Sierra Wireless Compass 885 Mobile Broadband USB Modem Review - Sierra Wireless Compass 885 USB Modem Review


Naturally, to get your mobile broadband up and running you have to place your SIM card in the dongle. This slides into a spring loaded push slot just above the USB connector. As with many of the latest dongles, the 885 can also work as a microSD card reader or you can simply leave a memory card in it so it doubles up as a USB memory key. Memory cards are pushed into a spring-loaded slot just underneath the SIM card holder and when they’re loaded they appear to your PC or Mac as a standard removable drive.

The only other outwardly notable features on the dongle are the two status LED lights at the top and a small antenna connector hidden behind a rubber flap on the front side edge. The latter allows you to connect the dongle to an external aerial in areas with poorer signal coverage.

As with pretty much all the latest mobile broadband dongles there’s no installation CD included in the box. Instead, the modem has a small amount of built-in memory, which is used to store the various software and drivers needed to get it working with your computer. All you have to do is plug the modem into a spare USB port on your computer and as long as you’ve got autorun turned on your PC the install will kick into action.

Along with the actual drivers for the dongle, the installer also loads the Sierra Wireless 3G Watcher application. This resides in your system tray ready to spring into action when needed. Essentially 3G Watch’s role is to let you manage your mobile broadband connection as well as send SMS messages via the dongle. The main window shows you the current signal strength, whether HSDPA, 3G or GPRS is currently being used for the connection, and also the number of megabytes sent and received during the current session.

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