I have been a happy user of the Verizon (s vz) 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 (s s) 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 (s aapl) 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 (s palm) 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. :)