Vodafone Mobile Connect HSDPA Data Card
- Works with both Windows and Mac, good software, ease of use and setup
- Unreliable when in standard 3G or GSM coverage area, only rated to HSDPA 1.8Mbps rather than the full 3.6Mbps, expensive
Excellent software isn't enough to save the Mobile Connect HSDPA Data Card. Although it is a solid product that should appeal to business users, the expensive costs and lack of HSDPA coverage areas means most users will still experience sluggish speeds.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
The Mobile Connect HSDPA Data Card is another product in the Vodafone range that offers wireless access to the Internet via Vodafone's high-speed 3G network. Able to achieve High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) coverage at a maximum rate of 1.8Mbps, the Data Card connects to a desktop or notebook PC via a PCMCIA card slot.
According to Vodafone, the Data Card provides data download speeds of up to 1.8 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 384Kbps. Unfortunately, the card can't achieve speeds as high as the USB Modem, which is rated at up to 3.6Mbps. This isn't much of a disadvantage now, as only limited parts of the Vodafone HSDPA network are running at a rate of 3.6Mbps, but it will become a concern in the near future.
The Mobile Connect 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 down to standard GSM (60Kbps maximum), which is barely useable, even for basic web browsing.
During testing, the modem performed well in our offices (based in St Leonards, Sydney) receiving a HSDPA signal. However, it was less effective in the western suburbs of Sydney, only managing to connect via a low, regular 3G signal. For consistency across all the mobile broadband products, we performed a number of tests, ranging from small amounts of data like emails and basic Web browsing, to streaming services, and finally to basic downloading of files (ranging from 1MB to 4MB in size).
The Data Card has no problem with basic web browsing, loading pages swiftly and without much delay. We also checked our email successfully, with a stable connection and fairly consistent speeds in our offices. If you are in a HSDPA or 3G coverage area, streaming media from such websites as You Tube and Pandora isn't a problem, but this is virtually impossible if the coverage drops down to GSM. Streaming in western Sydney was a little slow as we could only receive standard 3G coverage, but it was still possible.
Downloading small files while in the standard HSDPA coverage area of our offices, we were able to achieve almost identical speeds to the USB Modem. Downloads peaked at around 97KB/s, but fluctuated regularly between 78KB/s and 88KB/s. The Data Card is yet again ideal for the business user, since they won't be too interested in streaming media.
The Data Card uses the same software as the USB Modem, so it scores points for ease of use and setup. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS's and took less than a couple of minutes to install on our notebook. After a restart we were up and running. A convenient dashboard menu uses tabs for connect, SMS, MMS email, Web and support, and users can even check their usage patterns for both current and previous months.
Three plans are offered for the Data Card, ranging from the entry level $29.95 a month for 100MB of data to the highest $99.95 for 1GB of data. All plans charge an additional 30 cents per megabyte for any additional usage, while users can also change between data bundles from month to month, without penalty and without any contract required.
The card itself has a jack for connecting an external antenna, but unlike some other data cards, such as Unwired and iBurst, there is no antenna included in the box. Unfortunately, new users with only an express card slot available on their notebook can't use the Data Card and will have to fork out some extra cash for the USB Modem if they wish to use the Vodafone service.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® Portable SSD
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Acer Swift 7
Huawei Mate 9
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Google Daydream VR headset
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Lenovo to integrate Amazon Alexa in Moto smartphones
- Google will start adding Assistant to Nougat and Marshmallow phones this week
- Google's new AI aims to end abusive online comments using 'Perspective'
- Village Roadshow aims to block 40 pirate sites
- Analysts peer into Microsoft's rumored Windows 10 Cloud
PCW Evaluation Team
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- 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
- CCPMO Analyst - Financial ServicesNSW
- FTClient Delivery ManagerSA
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperVIC
- CCWindows System EngineerNSW
- CCNetwork Engineer/ Network AdministratorQLD
- CCAzure Architect/ConsultantVIC
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- CCERP Business Analyst (Time Capture/ Management) - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- FTIT Information Security AdvisorNSW
- TPOrganisational Change Manager | Enterprise Information SharingQLD
- FTPrincipal Architect - Infrastructure | Major BankVIC
- TPSenior Project Manager - ReinsuranceNSW
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- FTProject Manager (Software product development)VIC
- FTSenior C# DeveloperNSW
- FTITIL Service ManagerVIC
- FTStorage Solution ArchitectVIC
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)VIC
- TPSolution Architect - Real-Time Tracking SystemVIC
- FTDeveloper/ ProgrammerSA
- CCSenior Technical Consultant - MicrosoftACT
- FTSenior Web DeveloperNSW
- TPMicrosoft Dynamics DeveloperNSW
- FTPre- Sales Solution ArchitectVIC
- CCSAP Billing & Invoicing ConsultantNSW