Novatel 4510L 4G MiFi for Verizon Wireless Review

Introduction and Design
Introduction and Design:

Last week we reviewed the Samsung SCH-LC11, which was Verizon’s first 4G LTE HotSpot. Now some competition enters the market with the new Novatel 4510L 4G MiFi, that is actually a follow-up to the older Novatel 2200 3G MiFi from 2009.

The overall styling of the Novatel 4510L 4G MiFi has changed, with a shiny black surface on the top and chrome accents around the sides, all of which are fingerprint magnets, thought the lower edge and bottom of the device retain the familiar black soft-touch coating. The device is also fairly compact, at 2.36”H x 3.74” W x 0.53”D and with a weight of 3 oz, though this is still slightly larger and heavier than the Samsung 4G HotSpot. Included with the Novatel 4510L 4G MiFi is a brown fabric carrying pouch, 1500mAh battery, wall charger, user guides, and a microUSB PC cable that says it’s only to be used for device firmware upgrades.

The front of the Novatel 4510L closely resembles the Novatel 4082 for Sprint, as there is a small display, which uses eInk, that will show useful icons for the antenna reception (0-4 bars), roaming indicator (triangle), battery level (0-4 bars), and how many Wi-Fi devices are connected (1-5 dots). Below that on the lower side is a single LED indicator  light, that will change color depending on if you are connected to 4G (green), 3G or 1x (violet), have the unit off and charging (yellow/amber), receiving an over-the-air upgrade (white), or if there is no SIM card installed (red). We like having the display icons on the front and separate LED indicator, as you can easily tell at a glance what network (4G/3G) you are connected to, the signal strength, battery level, and the number of Wi-Fi devices connected, instead of the three limited LED lights on the Samsung 4G HotSpot that only show the network type and if Wi-Fi data is being transmitted.

Along the top edge is a small round port for connected an optional extended antenna (purchased separately) and a microUSB port. We were able to charge the Novatel 4510L via the wall charger while also keeping it powered on and with the Wi-Fi connection enabled to our phone. But when we connected the Novatel 4510L to a PC via a microUSB data cable, it would restart the MiFi and charge it and the Wi-Fi connection would be disabled, thus not allowing any devices to use it for data. We even pressed the power button, which did show the device turn on, and the display showed the signal strength, but it still would not transmit over Wi-Fi. This is a bit of a disappointment; as the Samsung 4G HotSpot can be charged via a microUSB cable when connect to a PC, while also transmitting data over Wi-Fi, thus allowing the device to be used. If you are the type of person who likes to have their HotSpot charging from their PC’s USB port, while also using the Wi-Fi on the HotSpot, then you might want to consider the Samsung 4G unit. But if you don’t mind using a microUSB wall charger, you can charge and use the Novatel unit simultaneously.

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