Top 5 Mobile Broadband Devices for 2013
Someone give me a drumroll please…
Here are, in order, the 5 smartest Mobile Broadband choices available in 2013 that give you the most bang for the buck. These are the devices and carriers that will give you what you want: the fastest surfing with the least hassle.
Let me first say that the CARRIER plays a HUGE part in my selections here, as it does not matter how great the device is if it’s on a bad network, or a bad rate plan and both of those depend on the carrier. Keep in mind, I am judging the network based on a national perspective, so even the worst network may be the best one for you in your particular city if you don’t travel much. As you do your search be sure and check coverage where you need it. If your carrier does not have LTE coverage in your area in Verizon, Sprint and AT&T’s case or HSPA+ 42Mbps then move on to the next device on your wish list. You can check Verizon or Sprint coverage, or check on the links below.
Interestingly, I do have one device from all 4 national carriers and one device on the top pre-paid option.
1) Verizon JetPack 4620L – Best for frequent travelers, Road Warriors, Home Internet Replacement and Full Time RVers.
The Verizon JetPack 4620L is my #1 option that I would recommend to 4 out of 5 people. The Verizon LTE coverage is second to none. LTE is super fast and reliable with typical speeds of 5 to 15Mbps or more (I’ve clocked mine at over 30Mbps – see cover photo). Even when there is no LTE available, the backup 3G service is solid and almost everywhere humans go in the USA.
The device itself is also top notch. With the press of the power button, you can now create a WiFi hotspot for up to 10 devices to share at the same time. Let the whole family, or small office team all connect to this super fast network. It also has a much better than usual 10 hour battery for truly mobile usage. Plans start at $50 for 4GB and go up in $10 increments for 2GB more per $10 all the way up to $130 for 20GB, so they also offer the largest data plans on the market.
Purchase for FREE from LetsTalk here with a 2 year agreement.
2) Data Jack MiFi – Best for Temporary Users or low usage users who don’t need super fast connections. No Contract. No Cancel fees.
The Data Jack MiFi will actually provide you with the SLOWEST connection of anything on this list. Why do I rank it #2? Because it offers other advantages the others don’t like NO contract, NO credit check and NO cancelation or activation fees. Just want a connection for 2 months? Fine! Use it for 2 months, cancel, and then keep the device ready to activate next time you need it. Simple. Easy. No Risk. It runs on the 3G network from Sprint and won’t pick up 4G speeds, so speeds will typically be 200 to 500Kbps (.5Mbps) with a typical max speed of 1Mbps. Works with up to 5 devices at once. The 5 plans range from $9.99 for 200MB (not recommended – very low amount) to the most popular $49.99 plan for 5GB of data a month.
More info / Purchase from DataJack here
3) T-Mobile Sonic HotSpot (Pre-Paid) - Best for intermittent users who don’t want to be stuck in a contract, but want fast service when they are on a trip or have a special need for Internet anywhere.
The Sonic is clearly the best T-mobile device. It’s the only T-mobile hotspot that is capable of up to 42Mbps (where available) so this alone makes it a must have for T-mobile. Even if you are not currently in an upgraded area, it will only spread over time, so you don’t want to prevent that speed by buying an outdated device and being locked into it for 2 years. The Pre-Paid plans offer either a week pass for $10 or two monthly plans at $30 or $50 for either 1 or 3GB of data respectively, so it’s more expensive than the Data Jack above (but also much faster in most places). If you are a power user with consistent use, it will be cheaper to go with the Verizon option, but if your needs are temporary, then this is a great choice.
4) ATT Novatel Liberate – Best for AT&T customers who live in a good LTE coverage area.
The Novatel Liberate may actually be the best device on this list. However it loses some points for being on the ATT network, which has very limited LTE coverage in comparison to Verizon and only 1 rate plan of $50 for 5GB of service. It sports the most impressive screen ever seen on a mobile internet device and still has very good battery life – up to 11 hours!
5) Sprint Tri-Fi – Best for someone who doen’t travel much but gets good Sprint LTE coverage in their area.
If you need to pick Sprint as your 4G provider because they have better 4G coverage in your specific area(s) that you need, then the Tri-Fi is the best device they offer. Sprint’s WiMax 4G network was frankly a bust, which was why they now switched to LTE like everyone else. The Tri-Fi works on 3G plus BOTH WiMax and LTE, giving you the best of the 3 possible networks. I would NOT recommend a regular 4G WiMax Sprint device, so if you go Sprint, be sure and get THIS device.