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Summary:

I’ve been e-mailing James and Matt during the day asking about their HSDPA bandwidth speeds on the HTC Advantage. I’m sold on adding another 3G modem to the stables here since I gave up my Verizon EV-DO modem almost a year ago. The Sierra Wireless 875u […]

Sierra_aircard875u_lI’ve been e-mailing James and Matt during the day asking about their HSDPA bandwidth speeds on the HTC Advantage. I’m sold on adding another 3G modem to the stables here since I gave up my Verizon EV-DO modem almost a year ago. The Sierra Wireless 875u has my eye right now since it’s a USB modem that will work on both Mac and Windows PCs for me. Plus, it’s a Class 6 HSDPA device which supports download speeds at up to 3.6 Mbps; real world speeds are likely to be half of that (at best) depending on coverage areas.

The HTC Advantages are showing speeds around 700 kbps for the guys, which is nearly what I had with EV-DO, so I’m all set to add the new modem as early as tomorrow. But wait. Now an HSUPA modem just crossed over from the land beyond the FCC. HSUPA supports up to double the HSDPA download and up to 1.5 Mbps upload, provided the network is equipped to support it. Buy or wait? Wait or buy? Oh it’s a cruel, cruel mobile world….and yet another reason I strongly dislike two-year contracts; the technology is changing much faster than 24-month cycles. I may end up buying this for the full $299 price to avoid the contract; with contract it’s $149.99. To add insult to injury, there is a $100 rebate but that’s only applicable with the two-year commitment. With the tech cycle churning faster and faster, I think it’s time for the Feds to look into the length of contract terms….

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  1. Kevin: I have a magic word for you: EBAY… not only you will get it cheaper, but you may be even able to get it unlocked… I really loathe the 2-year contracts !!!

  2. So is this USB or express card or both? I don’t understand the description at all.

  3. for tax man:

    “since it’s a USB modem that will work on both Mac and Windows PCs for me. “

  4. @Taxman: That particular unit is USB, but there are ExpressCard to USB adapters out there.
    http://www.everythingusb.com/synchrotech_microu2e_usb_to_expresscard_adapter_13054.html

    Some USB modems such as the Sierra 595U (Sprint EVDO) has a battery in them which probably sucks up less power from your computer.

    As for Kevin, I’m worried too. I definitely want a dedicated data plan but worried about contracts and new technology like WiMax coming out soon.
    Also, it would make sense to get a USB modem to use on all my devices, but I really want a internal or PC card/ExpressCard solution. There’s a possibility if I get a USB modem and then buy a device with an internal card, I could call up Sprint and have them point my plan to the new device.

    I looked into the Sprint corporate discount page and didn’t see any signs of a 2-year contract, but I’m not sure.
    So ya.. wait or buy now?

  5. Are you positive it’s USB? From the product description that Kevin linked to:

    “The Sierra Wireless AirCard 875U provides the ease-of-use and familiarity of USB technology while offering you advanced data performance. Take your notebook mobile as it is designed to work with PC Card or ExpressCard slots…”

    So WTF? It says USB, PC Card, and ExpressCard all in 2 sentences. My BlackBook not-Pro doesn’t have any of those card slots nor does my Q1 so it’s the reason I ask.

  6. You’re right. That is confusing. I’m pretty sure it’s USB only though. Here’s a review.
    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,2156458,00.asp

  7. “I may end up buying this for the full $299 price to avoid the contract; with contract it’s $149.99. To add insult to injury, there is a $100 rebate but that’s only applicable with the two-year commitment. With the tech cycle churning faster and faster, I think it’s time for the Feds to look into the length of contract terms…. “

    How about looking into this option- take the contract and if you want to end it early pay the early termination fee. They are usually around 175.00. Since you mentioned the price difference was 150.00 and a rebate of 100 bucks, I’d go with the 2 year committment as long as the fee to terminate the contract is less than 250 you’ll still come out ahead and if you wind up keeping the device, you’ll come out way ahead.

    Just a thought!

  8. Kevin C. Tofel Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    The modem I referenced is a USB modem however it also has a cradle which is unique and possibly useful. Dave H: you’re right. After I posted this, I did the math and it’s actually cheaper to buy the modem with contract/rebate as opposed to buying at full price. Thanks!

  9. Wait or get it now?

    It totally depends on where you live and what you are planning to do.

    If you live in a city/metro where technology tends to land first (I.E. SF Bay) then I would say wait.

    If you are planning to do some heavy internet use like downloading/uploading large files, I would also say wait.

    If you live in an area where technology is slow to get out and you are not doing “heavy” things on the internet when you are away from a hotspot or home line, then I’d say get it now.

    I live in the SF Bay and we tend to get technology fairly quickly, at least from what I’ve observed and I currently own a Spring EVDO USB Modem and it is awesome. I don’t use it though for heavy internet use… mainly just email and light surfing.

    Hope this helps!

  10. OK. You have to buy it and write about the experience, since you have tempted me with it now.

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