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198 of 207 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2011
Knowing that I would be somewhere with no Internet access for a couple of weeks, I researched several "MiFi" devices. Because they were all fairly similar, my choice was based on T-Mobile's 'pay-as-you-go' option.

The 4G Hotspot was a bit more expensive than other products, but I liked the idea of no contract, and being able to buy a gig of data-time for 30 bucks just for the times that I wanted or needed to use it.

My main objective was to be able to send/receive email and text from my iPod Touch and laptop. I understood that with only one gig, I would not be streaming movies from Netflix or watching YouTube videos. For the two weeks that I used it, primarily for email, I used half a gig of data.

Even though I bought the HotSpot from Amazon, when it arrived, I walked to the T-Mobile store in my neighborhood to have it activated. I did, subsequently, have problems setting up the password (and I never was able to change the SSID name), but I called the tech line and they were very helpful in solving my password problem.

The first time I went to T-Mobile's site to check how much data I had used, there was a glitch and it said I had used it all. When I checked the next day, it was working and I was able to see my correct data usage. In general, after getting used to using it, with a bit of trial and error, it turned out to be an amazing product. Almost every place I used it, I received 4G service. It was particularly helpful when I was out and about with my iPod Touch.

It's true, as others have mentioned, that sometimes it kind of "locks," but I found turning it off and then turning it on again (a kind of reboot) fixed that problem. If you have the patience to go through the activation process (I recommend doing that at a T-Mobile store), setting up the password, getting used to minor quirks at the beginning, this is an excellent and extremely useful product.

Also: If you want an iPad with 3G -- or have one without it -- and don't want to commit to AT+T or Verizon, this is a great alternative.
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58 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2012
I was going on trip to Philly from NYC. The device had steady connection all the way down the NJ Turnpike. Facebook/Google Maps/Amazon pages were opening good. Battery life is about 3.5 hours and it does give some heat, but not scorching. I could keep it in shirt pocket. I always turned it off when not in use, so I didn't encounter the sleep problems people faced.

I lent the device to a friend who used it with her Kindle fire and she loved the speeds.


Had problems activating it. I followed the directions but when it got to keying in required numbers (sim and imei) I was missing one in the package. I had to call customer service which was a hassle because I was disconnected twice and oh hold for a while. I would recomend going to a T mobile store to activate. However, setting up the wifi was easy.

The data pricing is lousy. $10 for 100 MBs/$30 for 2 GBs/$50 for 3GBs. It expires 30 days after use. I am just going to use it on trips.

Bottom line: good device for web browsing on the go. Pricy data and inconvenient activation.
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165 of 193 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2012
I loved the idea of a "no-contract, pay as you go solution for mobile broadband". The device generally delivers on this vague concept. Unfortunately, T-Mobile has planted several poo-filled landmines of frustration in your path. They will tear through the arterial wall of your patience with crap-shrapnel. You will not get a purple heart.

The activation process was a bloated rhino carcass of too much time on the phone with an ex-KGB agent named Yuri. I forgot much of the details. But he had to give me a t-mobile phone number that was based on my area code, even though I wasn't setting up a t-mobile phone, just a broadband device. It was a bit like a fever dream. But the device was, eventually, activated.

Then you need to make a MyT-Mobile account so you can self-manage. I like that. Unfortunately, they won't email your password to you if you forget it. Like EVERY OTHER WEBSITE IN THE HISTORY OF THE INTERNET does. It must be texted to your T-Mobile phone. Oh, but what if you don't have a t-mobile phone? You've got to login to the hotspot like you would a router and check your messages there. A fairly simple solution, however, this was all lost on the customer service rep who told me NAY, he needed to "reset my account" and to check back in 72 hours. 72 HOURS. In an age when we zap people out of existence in a matter of minutes from unmanned spy drones on the other side of the world. Anyway, he was not the first T-Mobile CS rep who was full of it.

All of this can be chalked up to a very poorly engineered customer experience and incompetent customer service, neither of which are all that rare with tech-related things.

The real kicker with T-Mobile is a little thing called WEBGUARD that comes pre-installed on their Mobile Broadband devices. I guess it's supposed to "guard" kids from the evils of the internet, which of course they would never seek elsewhere. All it did was prevent me from reading baseball blogs for several days while I tried to get it turned off. You have to give them your name, DOB, address, SSN, urine PH, favorite color and stool sample before proceeding. The CS rep said did it for me. Didn't work. Had to login and do it myself. As of this moment it is still not turned off. I find all of this extremely insulting.

It depresses me to see T-Mobile impose such an transparently conservative and puritanical agenda upon its customers.

UPDATE: 7/27/12

WOW! This thing is really a piece. The webguard thing suddenly turned itself back on, preventing me from uploading a final research paper for an online class. When I log into my account, it says it's turned off. Called tech support, they said wait 2 HOURS, and it SHOULD be off. I've never had a worse experience with anything, even getting mugged on the streets of Oakland was less of a hassle than this. Complete and utter bulls***. So pissed off.

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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 3, 2011
I am savvy enough to root my own Android phone, so I am probably more competent than 75% of the customers who will buy this device, but I have failed completely so far, as I took two hours to figure out how to read a required text message that doesn't display on the device (eventually I found that accessing it on my iPad wasn't possible, but that I could read it on an Android device). I've spent more than an hour on the phone trying to deal with the horrid customer service on different issues, and am now stymied because I can see the field where I should enter the required temporary password that came in the above text message, but I am somehow unable to type anything in that field, despite trying on an iPad and two different Android devices from different manufacturers. The customer service phone number given in the manual does NOT connect you to the right people, and after slogging through an automated voice recognition system, you are connected to an operator who will connect you to the 4G phone service people, who will then tell you that they do not do hotspots, and send you to another person, who will then transfer you to yet another person, and eventually I find myself on hold long enough that I hang up and start over. Before each transfer, the CSRs (who very obviously do not have English as their first language) read a lengthy script telling you that they are not the ones to solve your problem and another department does it, but they will transfer you to another department who will immediately solve my problem because my problem is so important to them, and T-Mobile is committed....blah, blah. Before I abandoned my attempt (after over an hour, most of which was either on hold or listening to CSRs read soothing scripts that had nothing to do with solving my problem, I was interrupting the last CSR as he began his "I'm going to transfer you...." and asking, "Just transfer me!" and he would begin reading the script again from the beginning each time. He did not understand what I was asking, and I'm sure he thought I was being a total jerk. After I spent a lengthy period of time on hold, I hung up. I'm going to cool off for 24 hours, and give one more Boy Scout try at solving my problem. If I don't succeed quickly, this will go back to Amazon. From what I've read, it sounds like it will be a nice device if I can just break through the activation process and the ineffective system of customer service. (Check my other reviews and you will see that I am rarely if ever this critical).

I'm sure I've had a worse customer service experience sometime in my life, but I can't remember it.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2012
T-Mobile Broadband Service coverage is terrible outside of select metro areas. I live in the Denver suburbs and have difficulty getting a 4G/3G signal for broadband services. My mobile phone can show 4 bars and connect fine and the broadband card will not connect even with two bars of signal strength at times. Other times I run into the issues of the device showing its connected to broadband and WiFi, and I can spend 15 minutes trying to actually get the internet to work on my laptop connected to it.

The Customer Service is also terrible, as they told be they don't have a Service Level Agreement (SLA) for the device. Traveling through the central state such as Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois, I am only able to connect in Chicago. Des Moines and Omaha do not work for me.

I would recommend that someone in the market for a mobile broadband card, not use T-Mobile and especially this device.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2014
I purchased this device because of the no contract data plans they had available and because I needed a mobile internet connection. I was visiting relatives and staying in a house that had never been set up with internet. I needed some way to access the web without driving to a coffee shop or paying for a contract.

I got the device home, attempted to set it up, and the connection was so abysmally slow I almost couldn't complete setup. Pages constantly need to be reloaded. The signal constantly dropped out, reset, or just flat out failed to link to anything, and though it is advertised as 4G, I have never, ever, in the entire month I've had this product, EVER had it actually connect at that speed, no matter where I tried to use it. Just to check, I've taken it out around town with me. Even in high traffic, downtown areas where a strong internet connection would be expected, I barely got more than dial-up speeds. Friends with smartphones pulling in data off the same towers as my device, standing right next to me, would be able to get a clean, fast 3G or 4G signal, while my hotspot took 5 minutes to connect to my email's inbox (and usually struggled to do even that).

I'm writing this review from a friend's house, because my hotspot can't load Amazon's website without practically having a meltdown (after struggling along for most of 20 minutes).

It is highly unlikely I will ever purchase a T-Mobile hotspot device again.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2012
Ive been using this device for about a month and I'm very satisfied with the performance. Initial setup was not a problem for me, I was able to configure the device and start using it after charging it up.

For my job I'm on the road a lot so I keep it in the car. My iPad keeps a solid connection to it, and waking it from sleep mode takes probably 2 seconds. The speeds are very surprising and fast! My best speedtest broke the 10mb barrier more than once. Even in an EDGE area the speeds are still not bad.

The pricing tiers are just right for me as I don't need a whole lot of data for my daily needs, I will actually get a cheaper package next month because the tmobile website keeps an up-to-the-minute tally on usage so there's no mistaking it. It's much cheaper than what my carrier charges just to pay for tethering!

The only con I can think of is it gets a teeny bit warm when charging, but it doesn't take long to charge so it's not an issue.

(I've never been told that I need to enter a contract for this. I am a former Tmobile phone customer. The device is assigned a phone number, it has to connect to the servers this way, and the SIM is supposed to be prepaid/no contract)
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2012
Forgive me for writing a very negative review, but honestly there is almost nothing good to say about this product, I have no vested interest in hotspot hardware, software or network services, and I would not want anyone to have the terrible experience that I've had.

In short: (1) horrible, often nonexistent connectivity, (2) a frustrating and poorly-designed Web site, and unhelpful staff.

I just spent a week staying in central San Francisco, having bought this thing to lend a 3G-ness to my Surface RT tablet. I tried using it my classroom, my hotel, on a double-decker tour bus, and in three coffee shops. I never saw more than two bars and often saw none, and I'm pretty no one would characterize SF as a small town. The WiFi had the same problem -- put the hotspot more than six inches away (literally... I measured it) and I was down to 3 or 4 bars from my PC's point of view.

Then there's the T-Mobile Web site. I bought a $35 "fill up" card, and the site didn't like the code. A person at the T-Mobile store on Market started to help me, but when he realized I was a pay-as-you-go customer told me that he couldn't help. So I got on the Web site and added $50. No change. $50 more, and I finally was granted the right to connect at one or two bars in one of the most tech-accessible cities in the country.

The next day, I visited the Verizon Wireless store and got a hotspot that seems to work everywhere. Verizon's Web site is also byzantine and hard to navigate, but I ended up with the right hotspot for my needs -- CDMA and wide coverage in the States, and not-horrible GSM data options for roaming when I'm in Europe.

I hope this saves someone some time and gnashing of teeth.
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45 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2011
Terrible T-mobile website design and customer service. Took many attempts to activate device through their poorly designed website. Website instructions for activating were unclear. Kept asking to register new phone number of device to activate. To get phone number, had to figure out how to log onto device as administrator to view text message that contained phone number of device. Found solution buried deep in customer complaint forums. Then to buy prepaid minutes pass, would not accept any credit/debit cards I tried, had to set up a checking account transfer using routing/check numbers (electronic check). Also website did not display metered usage of data until I had about 20% left. Also, by default, a feature called "web guard" is enabled on the device, so could not even view my states lottery web site because it was filtered! Suppose to be able to turn the web guard off through website after filling out an age verification form that errors when submitting. Google on the web about the same experiences people had the same as I. Should have researched more b4 buying. That said, once device was painfully activated and topped off with prepaid credit, performed as advertised, was fast! To me, not worth the hassle that I went through, not to mention, it is not cheap to operate, went through 30 dollars for 1 GB of data in about 4 days of light usage. Please research other options b4 considering this prepaid plan.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2012
If you understand your own surfing needs you'll get the most out of this.

I decided to try this out because I'm in transition. I'll be moving out of state soon. And I know I'm crazy, I don't have a smart phone. As of yet. I'm not ready for one and I won't go into here.

I have intermediary computer skills. Meaning I can troubleshoot things like a laptop and I can set up a basic home network. Or at least google a blog to figure it out. This this is truly plug and play. Follow the directions and you'll be fine.

I try not to be obsessively on the world wide web. If you know your surfing habits than this can be a real investment. If you're a gamer an insane social networking/twitting/youtubing fool than don't get it.

I did some researching and I just had to finally bite the bullet and try this puppy out since I wasn't going to sign up for a wireless plan (which is usually contractual) knowing I'd be leaving the state soon. That's more work I don't need. But I wanted some internet at night. I have to curb my own vices. :)

It is true. The batter life is short if unplugged. But the charger converts to usb. So just plug it into your laptop usb and you have that fixed. No big deal.

At the moment I'm living in the country. And yes, I did that thing people do...I turned my laptop on when I moved to my buddy's place and attempted to see if anyone had a wireless connection unsecured. :) Guilty. And funny enough people in the country, (where I live) don't care for internet. Which lead me to purchase this item.

I was skeptical (even when I went on t-mobiles website to check the coverage and it said the area was covered) because it was the country.

I didn't have high hopes I just wanted to do basic things. I just wanted to do things like stream youtube and check email. And I am that patient type that buffering does not bother me. I was actually expecting that when I bought this.

It worked great. I only had 2 bars on the 4g network and it acted like a wireless service. In the previous place I lived (which was in a 3rd floor studio) my land lady's router was a straight shot to my computer but two floors below in a really old home. With the help of the internet I found a cheap fix of created a parabolic foil attachment to the antenna and got my full four bars of wireless connect. With all that said, the 4G hotspot (with it's 2 bars) was a little better than my land lady's connection (that had the foil attachment lol)

Email - check
Streaming netflix no buffering - check
Streaming youtube no buffering - double check

One minor con:
It goes to sleep if your away for awhile even if plugged . You have to wake it up by hitting the power button. No big woop!

This is probably the best no contract hotspot around. I'm sure there will be something that will come out better. That's how technology goes. Until then I recommend this item. And if you wait long enough the price will go down, I'm sure. Still a good investment for the price.
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