Novatel MiFi 3G/4G 4082 for Sprint Review

5
Introduction and Design
Introduction and Design:

The Novatel MiFi 2220 was a groundbreaking device when it launched, but it has been nearly two years since the 3G mobile hotspot device first hit the market.  Since then Sierra has stolen most of the market with their 4G capable Overdrive mobile hotspot.  Well Novatel is back with the MiFi 3G/4G 4082, adding WiMax and support for a memory card.  Included with the MiFi 3G/4G you’ll get a microUSB cable, AC adapter, slip pouch and a beefed up 1530mAh battery.

We always liked the looks of the original MiFi 2200; it was a slim, sleek device and looked equally good in Sprint silver and Verizon black.  This time around the MiFi is black with chrome accents (the Verizon 4G variant shares a color scheme) and looks very sharp.  The MiFi 3G/4G is considerably thicker thanks to the 1530mAh battery, a considerable jump from the 1150mAh one found in the 2200.


Another key difference is the addition of a small LCD screen, with a concave chrome power button below.  The function is very basic, letting you know your signal and battery strength, GPS status and how many devices are connected to the MiFi.  There is an LED on the bottom of the MiFi 3G/4G that indicates which network you are using: green for 3G, blue for 4G or orange if you don’t have service.


Also along the bottom is the microSD slot, microUSB charging port and a WPS button to enable security.  We appreciate the addition of the microSD slot.  By inserting a card (it supports up to 32GB) you enable network storage between any of the up to five connected devices on the MiFi 3G/4G.  This isn’t a new feature (we saw it on the Overdrive) but it is a nice addition nonetheless.



Performance and Conclusion:

Performance on Sprint’s 4G WiMax network was on par with our past experiences.  In our testing it averaged just over 7mbps down and just under 1mbps up with an average ping of 129ms. These results are slightly better overall than we got with the Sierra U250 when we did our 4G comparison. Novatel claims that you can get 4 hours of usage with the MiFi 3G/4G thanks to the larger battery, but heavy users will probably want to pack the charger or pick up an extra battery.

So this new MiFi is faster, prettier, has a bigger battery and is more functional, what’s not to like?  Despite the overhaul, the MiFi 3G/4G still doesn’t stack up to the Sierra Overdrive.  The Overdrive has a bigger, more functional LCD and the Overdrive has longer battery life.  The MiFi 3G/4G launched April 6 at $79.99 on a two year contract, but two weeks before that Sierra released the Overdrive Pro, a faster, smaller and more functional Overdrive.  This new Overdrive offers a bigger display that displays more info than its predecessor, boots 35% faster and allows up to eight simultaneous connections.  Plus, Sierra has an optional docking station available for the Pro that will boost reception by 50%. All this, and the Overdrive Pro comes in at just $49.99 on contract.

The Novatel MiFi 3G/4G 4082 is a fine device, and addresses all of the shortcomings of the MiFi 2200.  Unfortunately for Novatel, it is too little, too late as they’ve been outdone by Sierra’s Overdrive lineup.  The MiFi literally has nothing to fight the Overdrive Pro with; the Sierra offering out-specs and out performs the MiFi in every imaginable category and comes in $30 cheaper.  You won’t be disappointed by the MiFi 3G/4G, but in our opinion we don’t see why you’d pick it over the Overdrive Pro in the first place.

Novatel MiFi 3G/4G 4082 for Sprint Video Review:





Pros

  • 4G connectivity
  • microSD slot for network storage

Cons

  • LCD has limited functionality
  • Battery could be better
  • It was already outdone by the competition before it launched

PhoneArena Rating:

5.0

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