For many people, MiFi gives a whole new mobile internet experience. MiFi allows you to take the internet with you in your pocket wherever you go. Basically, you buy a MiFi device from a mobile phone service provider, as well as deciding on whether to sign a contract or to have PAYG (pay as you go) service, in the same way as you would with a mobile phone. Then, when you're out and about and need a mobile connection you switch the device on.
The MiFi device taps into the mobile service provider's 3G network and creates a mini WiFi hotspot. You simply wait for your laptop or iPad to detect this wireless signal, and you're free to browse the internet. It's a simple and elegant solution for mobile internet use that doesn't even require any special software. Recently, Vodafone have announced an upgrade to their MiFi device. They will now be selling and using the Huawei R205, rather than the older Huawei R201 model. If you already have a MiFi device, you might be wondering whether it's worth upgrading. And if you don't have one, you might be choosing between these two devices. So here's a closer look at the new Vodafone MiFi device and what it has to offer.
What's New on the R205...
The R205 is definitely sleeker and more stylish than the older version, and more in keeping with the MiFi devices offered by other networks (Vodafone's older model was a little clunky looking compared to others on the market). But there are a few functional differences as well. The R205 supports data download speeds of up to 21 Mbps, and is also lighter than its predecessor, coming in at 80 grams versus the R201's 90 grams. When you need to carry a device in your pocket, that extra weight really matters. You now get an OLED display on the device to show data usage. And you can also download both Android and iPhone mobile apps that will show the status of your device, which is a nice touch.
What's Not So New...
There are a couple of small disadvantage to the new model. Firstly, it hasn't really upgraded its basics all that much. It's still a standard five connection device, and has the same old four hour battery life. Plus, the older R201 model supported US 3G frequencies. The new model does allow international use, but in the US its functionality will be limited to EDGE speeds (850 MHz). Then, of course, there are the problems with choosing the Vodafone network. The device comes for an initial upfront payment of £65 plus a tenner top up charge. After that data tariffs are a little expensive when compared to other networks. 2 GB of data per month will cost you £15 on a contract, or you can pay a fiver for 250 MB of data on PAYG. There are more generous deals on other operators.
Should I Upgrade?
If you're buying new, go for the newer model. If you're upgrading, no, it's probably not worth it. There just aren't enough new features to warrant paying for a new model. Our advice is to wait until 4G connectivity becomes easier, and invest in a new model then.