I have been trying to find a good way to connect wirelessly with my MacBook Pro to carry on conversations with Kevin Tofel so we could record the MobileTechRoundup podcast and as you know I haven't been having great luck with LTE on the ThunderBolt using the WiFi hotspot utility. The Charge was working until the date bug kicked in (and still has not been solved yet) so I continued to look around. T-Mobile sent along their new T-Mobile Rocket 3.0 USB stick with support for their latest 42.2 Mbps network upgrade. You can check out a few photos in my image gallery and read about my experiences below.
|Image Gallery: Check out a few photos of the T-Mobile Rocket 3.0.|
Features of the T-Mobile Rocket 3.0The T-Mobile Rocket 3.0 is a fairly compact USB stick with a USB male end that rotates down from the body of the device. The retail package comes with three changeable faceplates in blue, purple, and black. While the Rocket 3.0 is designed to be used with the 42.2 Mbps network, it also supports T-Mobile 3G and EDGE data networks and WiFi. A microSD card is integrated into the Rocket 3.0 so you can store documents, images, videos, and more and use the Rocket as a USB storage drive too. The dimensions are 3.4 x 1.1 x 0.5 inches and 1.1 ounces.
The software is loaded on the Rocket 3.0 and includes both Windows and Mac OS X utilities. There are two tabs so you can manage either WiFi or T-Mobile data connections and it is straight forward and easy to use.
The Rocket 3.0 has a full retail price of $199.99 with a $100 discount when you sign up for a 2-year contract. Available monthly plans include 10GB for $84.99, 5GB for $49.99, 2GB for $39.99, and 200 MB for $29.99. Plans include access to T-Mobile WiFi hotspots as well. There are no overage charges, but if you exceed the purchased allotment your speeds may be throttled down. It looks like the 5GB plan is probably the best for most people with moderate to heavy data needs while the 200 MB plan seems ridiculously expensive.
Performance resultsI have been seeing 20+ Mbps download on LTE with the ThunderBolt and Droid Charge over the past couple of months and when you can get connected the speeds are amazing and addictive. Verizon's LTE is a 4G technology while T-Mobile's fast HSPA+ is still technically a 3G technology, with 4G marketing and partial performance, so I wasn't expecting too much from T-Mobile. I conducted several tests with both the Droid Charge and T-Mobile Rocket 3.0 connected to various servers with the SpeedTest.net site and application from Ookla. I was in both a LTE are with a strong signal and in an area where the 42.2 Mbps T-Mobile network has been rolled out and here are my results: