The software has also been updated significantly since I reviewed the last Mobile Office Card. The new interface is clean and simple to navigate and it’s now possible to send text messages while you’re connected to the Internet – a feat that was beyond the original hardware/software setup. Another major issue that I had with the original software was the fact that the signal strength indicator wasn’t real time – basically it showed you the signal strength at the time of connection and stayed that way. This was probably the most bizarre feature I’d ever seen on cellular device, but thankfully this problem has been resolved and the signal strength indicator in the new software is real time.
The software application runs in a small floating window. The central portion shows your connection type and your signal strength indicator, while the disconnect button is to the right of this. Below this are your usage indicators, showing you how long you’ve been connected and how much data you’ve transferred. At the bottom is the main row of buttons – the Internet button gets you online, the Text Messaging button opens up a window from which you can send SMS messages, the Internet Email button opens up your browser at the Orange web-mail page and the Office button allows you to configure remote connection to your office network. The Help and Settings buttons are pretty self explanatory.
Now, we’ve looked at a couple of Orange 3G products in the past and the biggest stumbling block has always been the actual network coverage. When Benny reviewed the Sanyo S750 handset he found it almost impossible to find 3G coverage, making the device close to useless, and when I reviewed the last Orange Mobile Office Card I had a similar experience. However, I have had no problems at all getting a 3G connection with this new card. I’ve used the card at home in West London, in Central London and up North in Bolton – in every location the card connected at full speed over 3G without ever dropping down to GPRS. Even in the TrustedReviews office which is a notoriously hostile environment for anything wireless the Mobile Office Card managed to lock onto a 3G signal, and although it sporadically dropped down to GPRS, it renegotiated a 3G connection whenever possible.
In use the Mobile Office Card feels very fast, just like a 3G data card should. Performance was at least on a par with my Vodafone card, a feat that the previous product had no chance of achieving. I had no problem browsing the web, using POP3 email and sending the odd SMS concurrently. Quite simply, the Mobile Office Card does exactly what it’s supposed to and it does it very well.