Optus E173 USB mobile broadband modem
Optus E173 USB modem review: A simple USB modem with plug-and-play support, an external antenna port and a microSD card slot
- 7.2Mbps peak speeds, ease of use, microSD card slot
- Optus network still flaky in certain areas
The Optus E173 USB mobile broadband modem is simple and hassle-free to set up and is capable of faster speeds than the cheaper E153 USB modem. However, the Optus network is still flaky in certain areas, so its best to check coverage before you purchase.
Price$ 79.00 (AUD)
Optus' E173 USB mobile broadband modem supports download speeds of 7.2 megabits per second (Mbps) and offers plug-and-play support for both Windows and Mac computers. This USB modem also includes an external antenna port and a microSD card slot, and the increase in speed makes it a well worth the slight premium over Optus' slower and cheaper E153 USB modem.
Read our guide to the best prepaid mobile broadband modems.
The Optus E173 USB mobile broadband modem is finished in a lightweight white plastic. A slide-off rear cover houses microSD and SIM card slots, while an external antenna port for boosting mobile broadband reception is located on the side of the device. The microSD card slot allows the E173 USB modem to double as a portable flash drive.
The Optus E173 USB modem prevented access to the second USB port on our [[artnid:309066|13in MacBook Pro], even though it is not very large. On bigger notebooks this shouldn't be a problem though, and is more of a fault on Apple's part than on Huawei's, the manufacturer of the E173 USB modem.
The software required to use the Optus mobile broadband service is stored on the E173 modem itself and is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X computers. The Optus software is easy to install and allows you to quickly access your prepaid account details and see sent and received data.
The Optus E173 USB modem has a theoretical maximum download speed of 7.2Mbps, significantly faster than the peak 3.6Mbps speeds offered by the cheaper E153 USB modem. Of course, these speeds will never be achieved consistently — Optus claims the E173 will provide typical real-world speeds of between 550 kilobits per second (Kbps) and 3Mbps, and as with all mobile broadband devices the actual speed achieved will depend on a number of factors such as your location and equipment, network usage and coverage, and network congestion at the time.
Using our Broadband Speed Test, the Optus E173 USB mobile broadband modem managed to achieve a peak download speed of 3.5Mbps, but it regularly downloaded at around 2Mbps. Upload speeds were relatively stable at around 700Kbps, but did rise over 1Mbps on occasions.
Optus sells the E173 USB modem for $49 and includes 1GB of data in the starter pack that is valid for 30 days.
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the newsletter!
Why virtualise your NAS environment?
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S9+ review: A predictably-exellent flagship uplifted by a standout camera
- 2 Panasonic Lumix G9 review: A mirrorless moulded to the needs of still-shooters
- 3 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Ring Video Doorbell review
Latest News Articles
- Kogan makes NBN play
- Bill Morrow to step down as NBN Co chief
- Leaked document details Rudd govt strategy for Telstra NBN negotiations
- A Third of NBN Users Would Change Back if They Could
- TPG to stop selling 25Mbps NBN plans
PCW Evaluation Team
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
- ASUS ROG Zephyrus M review: Leaner and meaner
- Samsung Galaxy S9+ review: A predictably-exellent flagship uplifted by a standout camera
- Picture Perfect: OPPO prepare their boldest smartphone yet
- 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
- TPSystems AnalystVIC
- FTiOS DeveloperWA
- FTHelp desk Support AnalystOther
- FTSenior UX Digital Developer, Digital Design DevelopmentOther
- FTMid Level .Net DeveloperOther
- CCScrum MasterQLD
- FTSenior iOS Software EngineerOther
- FTData AnalystOther
- FTTechnical Quality Analyst (Payments, data, application integration)VIC
- CCTransformation Technical ArchitectWA
- FTDigital DesignerOther
- CCXamarin DeveloperNSW
- FTWeb Developer - HTML / CSS / SASSOther
- TPEnterprise/Service Architect - Service Management ExperienceQLD
- FTJunior-Mid Level Technical Implementation CoordinatorQLD
- CCSolution ArchitectWA
- CCSenior Development DBA - OracleNSW
- FTGun Java Developers wantedVIC
- CCSenior Development DBA - OracleNSW
- CCDelivery Manager - Cloud Solution ProjectNSW
- TPService Now Developer/AdministratorQLD
- FTProgram Manager, Fleet TransformationOther
- CCTest Analyst - SitecoreNSW
- FTSystem AdministratorOther
- FTProject Manager ? Cyber SecurityQLD