireless Connect package is easy to set up and includes effective software.
Optus Wireless Connect allows users to access three different networks, WiFi 802.11 b/g, 3G and standard GSM. Within Optus 3G coverage areas, users can experience maximum speeds of 384kbps (both upstream and downstream), while WiFi offers maximum speeds of up to 54Mbps, and standard GSM up to 50kbps. Like most mobile broadband services, Wireless Connect will automatically connect to the best available network in your area. If the 3G signal isn't strong enough, the service will fall back to a standard 2G (GSM) connection, but this is barely usable, even for basic web browsing and email capabilities. Optus also has a number of its own wireless Internet hotspots, which can be viewed here: https://rego.optusnet.com.au/wireless/locations.html.
The card itself has two LED status lights to let users know the level of their current connection at a glance. A blue light indicates that a 3G connection is available, a red light for 2G and a green light indicates that there are available WiFi networks in the area.
We tested the Mobile card in our office (based in St Leonards) as well as around the Sydney and North Sydney CBD zones. Speeds of up to 48KB/sec were achieved, although we averaged speeds of about 35KB/sec. We received a solid 3G signal in our office and around the North Sydney CBD zone. As with all our mobile broadband reviews, we performed a number of tests using small amounts of data like emails and Web browsing, streaming online services and larger files ranging from 1MB to 4MB in size.
For basic Web browsing, the Wireless Connect Card performs well, loading common sites like The Sydney Morning Herald and News.com.au, and had no problem streaming content from You Tube and Pandora. We experienced some slowdown streaming multimedia content, but this was only at times when the service was struggling to maintain a signal. Unfortunately, the Wireless Connect card isn't ideal for multitasking. We experienced some lengthy loading times when streaming a YouTube video while downloading other files in the background.
Downloading small files while in a 3G coverage area (our offices in St Leonards), we were able to achieve speeds of up to 48Kb/s but regularly fluctuating between 31KB/sec and 42KB/sec. A 1MB file took 26 seconds to complete, while the best we could manage for a 4MB file was two minutes. Overall, the Wireless Connect service is ideal for most users, as it is capable of streaming some light multimedia, while also performing well for basic web browsing and email.
Installation was a simple process and took under five minutes. The Wireless Connect software shows you how strong your current signal is and which network you are using (WiFi, 3G or 2G). The software also offers quick tabs to your default Internet browser, email, VPN and more connections. There is even access to a graph of usage for the month, showing total and average data use in a convenient bar graph.
The Wireless Connect card we tested costs $359 to buy outright on a 24-month plan. For a 12 month plan this jumps to $419, while users can purchase the card without a plan for $599. Alternatively, if you own a notebook with inbuilt WiFi, you can purchase a Wireless Connect card without WiFi, for $239 (24 months), $299 (12 months) or $399 (no plan). Four plans are offered ranging from $29.95 per month for 100MB of data, up to $129.95 per month for 2GB of data. Excess usage on all four plans is charged at 30 cents per MB.
Overall, the Optus Wireless Connect card offers excellent coverage, solid speeds and competitively priced plans when compared to other offerings in the mobile broadband space. However, the Wireless Connect service can't match the speeds capable of its HSDPA counterparts, namely Telstra and Vodafone.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Mazda MX-5 (2016) review: Absolute driving purity
- 2 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 3 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 4 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
- 5 Microsoft Lumia 640 review: Honouring Nokia's legacy
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- Microsoft Translator now translates text from images, increases language support
- YouTube dives into VR, live-streaming with 360 video
- Netflix stops insisting it will never support offline videos
- YouTube rolling out live 360-degree videos with immersive Coachella experience
- Podcasts are now on the air in Google Play Music
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
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.
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.
- CCChange Manager x 2NSW
- FTSharePoint DeveloperSA
- CCSenior Enterprise Architect - eCommerceVIC
- FTAGILE Training Manager/CoachNSW
- FTGentrack ConsultantVIC
- CCMid or Senior Developer - Mobile Applications - (iOS)NSW
- CCSCRUM MasterNSW
- FTNetwork ConsultantNSW
- FTData AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Revenue Systems Functional AnalystSA
- CCJava Developer- 12 month contractNSW
- CCSenior Project Manager - HealthcareVIC
- FTSenior Project Manager, SoftwareNSW
- CCSenior Implementation AnalystNSW
- FTVendor Manager / Team Lead - ITIL / ITSMVIC
- CCIntegration Delivery Project ManagerNSW
- FTAzure ArchitectQLD
- FTTechnology Risk ManagerNSW
- CCProject Coordinator (urgent) - Digital - Blue chip companyNSW
- CCProduct SpecialistVIC
- FTSenior Business Intelligence ManagerNSW
- FTJunior Inside Sales Rep | National systems integrator & MSP | $60-70K+NSW
- CCSales Development Executive - Software SolutionsNSW
- CCFull Stack Developer - Java - Blue Chip CompanyNSW
- CCBPM ConsultantVIC