New Novatel MiFi Hotspot Is Top-Notch
Let's list the ways in which the new Novatel MiFi improves upon its predecessor, which Verizon Wireless made available around April 2011:
Bigger battery: The old one had a battery sized at 1,500 mAh, which is average for most smartphones. It was the equivalent of outfitting a decent-size car with a one-gallon gasoline tank. Most people won't be happy with such a small battery, given that their devices will be dead by lunch.
Anyway, the new Novatel MiFi has a much larger battery than its predecessor -- 3,000 mAh. Although this remains smaller than an ideal size of at least 5,000 mAh, it's a dramatic improvement and yields class-leading battery life.
- Faster boot-up time: The on/off button now feels a lot more solid, and upon turning it on or off, the desired reaction happens faster. Small point, perhaps, but you notice it every day, and it makes a difference.
Always-on numerical battery indicator while charging: Every mobile device should have this. The new Novatel MiFi is the first device I've seen that simply displays the percentage charge ("43%") -- plus the fact that it's charging -- on its display while it's plugged in.
That's the information I want to know, and I don't want to have to press a button to see it. I also don't want to see some bars that leave me guessing about the percentage it's charged. And I don't want to have to remember what a light means depending on its color or whether it's blinking or steady.
This simple feature is a major crowd-pleaser that I hope will take the mobile industry by storm.
- Connecting more devices: The previous one talked to five; this one talks to 10. For a pro, this was a must, and long overdue.
- International compatibility: This new version also includes GPRS/EDGE/HSPA so that it will work in many countries outside the U.S. The older version worked outside the U.S. in -- at best -- a few, mostly obscure, countries.
- 802.11n: This is the newer WiFi standard that improves both speed and reach. Achieving this improved performance used to carry a power (battery) performance penalty, but thanks to the WiFi industry and Moore's law, this penalty is now mostly gone.
So those are the six major upgrades in this newest Novatel MiFi device.
What about the speeds? As with all things cellular, they vary all over the map depending on where you are (even a few feet can make a material difference) and what else is going on on the network.