Most helpful positive review
257 of 263 people found the following review helpful
Virgin Mobile (through Sprint) delivered on this one!
on July 12, 2012
I have to say that when I first considered purchasing this unit I was skeptical because I have family members in my area (North Jersey) who have Sprint 4G (which VM uses) and did not have great things to say about it. Even though I looked on the web site and was covered by the coverage map, I still was a somewhat skeptical but I figured at least I could get a decent back up portable 3g device. The day I received the unit from Amazon within about 20 minutes of un-boxing it, charging it, and going online to VM it was ready to surf, and surprisingly I gotta a pretty decent (not great) 4G steady signal.
This is probably what most people really want to know (me included), with the 4G I'm getting so far I would say that this unit is definitely faster than DSL (digital slower line- like one old cable ad put it) not quite as fast as Cable, and not anywhere near FIOS when its working properly (but is anything for home users). Rather than talk about kbps or MBps I'll just keep it in general terms, most standard 3-5 minute Youtube videos or online news video either partially loads or fully loads (meaning most or the entire video can be played not just the first part) within 5-15 seconds, full HD videos don't fully load quite as fast (more like 15-25 secs) but so far I haven't gotten the wheel mouse of video buffering death that was common with DSL. Webpages including Amazon's load up pretty instantaneously (1-2 secs) depending on the browser (Firefox of course), and sites that are very photo heavy like Huffpost or sports sites load no problem.
If you are thinking of using this to replace your hard-wire internet service I would give a few cautions. First depending on your are you may not get full 4G coverage and the speeds which I've described are with 4G, like I said before and this is only my opinion 3G is like DSL or slightly slower, while 4G is closer to cable. So far I am happy with the internet speeds that I am getting with this unit, but given the option to stay with Cable or FIOS if cost is not a big concern I would. Virgin Mobile (via Sprint) slows down your 4G data rates once you approach 10 GB of data, that is still a substantial amount of data but if you are the type of person who subscribes to Netflx or Amazon video and wants to watch 3 full HD movies every month then reconsider, also OS updates, antivirus downloads (mostly for Windows users) bite into your monthly data usage as well. I would say that at $35 a month (no contract ) for the basic 3G 2 gigabyte/4G unlimited (read slowed at 10 GB) plan you can't go wrong using this device to supplement your current service, and you can put money on the service only when you need to so you could try it for a month then decide if its worthwhile. If you're using this for travel I think you can't go wrong, the size is very portable (see next section).
Size and Battery Life
I'll post the pictures I took but the size if basically 2/3 of a deck of casino cards and about the same thickness. It is small enough to fit in a pocket but with the amount of heat the device gives off I wouldn't recommend it. So far I haven't traveled any long distances (trips) with it but if its like other VM/Sprint devices the coverage for 3G should be excellent in the Northeast and the 4G coverage decent in most city areas around NYC, Philadelphia etc. If you are a person who travels by car, train, or bus I could see this coming in handy but the only caution would be it would be easy for someone to maybe walk away with it in certain places so maybe a belt clip or some kind of attachment devices would work better than the pocket option. I've used it on battery power for almost a solid 3 hours and still had one full bar remaining and the device goes into a sleep mode when no devices are connected to it. You can connect multiple devices at the same time so far I've only done laptop and desktop but any modern WIFI capable device should work no problem.
SECURITY- it does offer 2 types of wireless encryption WPA and WPA 2 Personal, but the stronger encryption is recommended for only newer devices. One plus but at the same time drawback is that it shows the amount of devices and data used and for how long they have been connected on the front L10/28CD panel, but it also shows the password for network that you currently have set up, which is another reason not to let prying eyes see it.
Overall I give this device a solid rating so far for speed, portability, and battery life (even though it runs a little hot), you can run it using a usb adapter connecting so it doesn't have to run off battery. I would just caution anyone thinking to replace their home internet service with it to try it first and see if the speed/data limits meet their needs.
After owning this unit for a few months my initial review and opinion stands. I have had the chance to travel all the way south to Florida and have gotten very good 4G service in some cities, and not so great 3g in other areas. However, there is a word of caution with the battery, I find that while using this for internet service at home either you should use the usb power adapter supplied with the unit (without the battery plugged in the back) or just charge it and use it off of battery power alone. With battery power alone I have been able to get 3 hours of use (when the battery is cool and hasn't been in use, and not doing heavy downloading) and of course with just the usb power adapter plugged in you can use it like any other electric wall socket device. But if you keep the battery plugged in while using the Overdrive with outlet power, like I had been doing, then the device will start to overheat and will start automatically shutting down (or restarting). When this first happened I thought the battery was bad but then I realized that if I unplugged the battery and only used USB/ outlet power, and let the battery charge when I wasn't using the Overdrive (on outlet power), I have been able to get much longer battery life and use out of the device.
Another thing I found is that some people complain of not being able to get 4G service on their Overdrive even in major cities such as ATL,etc. If this happens, before giving up on it you should log into the Overdrive's setting through your computer's or even your phone's web browser (check the documents that came with it, it's really easy just type in hotspot on your browser should do it) and select 4g service preferred under the advanced settings tab ( its located under the 2nd WAN tab). Some people use the 4g only setting, but from my experience the 4g preferred works best because it usually will connect to the 3G network first to establish a connection then connect to 4g if it is available in your area. Hope this info helps, I still recommend the Overdrive pro over about every similar device on the market just because of the price and options for Virgin Mobile's plans...
There seems to be many more negative reviews of this unit lately and many people who've bought it and said that they don't get 4G coverage in their area. I think part of this may be due to the fact that the Overdrive isn't 4G lte (at least that's my understanding ) and Sprint is in the process of making a lot changes and upgrades to their networks from WIMAX to 4G LTE, from what I've read the Overdrive uses the WIMAX 4G and Sprint is changing over to 4g lte. Long story short, when I first bought the Overdrive Pro I got decent 4G coverage some places that I've used it most, the NYC, North Jersey area, and in Florida, Philly,etc, but if you aren't absolutely sure you will get the 4G (not LTE) coverage for your area when purchasing this device then I wouldn't invest any money or time in it. I still get pretty good speed and coverage, but maybe as more people have purchased these the network traffic has increased as well, I don't get any thing from VM or definitely Sprint for my reviews and I try to keep them as honest as possible, I still personally give the Overdrive 4 Stars, but reading other people's complaints I would be careful to buy one if I wasn't sure it would give me the coverage I was looking for.