Huawei have recently released an HSPA+42 speed broadband dongle, which is now available from Three. Three’s new HSPA+42 network is currently being rolled out and is targeted to reach over 50% of the UK by the end of the year. As you can probably guess, the network is capable of speeds up to 20 mbps (download).
Now, I’ve had a Huawei manufactured Three dongle before and this one is far superior in its build. In glossy piano black with silver highlights its looks pretty good. The USB connector is slimline and rotates into the body of the device when not in use. At the other end is an LED light which shows the devices status.
Slide back the black cover and you can insert your SIM as well as an SD card (the latter is optional and allows you to use the dongle as an additional storage device).
Built into the device is the connectivity software you need and this works on both Windows and OS X. I trialled it on the latter. Plug the dongle in and the “dashboard” launches in your browser showing connectivity. Tabs also allow you to update the software and read received messages. You can also download desktop software that will alert you of these too.
Sadly, I’m not in an area so far covered by Three for highspeed connections. Even so the throughput was still quite impressive…
As you can see I was getting over 12 Mb/s download and over 2.2 Mb/s upload.
Packaging isn’t too excessive and other than the dongle you get a small, paper, instruction leaflet.
To give you an idea of price, the Huawei E3256 is available from Three for £4.99 on a 2 year contract at £8.89 per month for 1GB of data.
If I was in the market for a mobile broadband dongle, this is the one I’d choose. Even without access to the new network it’s speedy. Then, when Three do upgrade in your area you’ll be ready to push your speeds even further. It’s also easy to use and looks good.
My older Huawei dongle installed desktop software that was complicated and slow – the browser based solution now employed is much superior.