Vodafone Pocket WiFi 4G hotspot
Vodafone's latest mobile broadband hotspot packs 4G speeds and dual-band Wi-Fi in a device not much bigger than a credit card
- Easy to setup/use
- Quick switch between 2.4GHz/5GHz
- Antenna ports
- Accepts 10 device connections
- Inconsistent 5GHz performance
- Poor range
The Vodafone Pocket WiFi 4G is a very easy to use device and is available on affordable plans. It puts up respectable speeds, and is consistent while in one location, but will trouble you during commutes.
Price$ 169.00 (AUD)
The Vodafone Pocket WiFi 4G is a Huawei-manufactured, to-the-point dual-band hotspot. It employs a simple design, setup, and operation to get you online via the telecommunication provider’s 4G (LTE) services in not much more than a minute.
Design and features
The Pocket WiFi 4G is slightly bigger than a standard credit card (it’s only 99x63mm), and it’s 15mm thick. As a reference, it’s twice the thickness of the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.
A small, 25x25mm monochrome screen is located on the front face. The Pocket WiFi 4G has two buttons; a power button on the front face to the right of the screen, and a Menu button which sits on the top edge of the device. These control all of the limited commands on offer. The only other features include a microUSB port on the bottom edge, which is flanked by an external antenna port on each side.
After you’ve unboxed the Pocket WiFi 4G, pop off the rear cover (via the indent on the bottom right-hand corner), and pop in a full-sized SIM card and then the battery; there is also a microSD card slot. The inside of the back cover contains the SSID and password for the product’s network, so these need to be noted. Once that is done, pop the cover back on, and charge the device (it will have some juice out of the box, but it’s best to be safe).
The Pocket WiFi 4G contains a 1780 milliamp-hour battery. If you are using the hotspot for periodic Web browsing, social media, and some video streaming, it can last for a full business day. If you only use it during commutes (about three to four hours a day) for the same purposes, you won’t have to charge it more than once every two days. More demanding tasks will of course drain the battery a lot faster.
To get the Pocket WiFi 4G online, press and hold the power button for about 3sec, and then let the device do its thing; it takes 20-30sec to switch on and connect to Vodafone’s towers. The display will very briefly flash the word ‘Connected’ once the process is complete, before displaying ‘Vodafone AU’ branding. From there it’s just a matter of connecting to the Pocket WiFi 4G with your smartphone (or otherwise).
While the Pocket WiFi 4G is switched on, the top of the screen will show (from left to right) current reception status and connection type, the number of devices connected to the device (up to 10), an unread messages counter, and battery levels. The bottom indicates how much data has been used in total, and how long you have been connected in your current session.
Tapping the Menu button will bring up three options: Info (which lists the SSID, key, IP, firmware version, and homepage URL), Fast Startup (checked by default), and Wi-Fi Band (from which you can choose 2.4GHz or 5GHz).
The Pocket WiFi 4G has a maximum throughput of 120 megabits per second (Mbps). We tested the device using a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition tablet running the Ookla Speedtest app from both our North Sydney office and in the Western Sydney suburb of Parramatta. We recorded speeds on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands from 1m and 3m away. We attempted to run tests from a distance of 5m but were met with a “network communication issues” notice on the Speedtest app, despite our tablet indicating two bars (out of four) of reception. The 2.4GHz band still allowed for Web browsing from 5m but we often faced dropouts, whereas the 5GHz band was completely unreliable.
The Pocket WiFi 4G was generally very reliable while in close proximity of a connected device, and more so on the 2.4GHz band. Speeds are respectable, but Vodafone’s network speed is not as good as its competitors, Telstra and Optus. We did notice that 5GHz connection fluctuated continuously. Similarly, while commuting on a train to and from the office, we faced multiple dropouts, and received quite a few “unstable connection” messages from our tablet while browsing the Web or streaming videos. We also downloaded large files while on the go and experienced spikes and drops in speed, but this can be expected from all mobile networks.
The results we achieved are as follows:
The Pocket WiFi 4G can be purchased for $169 up front on Vodafone's $20 month to month plan which includes 2.5GB of data (equating to $0.0078 per MB). It is also available for $7 per month on Vodafone's 24-month $20 plan.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- NETGEAR 4G LTE Modem Keeps You Online
- Google's Espresso networking tech takes SD-WAN to internet scale
- IEEE sets new Ethernet standard that brings 5X the speed without disruptive cable changes
- LinkedIn aims to make email more professional, with LinkedIn Intro
- 5G will have to do more than send speed up your phone, Ericsson says
PCW Evaluation Team
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.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- Opinon: Life after KRACK
- Jabra Elite Sport (2017) review
- How to download the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update right now
- 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
- FTData Centre ManagerOther
- FTSenior Business Analyst - Permanent PositionQLD
- CCIntegration ArchitectQLD
- CCTechnical Writer - Based in BrisbaneNSW
- CCService Desk AnalystACT
- FTDevOps ConsultantVIC
- FTSenior EAM ConsultantQLD
- FTL1/L2 Helpdesk Technician - FIFOWA
- CCJunior / Mid level Hogan Technical Consultant - BrisbaneQLD
- CCProject Support OfficerQLD
- FTBusiness AnalystOther
- FTCommunications Officer (Social Media Focus)Other
- FTSOA/OSB Integration ConsultantOther
- CCPenetration Test AnalystACT
- CCMessageQueue/DataPower AdministratorACT
- CCOracle WebLogic AdministratorNSW
- FTAgile Business Analyst, website or mobile apps expOther
- FTSenior Wintel Engineer, VMware, DesignOther
- CCService DesignerACT
- TPProject ManagerNSW
- FTTechnical ConsultantACT
- CCDrupal DeveloperNSW
- FTProject Manager - SAP PPMOther
- CCProject CoordinatorVIC
- CCInfrastructure ArchitectACT