In fact the Mobile Connect Dashboard is very simple and intuitive to use, much like the original version that I looked at almost two years ago. There is a row of buttons at the top with helpful labels like email, SMS and Web. Clicking email or Web will open up your default mail client and browser, while SMS will allow you to send text messages to anyone directly from the card. You can set up a contacts list for the SMS utility so that it’s easy to text people quickly and easily. There’s also a usage button which will bring up a graphical representation of how much data you have consumed. You can set data limits and date ranges for the usage window, so it’s more of a reminder rather than a cap.
In use, the Mobile Connect card is superb, just like the Web ‘n’ Walk card was. It becomes almost addictive having this kind of download speed available to you wherever and whenever. The Vodafone coverage also appeared to be first rate – I used this card in a number of locations in London and outside the M25 area and never failed to get a strong 3G signal. Even in the TrustedReviews office, which has metal bars on all the windows (they don’t want us getting out), the Vodafone card managed to lock on to a strong 3G signal, enabling the full 1.8Mbit/sec download speed.
It’s understandable why HSDPA has been dubbed Mobile Broadband. The speeds at which you can download large files using a card like this are truly impressive – and not so long ago the Mobile Connect card would have been faster than the majority of home broadband services available.
Vodafone has also made a point of putting no restrictions on the use of the Mobile Connect card, unlike T-Mobile. I was disappointed to find out that T-Mobile’s (undeniably generous) data tariff didn’t include the use of VoIP or instant messenger services. In fact the small print clearly stated that use of these services could result in the cancelling of your contract. Vodafone on the other hand has no issue with customers using IM or VoIP services, which is very admirable. But there is a very good reason for Vodafone’s somewhat magnanimous attitude – cost.