Vodafone WiFi Cube 4G review: Sharing fast Internet
Vodafone and Huawei would have a winning combination were it not for one caveat
- Plug and play setup
- Managed via a fantastic app
- Fast Internet
- Good range
- Can share Internet with multiple devices
- Mobile data is expensive, relative to fixed broadband
- Mobile data fluctuates in speed
Price$ 159.00 (AUD)
Vodafone’s latest 4G modem proves an ideal investment for those who don't have the infrastructure for a fixed line service. The Wi-Fi Cube 4G is manufactured by Huawei, a Chinese company whose core competency is the building of networks, and that includes Vodafone’s own.
Plug and play setup
Huawei’s WiFi Cube 4G is a Wi-Fi modem of a new breed. Wireless modems typically pack an internal battery for use on the go. Huawei’s Cube differs because it has been designed to connect home devices to the Internet. It plugs into a powerpoint like any modem, and it disperses a fast Internet signal over Vodafone’s Cat4 LTE network.
Setting up the wireless router requires only that a SIM is inserted in the bottom and that it is plugged into a power point. Two LED lights indicate the status of the wireless and cellular signals, while the button up top mercifully turns off a glowing blue light powerful enough to light up a room.
It is possible to plug a device directly into the Cube 4G by way of an Ethernet port on its back. This is recommended for personal computers, televisions or gaming consoles.
Controlling and configuring the modem is easily done using a companion app, which supports both Android and Apple smartphones and tablets. The application displays the remaining data allowance, makes it possible to send text messages and can be used to transfer media between different devices.
Vodafone’s improved network
Vodafone’s 4G network covers 95 per cent of the Australian population. Compatibility with Cat4 LTE allows data to be transferred at a theoretical maximum of 150 Megabits per second (Mbps).
The modem itself supports single-band 802.11n and has a claimed range of 250 metres. Different factors, such as the structure of a building and the placement of the Huawei modem, will influence the range of its Wi-Fi signal.
Good Gear Guide tested the WiFi Cube 4G over a two week period in our double story townhouse. All of our devices — multiple smartphones and tablets, a Chromecast and a PlayStation 4 — retained a fast connection, even when we went upstairs. The signal naturally weakened, but we were always within the Huawei modem’s range.Read more: Free Vodafone calls ring in Chinese New Year
Tests performed at 1.30pm in North Sydney, NSW, achieved a download speed of 39.22Mbps and an upload speed of 43.79Mbps. These tests were conducted a metre away from the Huawei WiFi Cube 4G.
One minute later we performed the same test approximately 30 metres away in our test centre. A speed test at this distance from the modem returned a download speed of 27.77Mbps and an upload speed of 19.01Mbps. These results illustrate how the placement of a modem in a home or office ultimately affects the actual Internet speed.
Speed tests performed in our Bankstown, NSW, house averaged 47.62Mbps for downloads and 13.7Mbps for uploads. Often we had five devices relying on the WiFi modem, and although the speeds were shared between each of them, the combination of Huawei’s WiFi Cube 4G and Vodafone’s improved network consistently resulted in fast downloads. In fact, the speeds achieved by Vodafone’s network surpassed that of Telstra’s Wi-Fi 4G Advanced II tested two weeks ago.
The tempting proposition of Vodafone’s Wi-Fi modem is undermined by an important caveat. Mobile data costs significantly more than that of broadband, and although Vodafone’s pricing remains competitive against rivalling mobile Internet offerings, it can’t compete against fixed line broadband.
Vodafone offers plans with a maximum of 25GB for $90 a month. Every additional gigabyte is another $10. Anyone partial to multimedia will likely go over the 25GB maximum allowance. This is a product reserved for people who don’t have the option of a fixed line service, and will only use it for emails, basic webpages and to update the software of their computer.
Huawei’s WiFi Cube 4G and Vodafone’s network are a dynamic duo. The modem is easy to set up, has an attractive application, a strong enough range and, in metropolitan areas, impressive Internet speeds.
Our only concern is the cost. The low data allowance effectively limits what Internet can be used. Many will have to cut down on YouTubing and music streaming, or face the wrath of an inflated bill.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
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
- 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.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- 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
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- CCAgile CoachWA
- CCProcurement AnalystQLD
- FTCheckpoint Firewall and VPNNSW
- CCTechnical lead (Informatica MDM)Other
- CCCapacity and Performance Analyst - Mainframe - Z SystemsVIC
- CCTechnical Business Analyst-DevOpsNSW
- FTSecurity System EngineerSA
- TPSenior Test Analyst - DETEQLD
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FTChange ManagerACT
- CCProject SchedulerQLD
- TPIT Sercurity EngineerVIC
- TPSOA DeveloperNSW
- CCTest Capability LeadNSW
- CCNetwork Security Specialist - Palo Alto Firewall ExpertVIC
- FTLevel 2 Service DeskNSW
- FTConsulting Solution/Integration ArchitectVIC
- FTSecurity IPS Engineer - Permanent - IT Services - SydneyNSW
- FTJunior Business Process Analyst Perm North SydneyNSW
- FTLevel 3 EngineerNSW
- FTSenior Learning Specialist - Global OrganisationQLD
- CCWeb Architect - Ruby, Python, Java, Open sourceNSW
- CCFIS Connex Developer (Brisbane Based)Other
- FTManager Integration PlanningNSW