Review: Verizon Samsung 4G mobile hotspot (Verdict: essential)

Review: Verizon Samsung 4G mobile hotspot (Verdict: essential)

Summary: A portable hotspot like the SCH-11 is especially compelling for users of iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, because you can replace monthly data plans on several iPhones and iPads with one 4G hotspot data plan

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If you travel even a little, you know the value of having a mobile broadband connection. Although WiFi is more pervasive than ever, so is security -- which means that many hotspots that I stumble across (at least here in the eastern U.S. anyway) are private.

Travelers that just need a slurp of Internet access, at a layover for example, are forced to pay exorbitant rates for pay-as-you-go access. Wireless providers at airports and train stations have a captive audience - and they know it.

Enter the Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot (SCH-11) from Verizon Wireless (PR). It's the fastest mobile hotspot in the U.S. and one of only two things that I will actually turn around to retrieve if I forget it at home (the other is my bluetooth headset).

Did I mention that it's fast?

The Sammy SCH-11 is much faster than the insanely popular 3G MiFi2200. In fact, it's the closest thing to lightening in bottle that I've ever seen.

While most 3G MiFi devices get around 1Mbps down and 500Kbps up, the Sammy 4G hotspot is specced at 5-12 Mbps down and 2-5 Mbps up. While a 5x increase is certainly attractive, I think that VZW is unpromising and over delivering. I'm routinely getting 17 Mbps down (7 Mbps up) on the Verizon LTE network in the Philadelphia metro. Yep, that's 17 times faster than 3G. (Sometimes I get over 20 MBps peak.)

The major caveat here is that 4G/LTE coverage isn't built-out like 3G coverage. Currently Verizon has LTE coverage in 45+ markets and 60+ airports. (You can find out if you've won the 4G lottery by entering your address in the VZW 4G LTE coverage locator.) The good news is that it steps down to 3G when not in a 4G covered area.

A portable hotspot like the SCH-11 is especially compelling for users of iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, because you can replace monthly data plans on several iPhones and iPads with one 4G hotspot data plan. Mobile 4G pricing is $50 for 5 GB or $80 for 10 GB per month, with overages costing $10 per extra gigabyte.

The breakeven point is at four devices, which at $15/month would add up to $60/month on separate data plans. And let's not forget that its 4G, which makes a huge difference if you live in a covered city.

No ones likes data caps, but they're probably a fact of life in an age of YouTube, Netflix and Hulu. While not ideal, you can train yourself to live within 5-10 GB per month. Just don't expect it to replace your home Internet connection, although you'll be tempted.

It's not for everyone, but if you're a traveling Willbury like me, you should stuff a Sammy 4G hotspot into your gear bag -- pronto. It's saved my bacon more times than I care to admit and the 4G speed will satisfy even the most demanding bandwidth habbit.

Update: Here's a chart comparing bandwidth of the current crop of 3G and 4G devices from the CNet review of the SCH-11.

Topics: Samsung, Mobility, Verizon, Wi-Fi

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13 comments
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  • RE: Review: Verizon Samsung 4G mobile hotspot (Verdict: essential)

    I got one of these 2 months ago. It is truely amazing how fast it is. I tricked a couple friends at my house a few weeks ago. When they came over I had my netbook and laptop connected to my 4G hotspot but they did not know. They surfed the web and did email, forums etc for over an hour. I told them we were connected to my 4G hotspot and they were blown away.
    tgschmidt
    • RE: Review: Verizon Samsung 4G mobile hotspot (Verdict: essential)

      "A portable hotspot like the SCH-11 is especially compelling for users of iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, because you can replace monthly data plans on several iPhones and iPads with one 4G hotspot data plan"

      This is not true for the iPhone! Neither AT&T nor Verizon will allow you to purchase or have an iPhone without a data plan.
      Masari.Jones
      • RE: Review: Verizon Samsung 4G mobile hotspot (Verdict: essential)

        @Masari.Jones You can step it down to the base data plan.
        Champ_Kind
    • Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

      How come my Verizon mifi, and that of others, below, shuts off all the time?????
      Anyone considering going this route - do your homework -
      verizonmifisucks
  • RE: Review: Verizon Samsung 4G mobile hotspot (Verdict: essential)

    Sounds great, unfortunately I do not live in an area that has 4G. While it looks like a nice device I?ll have to pass on it at this time.
    Rick_K
  • RE: Review: Verizon Samsung 4G mobile hotspot (Verdict: essential)

    I got an HTC Thunderbolt for this since it had a $30/mo *unlimited* data plan. Too bad it consistently dropped network signal after a couple of minutes.
    ramatsu
  • RE: Review: Verizon Samsung 4G mobile hotspot (Verdict: essential)

    For the same price I opted for the Verizon-branded Novatel MiFi 4150L. Speed is similarly fantastic. The MiFi has a removable battery and allows one to create an ad-hoc network amongst up to five devices which makes it great for a small offsite work group. My understanding is that the Samsung unit does not have these capabilities.
    rdy2retire
  • RE: Review: Verizon Samsung 4G mobile hotspot (Verdict: essential)

    i've had both this device and the novatel mifi 4g device with verizon. both have their own pros and cons -- i currently only have the mifi and am satisfied.

    if you decide to get one, i'd be more than happy to offer you my 50% discount. email me at jpham.group@gmail.com
    jphamgroup
  • less expensive, better service - NOT NOT NOT

    Funny, I can't find a negative review of this device/service. Mostly I can't find it because I can BARELY get website access! Went into a Verizon Wireless store to buy 2 new phones. They sold be my Samsung hotspot claiming, "it will be cheaper and faster for your home internet service for your laptops." IT IS NEITHER. Once I figured it all out, it was too late to return the equipment (14 days only). I have gotten nothing but run around after HOURS on the phone w/ tech support and customer service..... promising ghosts of "repair tickets" that are supposed to look at the area service. In fact once they told me THEY COULD NOT FIND MY HOUSE! That was only after a week of waiting for them to call me back. Funny, my old college roommate did w/ his GPS. I have been w/ Verizon since the days of the brick sized phone, both for my business AND personal family phones. This has not worked for me. Beware... do your homework... make sure it's gonna work for you.
    wagpete
    • LOL!

      I'm sorry but it has taken me WEEKS to fully complete a review because the Verizon Mifi piece of crap always shuts off! I feel your pain!! Shame on Verizon for selling something that doesn't work the way it should - and for the author of the glowing review - apparently not much research was done regarding customer satisfaction!
      verizonmifisucks
  • RE: Review: Verizon Samsung 4G mobile hotspot (Verdict: essential)

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    beatrs
  • I have been using the Verizon 4G LTE Hotspot Verdict: Inconsistent

    This thing does not work consistently. Since getting it I have been on the phone with the Helpdesk over and over again, because it just turns off and sometimes will not allow another connection unless the computer is re-booted. I also have had problems with it toggling from 3g and 4g. I downloaded the firmware upgrade, and it still keeps dropping the signal and shutting off. It is extremely frustrating when you are trying to get work done!
    Happy if it works
  • Of course they give it a good review - It's a Sponsored Link -

    From a user - It's a piece of CRAP! Do not waste your money! While you pay for it 100% of the time, it works maybe only 50% of the time - Shame on Verizon for selling a piece of garbage!!
    verizonmifisucks