The Verizon MiFi Jetpack 4620L 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot
MobileHotspot.com’s Newest Choice for Best Mobile Hotspot of 2012.
Nowadays, deciding on the best mobile hotspot is not as simple as looking at the hotspot device itself, but rather the "total package" offered to the customer.
Having a fantastic mobile hotspot device is not enough anymore. The hotspot's mobile provider and their 4G network are equally, if not more important.
Even still, there are other tangibles that must be considered which include the cost vs. benefit of the providers mobile data plans, as well as the current (and future planned) density and signal quality of the providers nationwide 4G networks.
Since 2007, the staff of MobileHotspot.com have reviewed just about every mobile hotspot and portable router made. We have seen devices and manufacturers come and go, along with radical changes like the elimination of fixed-price unlimited mobile broadband data, and the ever increasing expectations for speed and network availability, especially since the tablet and iPad revolution of the past 2 years.
Over the past 6 years, all to often we would encounter some pretty incredible hotspot devices that set the highwater mark for innovative hardware during their time. Disappointingly, many superior products were married to inferior or questionable mobile data plans that we could not confidently recommend as the "perfect hotspot package".
It's not too often we see an offering that hits all the nails on the heads: network performance, features, network availability, data price and policy fairness. Verizon's new Jetpack 4620L Mobile Hotspot is one of these winners.
Does Verizon's Second Generation 4G MiFi get it Right?
It looks like Verizon and their manufacturing partner Novatel Wireless sat up and took notice on the reported annoyances and glitches on the earlier 4G MiFi, the 4150L. So far it looks like they definitely came out swinging with the new and improved 4G MiFi, the 4620L Jetpack Mobile Hotspot. Did they finally hit a home run? Let's take a look.
In late 2010, Verizon released the predecessor of the Jetpack 4620L Hotspot - the 4G LTE MiFi 4150L. Verizon's first 4G hotspot fell into the "almost great" category. It clearly benefited from Verizon's robust and rapidly growing 4G LTE network, and for the most part performed decently.
Unfortunately we encountered one too many frustrating (albeit, fairly minor) issues with last year's 4150L, ranging from problems with USB tethering and battery charging to seemingly random WiFi disconnects and 4G signal drops. Novatel, the creators of the MiFi, seems to have surely did their homework before hitting the drawing board for their new 2nd generation 4G mobile hotspot - even the new name Jetpack puts the finishing touch on this sharp mobile hotspot offering
The list of features on the new Jetpack is virtually a checklist of "best of the best" features we've seen on hotspot devices over the years. This is the first time we've seen all of them in the same device.
Here's a list of features that we feel make the Jetpack an outstanding mobile hotspot.
- Longest battery life for any 4G hotspot we've tested - 9.25 hours in our tests (with ext battery)
- Up to 10 separate users or devices can share a single high speed 4G LTE connection.
- Clear, crisp OLED Display Panel with realtime device and network status indicators.
- Micro SD Slot for 32 GB Memory - create a wireless file share for other users and devices.
- 150 Mbps Wireless-N, enables super fast file transfers between Jetpack Connected clients.
- Realtime, cumulative data usage meter on display panel to help you stay within plan limits
- Available antenna port allows hookup of external LTE antenna for up to 300% signal boost
- Very fast power up, cycle-on and 4G LTE signal lock-in (8 to 11 seconds in our test)
- Smooth and transparent transitioning to the fastest local network: LTE 4G, CDMA 3G or 1xRT 2G
- Data tethering with UBS cable and easy charging options with wall adapter or USB port.
- Worldwide GSM compatible - works in over 90% of foreign counties.
- Integrated NMEA-compliant GPS thru Wi-Fi network.
- Supports advanced security features like MAC address Filtering WPA2 encryption.
- Does not overheat (like the majority of other 4G hotspots) when maxed out on 4G and WiFi.
The Verizon 4G LTE Network (This is where the fun really starts)
But lets make this simple:
If you have a chance to get 4G, make sure it's 4G LTE.
Not to hurt any feelings, but forget AT&T's and T-Mobile's HSPA+ 4G as well as Sprint's 4G WiMax - these are technologies of the prior decade and they're never going to match LTE for speed and responsiveness.
Of the billions of dollars being spend on wireless infrastructure, over 90% is being poured into LTE based technology. If you're going to be investing a couple of bucks a month, wouldn't you want to be in the same corner where the heavy hitters are putting their money?
While it's true that AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint are all building out their own 4G LTE networks, they're realistically 18 to 24 months behind Verizon in terms of nationwide deployment to the extent Verizon has achieved. Do the math - Verizon's got upward of 275 cities up and running with 4G LTE as of the June 2012 - AT&T and the others - less then 50 combined.
The bottom line is this: When you have a mobile hotspot, you need as much backend speed as possible if your going to be sharing wireless broadband to multiple users or devices. Verizon LTE claims it's going to give you the download speeds of at least 5 to 12 Mbps, as well as the most responsiveness (least latency) which is critically important to things like Video chat and online multiplayer games.
Hmmm...you might be thinking that 5 to 12 Mbps is not all that faster than 3G?
In our opinion, Verizon is the only provider that is deliberately understating their 4G speed in claiming "5 to 12 Mbps" speed of their 4G LTE mobile broadband. Don't think your speedtest.net web page or app is broken if you see download speeds of 15 to 40 Mbps when connected to Verizon 3G LTE. These mind blowing warps speeds are getting reported all over the country. Just do a Google search on "Verizon 4G LTE speedtest results" - you'll see what we mean.
In multiple tests in and around New York City and New Jersey, five staff members of mobilehotspot.com reported maximum speeds on Verizon's 4G LTE network of ranging from 14 Mbps to 31 Mbps for download and 11 Mbps to 19 Mbps upload - by way of comparison, these speeds are faster that most residential wired cable broadband.
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