Portability & Verdict

Gordon Kelly

By Gordon Kelly



  • Recommended by TR


Our Score:


Theoretical maximums are never achieved (typically 40-50 per cent is realistic), but we did clock download speeds of up to 8Mbit and averaged over 5Mbit in areas of strong signal. This represents a sizeable step up from what can be realistically achieved by 7.2Mbit MiFis, mobile phones and laptop dongles. Of course there is a significant caveat to these figures and that is they are hugely signal dependent. Much like any network Three has a number of black spots around the country and it is vital to use the carrier's coverage checker before considering a purchase.


The Three network has come in for criticism over the years and there are certainly places where signal can be lost entirely. Frustratingly there is also no way of knowing if this has happened without checking the E586 screen as connected devices simply show a strong WiFi signal. On the flip side we were impressed with how often the 'H' (for HSPA+) popped up on the E586 display. We are based in central London, but Three has promised to keep rolling out the standard across the country and claims real life speed increases can now be found on up to 40 per cent of its network. Ultimately performance will differ widely from place to place, but the added value of HSPA+ is certainly very real indeed.

What also impresses is the portability of the E586. In physical terms the E586 only weighs 90g which makes it easy to carry in a pocket or bag, but equally important is its battery life which we found to last a little under five hours with heavy usage (and unlike dongles it isn't sucking power from your devices). Furthermore Three quotes up to 100 hours on standby which means you can throw the MiFi in a bag without a charger if you only plan on using it for short periods throughout the week.


Lastly we come to the issue of cost and thankfully Three has no unpleasant surprises waiting. As the smallest of the UK's major networks it regularly competes through price and here is no exception. Pre-pay fans can get the E586 for £84.99 along with 3GB of data that is valid for three months. A 30 day rolling contract for £15.99pm gets you 5GB per month with an upfront cost of £49.99 for the E586. For those not adverse to longer contracts the E586 is available for free on tariffs as low as £10.87pm for 18 months which provides 1GB of data per month. For heavy users £18.99 per month for 24 months gets you the E586 free and a healthy 15GB monthly data allowance. For light Internet users in areas of good signal this makes the E586 a viable alternative to a fixed broadband connection and one you can take anywhere you go.


Three has landed something of a coup with the Huawei E586 MiFi. Its HSPA+ coverage is far from universal, but where it is available the E586 enjoys speeds which are a vast improvement over standard 3G. The E586 is also stylish, light and well made with an excellent OLED screen which provides all the at-a-glance information you need. Technophobes will be happy the E586 works out the box, while technophiles will delight in the wealth of advanced settings and Three adds a cherry on the top with a variety of flexible tariffs. If you regularly carry multiple devices - or plan to - the E586 is a no brainer.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Usability 9
  • Value 8


October 13, 2011, 12:49 pm

I have the Dongle version of this on HSPA+ and it really really works well. On a train journey from Glasgow to Manchester it only stopped working on the internet a couple of times, far far superior to my old Vodafone 3G dongle. My company has also supplied me with the Vodafone version of the MiFi and it is utter rubbish. I can rarely get a signal when I do its like running in treacle, yet at exactly the same time I can get a download speed of 8Meg on 3 dongle (www.speedtest.net)


February 12, 2012, 11:56 pm

I am very disappointed with my new E586. The thing is generally fantastic, however, it has one major fault: it's not possible to access the SD card wirelessly on this model as it was with previous models. I feel like I bought a Ferrari only to find the steering wheel missing. Surely wireless access to files on the SD card must be a major attribute for a device like this and to exclude this function from the dashboard(web based control panel) a major oversight or an incredible blunder. To rub salt into the wound, I have seen E586 Mifis being sold on the Internet with this function enabled. What were Three thinking with this new dashboard? I can only hope a new dashboard is made available and the "steering wheel" is replaced so that E586 users can make the most of their devices.


August 4, 2012, 4:37 pm

This device is no good if the n/w is not supporting HSPA+, which it is not .

Beware of e586, the device will give you good speed only if the n/w supports HSPA+. Three has not upgraded their entire network to HSPA+. Also they don't provide you any details as in which area is upgraded and which area is not. I leave in TW3 London, which is not upgraded as per 3 support i am getting only 1-2 mbps of speed. Three support is telling me that if I get > 400 kbps you are good, if that is the case why are you selling 21mbps device with Premium tag line and a message '40% faster'. On asking this questions 3 says, what we are saying is device is faster that doesn't mean you will get a 40% faster speed.

My vodafone dongle on 3G/HSPA is giving me 2-3 mbps much better than e586. Three is unwilling to help as per their standard the 1mbps speed if good. Also not taking the device back, so think twice before buying it from 3 UK

If you are planning to buy the device better confirm it from 3 Store or Customer support about HSPA+ upgrade in your area.


November 6, 2012, 4:07 pm

I've had this for a couple of weeks now on 3 UK and find it really excellent. I commute from Cambridge to London and there are only a couple of places where it drops out for a short while. That's much better than the Vodafone dongle I used to have and loads better than my Vodafone iPhone 4S which spends most of its time saying there's no service at all even for phone calls.

It's revolutionised my journey to London.


November 5, 2013, 3:28 pm

Can I use it with Vodafone sim card or any sim card with 3G

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