During our test period using it in East London we managed to clock up an average download speed of around 1.8Mbit/s, with the highest in our test coming in at 2.2Mbit/s. For uploads we got around 0.25Mbit/s. This is pretty much in line with what we'd expect as 3's network is only capable of a maximum speed of 3.6Mbit/s, with the company stating that it expects users to get up to 2.8Mbit/s.
Wi-Fi support is limited to Wireless B and G, as the latest and faster N standard isn't supported. As the device is small and lacks an external aerial you wouldn't expect its Wi-Fi range to be as good as a standard, larger Wi-Fi router. However, it's range wasn't all that bad as it managed to cover most rooms in the three-bed, Victorian terraced house we tested it in, although at the further extremities its speed and signal strength did drop off pretty dramatically.
The MiFi takes quite a long time to charge, but once it's full of juice it'll keep running for around five hours, which is good but not great. Furthermore, when its running on battery power it'll turn itself off after a short period of time when it detects a long lull in Internet activity, which isn't ideal when you simply want it to stay active over a working day. That said, running it from the mains using the small mobile phone-sized charger will prevent the MiFI from powering down.
We were very impressed with the MiFi. It's extremely small, very easy to set up and use, yet delivers in terms of performance. It really is incredibly liberating being able to get all your devices online, via your own personal hotspot, pretty much anywhere you can get a mobile signal. If you're thinking of getting mobile broadband, we'd seriously suggest you get the MiFi instead of a bog standard USB dongle.
The MiFi device is also currently available:
From free on £12/month, 18-month contract, with 1GB data and 20 text message allowance every month.
From free on £17/month, 18-month contract, with 5GB data and 20 text message allowance every month.
At £99.99 Ready-to-go, preloaded with 3GB data (top-up and convert to add-on when preload runs out).