The following article is a brief review of the Huawei E585 wireless modem which is often referred to as the ‘mifi’. Wireless broadband access is now very commonplace, especially since data bandwidth allowances went up and prices went down! In an earlier post I discussed my own contract with 3 mobile broadband where I was getting 15GB data per month for £15.00 per month. This initial contract ended earlier this year and to try to tempt me to stay they were offering another similar deal but with a new USB modem to replace my existing Huawei E156G. Three claimed this new modem was the next generation and was capable of faster speeds than the Huawei E156G. The problem was these new generation of USB dongles did not have the antenna connection which I sometimes used with a small antenna to boost the signal in poor coverage areas. The new dongles might have improved internal antennas and offer better speeds in good coverage areas but I without the ability to connect a larger external antenna I did not see them as an upgrade.
Another Huawei product I’ve owned in the past was the DT100 wireless router which allowed me to share the connection from my E156G dongle with up to 5 users. Some months prior to the contract expiring my Huawei DT100 wireless router had broken and was no longer being sold but they had a new ‘toy’ I was really interested in……….the Huawei E585 mifi wireless modem. The Huawei E585 was also a wireless modem which would allow me to share my connection but unlike the DT100 could accept the SIM card and replace my existing dongle. They retail from £70.00 upwards so I decided to haggle with three and got the modem for free by committing to a new 18 month contract with a £2.00 per month increase in my bill.
The Huawei E585 ‘mifi’ wireless modem
I’d read about the Huawei E585 for some time and it looked really promising. Basically it’s not much bigger than a normal USB modem and could be powered via USB in much the same way but it is so much more! Whilst it looks more like your traditional USB modem in size, it behaves more like a wireless modem you might have at home. Just like the home wireless modem the mifi transmits a signal which can be detected by other computers, smartphones etc.
One drawback of the Huawei E585 compared to a traditional home modem is that only 5 devices can be connected to the Huawei E585 at any one time but for most of us that’s more than enough! You would not want to be sharing the connection with too many people in case you go over your bandwidth allowance!
What really sets the Huawei E585 apart though is that it has its own rechargeable battery inside meaning you do not need to power it via USB. The quoted battery life is 4 hours which is pretty generous. It means you don’t have to be tethered to your laptop via the USB connection and you can place the Huawei E585 anywhere in your home, vehicle etc where you get the best signal. Being so small it also means you can put it in your pocket and take it wherever you go. So imagine you are down the pub, your mobile phone data connection is slow or close to its data limit so you decide to switch the Huawei E585 on, let your phone’s wifi detect it and connect to check on your emails, download those app updates etc. Your friend might have his iPad or Android tablet with him and he too can do some quick surfing at the same time. Or you are taking a road trip and 5 hours in the car seems like such a waste of time. Now your passengers can do some work on their laptop! I also use mine with my wireless printer so I can click print on my laptop and the signal is sent via the Huawei E585 to the printer in another room or another part of the motorhome.
Huawei E585 ‘mifi’ – Specifications
So what do you get in the box? Well besides the Huawei E585 modem itself you get the battery and USB connection cable which allows you to charge it from your laptop. You also get a UK 3 pin plug with a USB slot and all the instructions you would expect. If you are a new customer you will also get your SIM card but I used my existing one. Generally the device will be locked to your network but it is possible to unlock these and use them with SIM cards from other mobile companies. The Huawei E585 only weighs 90 grams and seems really well made and tactile. It has an LED display that relays information like signal strength, battery life, number of devices currently connected and bandwidth used and time connected during current session. The device also has a Micro SD slot that accepts cards up to 32GB so you can store additional data.
In summary I think the Huawei E585 is a great device and worth the asking price. If you are already a mobile broadband customer with a contract about to come up for renewal you might want to haggle to see if you can get the Huawei E585 included in your next contract. I would happily recommend this product and my review rating for the Huawei E585 would be 9/10!