Sierra Wireless Compass 597: itty-bitty EV-DO modem

Sprint_597_02When I purchased my USB 727 EV-DO modem a few months back, I was thrilled with how small it is and compared it to the clunky HSDPA modem it replaced. I don’t know if size matters to you and your modem, but if it does, you’ll want to check out this review of the Sierra Wireless Compass 597 that Geek.com just ran. This USB modem runs on Sprint’s EV-DO network, although I’d expect to see one for Verizon Wireless eventually, and isn’t much bigger than a standard USB flash drive. Like my USB 727, it has a microSD card slot which comes in handy if you want to transfer files from SD to your computer and don’t have an integrated card reader. As stubby as the Compass 597 is, you’d think a minimal antenna would impact wireless broadband speeds, but based on the test results, it appears that’s not the case. With a good signal, speeds were around 2.2 Mbps down and nearly 500 kbps back up. Of course, your mileage will vary based on your coverage area. I like the “TRU-Install” feature: the drivers and software for PC and Mac are stored within the device so you can plug, install and play.As far as the word “Compass” in the product name goes: this modem does offer Assisted-GPS functionality. If this modem finds its way to VZW, I suspect you won’t be able to use that. My USB 727 has integrated GPS features, but Verizon has disabled it, unlike the same modem on Sprint’s service. That might explain why I usually feel lost…

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