First Look: Sprint MiFi 2200
The Sprint MiFi 2200
A little while back Sprint (and Verizon) each released a personal, portable WiFi hotspot called the MiFi 2200. The MiFi 2200, made by Novatel Wireless, takes a carrier’s 3G network and lets you use it as a WiFi hotspot where up to 5 WiFi devices can connect simultaneously. Recently we got our hands on one for a little bit, so we knew after testing it out we need to report about it back here. Check out our full first take after the break.
Since we only had a few minutes with the device we’re not gonna go full out review here. However, we will share some of our thoughts on it, which are definitely very positive.
Beginning with the device’s design, it seriously looks like a little thick credit card, something that you just put in your pocket (maybe even your wallet) and take with you. It’s battery powered and insanely light. I walked around with it, and didn’t really even notice I had it– that’s how light it is.
Setting up the device was a breeze, and I set up a secure WiFi network within 10 minutes of first unboxing and turning on the device, a far better setup time than some of the regular wireless networks I’ve done in the past. The included Quick Guide is very simple and straight forward, and you should be up and running on a secure, encrypted WiFi network within moments of setting up. You didn’t even need any software to install on your computer– all you need is a computer (Mac, Windows, maybe even the iPhone and iPod Touch) with a web browser (I tested set up on a Mac using Safari). You connect your computer to the default network that comes on after you first turn it on, enter the web site they direct you towards, and the guide walks you through the rest. It really is so simple and easy.
Now let’s go to the good stuff– how this performs when devices are connected to it.
In my test, I found this to work phenomenally. Loading sites like ESPN and TeenTechBlog on my computer in well under a minute, and even playing an ESPN video took under a minute of clicking on it. It all depends on how much coverage you have, but in the spot where we tested this (where I usually get horrible Sprint service– 2 or 3 bars at best), I got 4-5 bars, which means your definitely getting a great antenna in here. So even in some of the tougher places where you don’t get great coverage, I wouldn’t be shocked if you find that this gets much better.
A SpeedTest.net Test of my speed on the MiFi. As you can see, for a place where Sprint coverage isn’t the best, I got some pretty solid speeds (and no, I wasn’t even near Philly when I did this– I was in NYC actually– I guess that where Sprint’s main towers are. That was the only “issue” with this test)
I also connected my iPhone and my brother’s iPod touch to the MiFi to see how well it handled portable devices. Not surprisingly, it handled them as if they were regular computers and the iPhone and iPod connected in a second, just as they would to a regular WiFi network. I opened up some web pages there as well, and they too loaded very quickly. Now here is the most fascinating thing of my brief hands on trial: using the MiFi and iPhone together to make calls. Yes, I pushed things a little bit seeing if Skype (which only works on WiFi) would work with the MiFi and Sprint’s 3G network, and guess what– it worked perfectly. I called a couple people (like our editor Charlie), and calls on both ends came in crystal clear. So yes, if you wanted an iPhone without AT&T, just get yourself Skype, a MiFi and an unlocked iPhone or iPod Touch (you’ll need a headset with a mic for the latter–a built-in one is rumored to arrive to the Touch next week), and you should be good to go. This all should also work with Verizon’s MiFi, so yeah, you could then use the iPhone on a non-AT&T network.
Skype on iPhone using the Sprint MiFi’s WiFi– and it worked perfectly
All in all, the MiFi is a pretty cool device, and if your looking for a data card to take with you (for example, taking around school), I would definitely look into getting one of these.
The MiFi 2200 costs a very good price of $99 on a 2 year contract $50 mail in rebate and $59.99 5 GB a month data plan from Sprint (meaning you have a maximum cap of 5 GB– so I wouldn’t recommend this to go download a bunch of movies or play a bunch of Halo online– or you’ll find yourself with a pretty high bill). You can check it out here.