Huawei E585 ‘mifi’ review

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.

Huawei E585
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Huawei E585 'mifi' wireless modem

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!

 

[xrr rating=9/10]

Gary Box

Author: Gary Box. Gary decided for a complete change of lifestyle late in 2009 which resulted in him buying a Hymer motorhome to live in and starting the Motorhome Vagabond blog. A tour of Europe followed in 2010 and he still writes about his adventures. Google

12 thoughts on “Huawei E585 ‘mifi’ review

  • July 25, 2011 at 8:40 pm
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    Hi Gary, Have not see you around the forums for a while. How are you finding the signal on three. I used to use it a few years ago and it was great when you got it but it was a bit spaoradic

  • July 25, 2011 at 9:07 pm
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    Hi Stew,

    I find the signal on 3 pretty good for most of the UK. I like using the mifi wirelessly but it does not allow direct connection of antennas like my E156G dongle did. I understand there are ways to boost the signal of the mifi and I may investigate some of these options for those times when connection is poor or non existant.

    I will email you directly as would like a chat to see how you are getting on etc. It seems you have been doing a self build, something I’m thinking about too.

    Hope the family are well
    Gary

  • Pingback:3 MiFi review by Mobilehome Vagabond

  • August 7, 2011 at 12:42 pm
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    Hi! I just finished a 24 month contract with Three that ended in June, that was £15.99 a month for 15GB usage. I called only to see if it was possible to switch to PAYG, I was initially planning to switch to Sky, and instead took a detour to see what upgrades they had on offer. I had no idea MiFi was even about! I didn’t even have to haggle, the lady on the phone offered to keep my price plan exactly the same as it was, as she said she will do her best to give me a better deal than Sky, and that she will include the MiFi free, but only on the condition that her line manager agreed. From the reviews I’ve read, including yours, I am actually looking forward to getting this device! And It looks like I won’t be switching to Sky after all, which is good for me as I wasn’t that impressed with the thought of getting a line rental. And now if I move, I don’t have any worries about switching everything to my new address. Win-win! I’d recommend Three to anyone, they seem to be one step ahead of the other mobile companies – the competition. ^_^

  • September 9, 2011 at 10:20 am
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    Hi Gary,

    Great site. Could you tell me if you can use this MIFI in europe, and are there any extra costs involved.

    Thanks.

    Pete

  • September 10, 2011 at 2:58 pm
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    Hi Pete,

    Yes no reason why you could not use the device in Europe. Chances are if you bought one it would come locked to that network but it can be unlocked. Once unlocked you then just need to insert the SIM of your choice. Accessing the internet from a UK based network means you are effectively roaming which is VERY expensive so the usual method is to seek out a SIM card from a network operator in the country you are travelling in. I did this myself with a TIM SIM in Italy as I spend quite some time in this country. If you plan to travel from country to country and only spend a week or two in each you might want to consider an alternative way to access the net.

    One method is to buy a wifi ‘booster’ like the Alfa Awus 036H which allows your laptop to ‘see’ wireless broadband signals from a much greater signal. Then it’s just a case of finding an unsecured one, something fairly easy in some countries like Holland and France but much harder in Germany.

    Hope this helps answer your question.

    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond.

  • January 6, 2012 at 7:43 am
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    I’ve been using my MiFi for only a few weeks but I absolutely LOVE IT. I’m on the 15GB tarif which makes sense as myself and girlfriend use it with our laptops and phones connected.

    The set up was unbelievably simple and straight forward. There’s no security worries either as there’s a password for the network so neighbours can’t catch a cheeky unsecured surf!

  • July 1, 2012 at 7:47 pm
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    Got the same set with 15GB and the same modem, Bargain harder if you can, Im only paying £8 per month, on a 1 month contract. Not being tied into a long contract seems to get one better service. They do keep trying to “upgrade” me if I will take a 18 to 24 month contract, but Im quite happy with what Ive got.

  • July 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm
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    Hi,

    If you are getting 15GB for only £8.00 per month on a rolling month contract then you are indeed getting a good deal. I know another person who uses 3 for his mobile phone (not mobile internet) that negotiated his price down once his contract was up for renewal. I’m assuming you got that deal once the contract was about to expire? If you do not need new hardware and don’t need to upgrade then I agree that you should haggle the cost down. In my case the original contract was with a cabled dongle and I’ve upgraded twice now, firstly to a wireless E585 and then to a wireless E586.

    When my current contract is due to expire I will most likely try to negotiate the price down as like you I am now happy with my current hardware.

    All the best
    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

  • June 6, 2013 at 11:52 pm
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    Hi Gary,I’m looking to invest in the Huawei e585 mifi unlocked to use abroad,I travel quite often between Italy and tenerife,and am fed up of using Internet cafes!
    You say you traveled to Italy and used TIM data SIM card,can you possibly advise me on their charges and how it all works if you don’t mind?!
    Any info greatly appreciated as its all new to me!!

  • June 18, 2013 at 11:57 am
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    Hi Esther,

    I’ve replied to you directly about this. TIM offer good coverage and reasonable prices. If you speak Italian visit their website to see what offers exist and find the plan that works best for you. I bought SIM with a month of data which I renewed once as 2 months was all I needed.

    Good luck
    Gary

  • August 5, 2013 at 9:55 pm
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    Hi Gary,
    I’m reading your posts with interest… I have a Huawei E585 and an Italian TIM Dongle/data card… but because I’m not that clever I don’t know how to get it to work in the Huawei.. It plugs in great with the laptop but I want the wifi… any chance you might be able to run me through the settings for it ie advanced settings etc..
    Many thanks and I hope you are enjoying your touring
    Cheers
    Andy

  • August 6, 2013 at 8:30 am
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    Hi Andy,

    OK I did not have a mifi when I was in Italy and had to use the sort of dongle you cable to the PC.

    Having done some research it seems that when you put a sim card info mifi sometimes they automatically configure and sometimes you need to access settings page and enter APN details.

    In Morocco I did not need APN details but I did need access to a PC to enter an unlock number to use the sim (unlocking it via mobile did not allow me to use it in mifi).

    In Iceland unlocking it via mobile allowed me to use it in mifi again without using APN details.

    From what I read TIM in Italy is different. I’d try and put sim in mifi and then connect to it via laptop wirelessly. Whilst you won’t be able to load web pages it should still connect and allow you to enter the huawei settings page which is usually:

    http://192.168.1.1

    Then you need to enter APN details for TIM which you can find on internet, prepaidgsm is good website for this info. Fact you have it working on laptop means you probably entered this info, perhaps via mobile partner software. I’d try and enter via settings page of device as explained above without connecting the USB cable.

    Hope this helps.

    Gary
    The Motorhome Vagabond

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