I was never really motivated to get one of those 3G laptop modem cards, partly because you have to fit it to a single computer. This means one person at a time, and to boot some of the cards have format restrictions like Express Card, PCMCIA, etc. And then you have this weird appendage sticking out of the side of your computer, just waiting to get snapped off.
When I saw the MiFi 2200 however I was immediately intrigued. We have a family road trip coming this summer and I’ve been thinking about how to stay connected without hunting for spotty Wi-Fi everywhere we go. So I bought it and am blown away…
First of all, Verizon’s 3G network is all that they’d have you believe: good coverage from what I’ve seen and speeds comparable to basic DSL or cable service. The Novatel device (MiFi 2200) itself rocks: It is shirt-pocket small, chargeable via USB and has its own battery (~4hr life) to work untethered. It can install its own software to your PC via USB so no disks. It runs cool so you can put it in a water-proof case in a boat and not worry about it cooking itself. Oh, and it supports 5 separate PCs at one time, via Wi-Fi.
This opens up the use cases significantly over a wireless laptop card: My wife’s iPod Touch is now truly mobile. My Wi-Fi blackberry now has an alternate coverage provider besides T-Mobile. My Macbook Air (which sports only one pop-out USB port and therefore is NOT a good wireless card mounting platform) now has an effortless companion link to the internet. We’ve already found ourselves taking this device on business trips, on random outings and even to the kids’ weekend swimming classes as a way to send email.
I remember my first digital video recorder and how it felt like a reckless purchase. It turned out to redefine the way I interact with TV. I think this device has the potential to do the same for the way we interact with the internet. I’ve already cancelled one of our less fruitful wine club memberships to offset the $60/month Verizon data plan, I’m hooked.
on 2009-06-25 23:43 by Christian
Update: I still love this device but I should point out that under heavy use it does get warm and has no forced cooling to keep it out in the open. If placed in a case it may self-cook before you realize it.