- Lightweight and compact
- Simple controls
- Can connect multiple devices
- Lacks an external aerial
- Long time to charge
- LEDs lack clarity
Review Price free/subscription
3 MiFi Huawei E5830
It seems that 3 can't quite make up its mind about what to actually call this device. On the company's website it's billed as the Mobile Broadband MiFi, while on the box it's simply titled Mobile Wi-Fi. Whatever the company finally settles on calling it, one thing is for sure, it does a hell of a lot more than your standard broadband modem. This is because the MiFi (which is really a rebadged Huawei E5830) combines the functions of a mobile broadband dongle and a battery powered Wi-Fi router into a single device.
The benefit is that unlike a standard USB modem you can connect multiple devices to it at the same time to share the connection. It's handy to have around the home to share broadband with, say, a couple of laptops and an iPod Touch, or business users could call on it to quickly set up a Wi-Fi network at an away site. In fact, the more you think about it, the more useful it seems to be.
What's more, the MiFi's small size means it's very easy to carry around. It's around two thirds the size of an ordinary mobile phone (if there's such a thing these days) and is also extremely light at just 90g, so you can easily stuff it in a laptop bag without worrying about it weighing you down.
The entire body of the device is made from plastic, although the bottom half of the front panel is finished with an aluminium paint job. The white rear cover snaps off to reveal the removable 1500mAh battery and underneath this is the holder for your mobile broadband SIM. The MiFi's controls are extremely simple as it only actually has three buttons mounted on the right hand edge. These are used to turn the device on, start and stop the broadband connection and switch the Wi-Fi on and off. There's also a microSD card slot on the left that acts as a card reader when it's connected to a PC via the mini-USB port on the bottom of the device (which also doubles as the charging port).