Once upon a time, before the the MiFi mobile hotspot came along and changed everything, getting online on your laptop when out and about meant paying through the nose for a garishly coloured USB dongle, installing it on your machine, then wandering around for somewhere where you could surf without the risk of getting mugged. No more. Read our full MiFi mobile hotspot review and we’ll tell you all.
It’s a concept so headsmackingly simple that you wonder what took so long: the MiFi is simply a mobile broadband modem with Wi-Fi, so you can jump online with multiple machines, with none of this 1990s plugging things in lark. Up to 5 machines can log on at once and you all divvy up the connection between you, so it’s great if you find yourself having meetings outside of the office, and you all need to work together.
Set up is faster than Usain Bolt with his laces tied -just turn on the MiFi, and in a few seconds, any device with Wi-Fi baked in will be able to detect it, hop on and browse. You’ll want to set a password mind, as “any” also includes your free download sniffing neighbours too, but that’s easily done. If you’ve got decent reception, it’ll load pages great guns, and stream music from services like Spotify in a snap.
Granted, it’s a little bit bigger than most USB dongles (though hardly any heavier), but considering it doesn’t need to be plugged in to anything it won’t be clogging up the back of your laptop so you can put it where you like. It’ll also plug in to one machine via a Micro USB cable, instantly transforming it into a traditional dongle for solo surfers and when you’re out of battery.
3 unveils MiFi mobile Wi–Fi service
Where it really comes into its own though is if you have a Wi-Fi friendly smartphone or pocket gadget: lashing up an iPod touch to the MiFi to check emails or make Skype calls while hitting up your favourite sites on a laptop is a joy.
If we have any warning, it’s that certain smartphones (Windows Mobile blowers) can do just the same thing for free with the right software. But if you’ve got another phone, there’s no decision to be made. Put simply, if you’re going to fork out for a mobile broadband contract, you need this – there’s just no point in being limited to one stick, one machine anymore.