8 Comments

Summary:

Sprint has been rolling out its 4G network rapidly all over the U.S., and it’s now lit up in my home town of Houston. The Overdrive 3G/4G device is now calling my name, and loudly. It may be bye-bye MiFi for me, and soon.

Sprint 4G thumb

I have been a happy user of the Verizon MiFi since its release last year. The mobile 3G hotspot has come in handy more times than I can count and I have easily gotten my money’s worth out of the service. I never would have thought the day would come so soon that I would be considering canceling the MiFi account to move onto something else, but that’s exactly what I am doing today. Sprint has been rolling out its 4G network rapidly all over the U.S., and it’s now lit up in my home town of Houston. The Overdrive (sound will play) is now calling my name, and loudly.

The Overdrive with the $60/month data plan provides the same EVDO Rev A. 3G service as my MiFi — along with the same 5 GB cap — but adds unlimited 4G service where available, plus 300 MB of roaming on Verizon 3G network when needed. All of this is the same monthly price as my Verizon 3G-only plan provides now.

The only negative that emerges when comparing the Overdrive to the MiFi is a lower battery life — 3 hours vs 4 hours — but the Overdrive has a user replaceable battery, so I can pick up a second one. The Overdrive can also be used while plugged in, so it’s not a deal breaker. Throw the Overdrive’s GPS into the mix and it becomes even more of a no-brainer.

I was getting excited about using the MiFi with the Wi-Fi iPad model coming my way, as the 3G network is pretty fast and will work well with the iPad on the run. Now I’m getting downright giddy at the thought of those 4G speeds doing the same. It’s the best-case scenario for mobile usage on the iPad, and all the other devices I use.

Why not just wait for the HTC EVO that is coming this summer with integrated 4G hotspot capability? That’s a fair question, but the Overdrive is available now and the EVO is not. Plus, when I tested the Verizon mobile hotspot on the Palm Pre Plus with similar functionality, it rapidly drained the phone’s battery, and I suspect 4G on the EVO will be even worse. With the Overdrive, my phone won’t be affected, yet I’ll have the same ability. Oh, decisions, decisions. Truth be told, I can always swap the Overdrive for the EVO later. :)

  1. same price, more data, GPS and a user replaceable battery. Don’t forget it’s also the same monthly price as the Verizon MiFi.

    I say go for it, but wouldn’t it be great if you could tether your iPad to a laptop… With a 3G model and GPS, that would be the perfect solution. For now though it’s just a dream. :(

  2. You might want to wait before getting an Overdrive, James. They’re extremely buggy right now, and far less reliable than the MiFi. I bought one after seeing them at CES, but returned it less than a week later and reattached my Sprint MiFi back to my account.

    Check out the threads here and you’ll see what I’m talking about:

    http://www.evdoforums.com/viewforum.php?f=33

    Sierra Wireless is trying hard to get the issues sorted out, and they have released a few patches already, but there are still too many quirks. I have Clear 4G here in San Antonio, and it would get a perfect signal and great speeds, while the Overdrive sitting in the same spot would have a low signal and slow speeds, using the same network that is shared between the two companies.

  3. I would rather get a 4G-only device, since the only reason they include capped 3G is to cover the gaping holes in their 4G coverage. But even then, I still can’t purchase anything because So Cal is still yet to be included in their 4G coverage area.

    It’s also rather large, the MiFi is much smaller than the overdrive and easily pocketable.

  4. Ivan Samuels Monday, March 29, 2010

    don’t let go of your mifi yet. we have really good 4G here in Atlanta. i tried the Overdrive and had numerous issues. the deal killer: when you start up, it takes much longer to boot, as compared with my Mifi. i always found myself waiting to start. beyond that there were technical problems. i would charge it all night. take it out with me in the morning. turn it on and nothing happens. i swapped it out after experiencing this issue several times. Then i had the same issue with the replacement. after that i returned the overdrive. i am keeping my Mifi and love it.

  5. You lucky dawg. Wish i had choices like that. I bet you can hardly slow that iPad down once you connect it to your WiMax service.

  6. Yeah, read the forums before making a purchase. I almost pulled the trigger, but the Overdrive seems to have probs…

  7. That is awesome. I’m still on a phone and a data plan that I got almost 7 years ago. Needless to say while I cannot upgrade to a trendy HTC Hero, I was able to switch out my old PCMCIA card for a MiFi just over the weekend; man am I hooked. I get horrible coverage with Clear (an account for $35/mo that a friend and I split) in Central Texas so I was reliant upon my Sprint 3G, but I also have a T-Mo iPhone 3G, sans the actual use of 3G due to that damn AWS. The MiFi has been great keeping me connected at work and my iPhone at 3G speeds. Now only if they would have made turning it on not so “in your pocket”/”in your bag…ooops, I’m on now” friendly. :)

  8. Hi, I have a few questions about your use of the Mifi. What is your actual use (amount of GB per month) on it? Also do you know what is your data rate for a skype call? Data plan are pretty bad in Canada. There is no unlimited offering, and the limited one are high priced.

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