Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi 4G modem
Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi 4G review: The first 4G wireless modem to launch in Australia
- Fast speeds
- Compact size and lightweight
- LED screen
- Limited 4G coverage
- Gets rather hot
- A little expensive
Telstra's Mobile Wi-Fi 4G modem definitely ranks as the best device of its kind that we've tested. However, it is a little expensive, gets hot during prolonged use and 4G coverage in Australia remains fairly limited.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
Telstra's 4G Wi-Fi modem, simply called the Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi 4G, is Australia's first 4G wireless modem. It's fast, easy to set up and use and definitely ranks as the best device of its kind that we've tested. However, it is a little expensive and 4G coverage in Australia remains fairly limited.
A compact device that packs plenty of punch
The Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi 4G modem is a battery operated modem that allows Wi-Fi enabled devices to connect to it wirelessly for shared mobile Internet access. The device is about the size of a deck of cards and just about the same thickness. The modem has a soft rubber finish on the back, shiny, silver edges and a gloss black bezel surrounding the display. The screen is predictably flanked by the Telstra logo on the left and "4G" on the right, just in case you needed reminding that you're dealing with the fastest data speeds possible.
A power button and a "-" button sit below the screen, while the battery is removable via a slide off plastic cover on the rear. Two antenna sockets on the bottom allow users to boost reception in flaky coverage areas if needed. The unit charges via a micro-USB connection at the bottom. If the battery is flat the Mobile Wi-Fi 4G modem can be connected via the included USB cable and used as a wired modem.
The best feature of the Wi-Fi 4G's design is the large LED screen that shows a wealth of information including signal strength, the number of devices connected, battery level, network type and the default SSID network name. Conveniently, the LED screen also displays the network password so you don't have to remember it every time you want to connect a new device. For security reasons, this can be hidden by configuring the web interface.
This Web interface is both straightforward and functional. Options include editing the SSID name and password, turning off the power LED, choosing the screen backlight time and a host of other advanced networking options. You can also disable the very annoying sleep mode, which by default requires a very long press of the - key below the screen to unlock the unit.
4G speeds, when you can get them
The Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi 4G modem promises "typical" download speeds ranging from 2 megabits per second (Mbps) to 40Mbps when in a 4G coverage zone, while typical upload speeds range from 1Mbps to 10Mbps. Telstra's 4G coverage is currently available in all eight capital cities (5km from GPO) and their respective airports in Australia, along with 80 regional and metropolitan centres (3km from city centre).
As you can see, Telstra's 4G coverage in Sydney is fairly limited right now. The dark blue shade denotes an area where you will get 4G data speeds.
If you're wondering how fast the Wi-Fi 4G modem is, the answer is very fast. Using our Broadband Speed Test in a 4G coverage zone in North Sydney, we regularly achieved speeds of up to 35Mbps, though mostly hovering around 20Mbps. Upload speeds were also impressive, regularly around 18Mbps.
When not in a 4G coverage zone, the Mobile Wi-Fi 4G falls back onto the company's regular Next G network, supporting typical HSPA+ dual channel speeds of 1.1Mbps-20Mbps. In a full 3G coverage zone we regularly managed speeds of between 12Mbps and 18Mbps on most occasions. Like all mobile broadband products, the performance and speed will depend on a variety of factors out of your control including network congestion, time and location.
Curiously, Telstra advertises the modem as only allowing a maximum of five devices to connect to it at a time but the manufacturer's Web site states 10 as the maximum. We had no trouble connecting more than five devices at a time, though speed does deteriorate with extra devices, which is why Telstra may have taken the safe option marketing only five. That being said we didn't notice too much slowdown with two smartphones, a tablet and a notebook connected to the Mobile Wi-Fi 4G simultaneously. As with many other Wi-Fi modems, when in constant use the Mobile Wi-Fi 4G modem does get rather hot.
Telstra claims the Mobile Wi-Fi 4G modem has a battery life of up to four hours, but during our tests it lasted just under three and a half hours before it ran out of juice. Manufacturer Sierra Wireless sells an optional long-life battery that promises up to eight hours of use, though it will add significant bulk to the modem. Other accessories listed include a desktop charging cradle and an aircard "hub" that will allow the Mobile Wi-Fi 4G to connect up to 20 devices for home or office network use.
The Telstra Mobile Wi-Fi 4G is available in two variants: a business model and a second, re-branded consumer variant with BigPond branding. The modem can also be purchased outright for $299 and is locked to the Telstra network. The telco will charge customers $27.50 to unlock the modem.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 2 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 3 Parrot Mambo Drone review
- 4 Evapolar USB air conditioner review
- 5 Hisense Series 7 ULED 4K UHD TV review
Latest News Articles
- Why TPG left Optus for Vodafone
- Sky Muster takes the nbn into space (+27 photos)
- Foxtel more than doubles broadband data allowances
- Optus discounts unlimited Internet bundles, available from $95 a month
- Families can pool data with Optus' aggressively priced smartphone plans
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.
- Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: The new best Android phone
- TV buying guide: What to look for when buying a TV in 2016
- Best iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus plans: Optus vs Telstra vs Vodafone vs Virgin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCTesting Business Analyst (Gold Coast based)QLD
- CCSiebel Technical Integration SpecialistACT
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCSiebel DeveloperACT
- CCIT Project CoordinatorNSW
- CCCloud Security Services SpecialistVIC
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (IT Security) 161018/AP/383Asia
- FTSenior Murex DeveloperVIC
- CCContract IT Assistant (UNIX/Windows) 161028/ITA/003Asia
- FTLevel 1- 2 Helpdesk SupportVIC
- CCDevOps/Automation EngineerNSW
- CCSenior Security AnalystVIC
- FTUI UX Specialist | Technical BAQLD
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Finance ConsultantWA
- TPProject Manager - ApplicationsQLD
- CCStrategy AnalystVIC
- FTWebSphere MQ Application SupportVIC
- CCBusiness Intelligence - DeveloperACT
- FTInfrastructure Solutions ArchitectACT
- TPSalesforce DeveloperQLD
- CCSenior Change AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Python DeveloperNSW
- TPTest AnalystQLD
- FTSystems Engineer - Managed Service Provider - No two days are the sameNSW
- FTSenior Oracle DBAQLD