Terrier Tech: Samsung Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot
Wi-Fi on demand is nice, but not worth the price
This week “Terrier Tech” reviews a mobile hotspot. For students living on campus, Internet access is free and it’s everywhere. But for laptop users who live off campus or are on the go, wireless access may not be so easy to come by. Buying a data plan may seem like a practical move. Unfortunately, that convenience comes at a high cost.
We tested the Samsung Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot, available for $19.99 through Amazon Wireless with a new two-year contract, or for $299.99 for the device only. The Jetpack is compact, intuitive, and fast. Hit one button, look up the password on the back of the hotspot, and you’ll have steady Wi-Fi for up to five devices.
The Jetpack’s 4G speeds proved to be as good as BU’s free Wi-Fi at its best, and with some exceptions, the connection quality was consistent. Very few areas we tested gave us 3G speeds or no connection at all. We are confident that the hotspot will meet most students’ wireless needs, although we wouldn’t recommend using the Jetpack for hosting data-intensive activities such as LAN parties.
While the Jetpack fits nicely in a backpack or a back pocket, its battery won’t last all day. Usage time clocks in at just over 3.5 hours, which is more than adequate for spending the afternoon at the park with your laptop or providing friends with Wi-Fi at the odd coffee shop that offers none. A handy AC adapter makes charging and longer-term use a breeze.
For all of its speed and ease of use, the Jetpack has a drawback: it lacks a practically priced data plan. Verizon’s mobile broadband plans run from $50 to $80 a month for 5GB and 10GB of data, respectively, with an overage fee of $10 per 1GB.
“Compared with, or in addition to, the cost of a data plan for a smartphone, that equals a lot of dollars out the window,” says “Terrier Tech” host Warren Towers. “Mobile hotspots are a godsend for users who need Wi-Fi wherever they go. However, until wireless companies start offering unlimited plans and stop the greed, hold off on the purchase for now.”
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