Earlier this year, the Sprint Overdrive 4G mobile hotspot device was released with great fan fare. The Overdrive is a hockey puck sized device that creates a WiFi hotspot for up to five devices. The difference between the Sprint Overdrive and other so-called "MiFi" devices is that it provides not only 3G speeds, but it also utilizes Sprint's 4G network where available.

According to Sprint, 4G connection speeds can be up to 10x faster than 3G. Sprint's 4G network isn't available nationwide, but it is continually adding coverage to new cities.

You probably have a wireless router at home or in your office that allows you to connect your laptop or other devices to a WiFi network. The Sprint Overdrive essentially works the same way only without the wires, it gets a signal directly from Sprint's network. What this essentially means is that you can have completely mobile WiFi at DSL speeds (when using 4G). At those speeds, doing things like streaming video on your computer become very practical.

The device itself is simple. There is an LCD display on the top that shows signal strength, battery life and connectivity. On the bottom, there is a Micro-USB and microSD card slot that can be used for shared network storage. It measures roughly 3" by 3" and is 1/2" thick, making is small enough to throw in your bag when travelling. Depending on your usage, the battery can last anywhere from 3-4 hours.

The Overdrive is also easy to use. Just press the ON button and the device will automatically connect to 4G or 3G and create a WiFi hotspot. Access is protected by a code that can be seen on the LCD window on the top of the Overdrive. Enter the passcode on your device and voila, you are connected. There are no drivers or anything else to install, meaning it will connect anything that can connect to a WiFi network (iPhone, Mac, PC, etc...).

You can get one now for $50-$100 with a 2-year contract depending on the discounts that are available. With the contract there is a monthly price of $59.99 which includes 5GB of 3G usage and unlimited 4G usage. The Sprint Overdrive is a great option if you can make use of the 4G connection, but if you can't you can want to look at other options. Virgin Mobile offers a 3G only MiFi with unlimited usage for only $40/month with no contract. 5GB is sufficient for most people that want to check email and do some light web browsing, but if you intend to stream video or do heavy downloading you will quickly burn through the cap and additional charges over the 5GB cap are steep.