Pros - The Verizon Wireless Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot 890 L is a well-engineered and handsomely crafted mobile router. It offers a blazing 4G connection for up to 10 WiFi devices. For anyone willing to sign a new contract, the price is fantastic.
Cons - The Verizon Wireless Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot 890L is considerably larger than other mobile routers and battery life was less than expected for a device of its size.
Worth it? - The Verizon Wireless Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot 890 L is a great choice for frequent travelers (with an expense account) as Verizon's data plans are limited and pricey.
Verizon unveiled two Jetpack branded routers at CES 2010, the Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MiFi 4620L by Novatel Wireless and the Verizon Wireless Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot 890L. The well-received 4260 came out just a bit earlier this year, and now the 890 is making an indelible mark on the mobile router scene. The Verizon Wireless Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot 890L is a very attractive piece of hardware, perhaps the sexiest mobile router on the market.
The 890L is definitely fun to look at and hold. Weighing in at 4.8 ounces, the 890L is a thin, square box 3.5 inches on either side and 0.71 inches in thickness. It isn't the smallest router out there, but by no means does it feel large or heavy. The black front and back are shiny enough to reflect your face, and the bright red trim is a nice accent. The front of the router has a square LCD that shows all the information you need. The attractive and easy to read OLED screen displays battery gauge, 3G/4G signal strength, number of connected WiFi devices, time, message queue status etc. To preserve battery juice, the screen will automatically turn off after 30 seconds, but a simple press of the OK button located directly below the screen will immediately turn it back on.
UP and DOWN buttons are located to either side of the OK button and are used to navigate further into the various settings menus. While the device has a very nice Web interface, the onboard device settings are so excellently designed and self-intuitive that you'll rarely need to use the Web setup. Everything can be managed from the device diplay panel and button controls. On top of the router is a power slider. While most mobile routers use a 'long press' power button, the power slider makes it practically impossible to turn on or off by accident. The 890L took between 7 and 13 seconds to make a full power-on cycle, and acquire a 4G LTE signal. This is a bit faster than other 4G mobile hotspots we've tested, and about the same as Verizon's other Jetpack, the MiFi 4620L.
Located next to the power switch is an industry standard Micro USB port for charging the device via the included USB and power adapters. The Micro USB port is for charging only, as the The Verizon Wireless Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot 890L does not support USB tethering. The battery compartment is accessible by removing the back cover. Powering this beauty is an average sized 1700mAh lithium ion battery. 6 hours of continuous use is quite impressive, but considering the fact it is slightly larger than most mobile routers, a larger battery could have been used to increase usage time. Underneath the battery is the SIM card slot. The battery door has a sturdy feel and the battery fits snugly into the battery bay. Overall the 890L looks and feels solid and well engineered.
The Verizon Wireless Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot 890 L couldn't be easier to set up. The SIM comes pre-installed in the router, right out of the box. Simply turn it on and within in seconds it is connected to the network. Information printed on the back and behind the battery cover gives you the device ID and default WiFi password to begin connecting devices. To change default password and device ID you simply point a browser at 192.168.1.1 and enter the default log-in password which is the same as the default WiFi password. From this Web interface you can change the device ID, default encryption key and encryption method (WEP, WPA, and WPA2), default log-in password, default network name, and access the router's other features such as text messaging, port forwarding, and MAC address blocking.
The Verizon Wireless Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot 890L supports an impressive list of cellular technology bands, including CDMA (1xEV-DORev.A/Rev.0: 800/1900 MHz), Quad Band GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900MHz), Quad Band (HSPA+/UMTS 850/900/1900/2100 MHz), and 4G LTE (700 MHz). That level of cellular support makes the 890L a great choice for traveling internationally due to its ability to roam almost anywhere. Additionally, the user can purchase a more affordable local service and swap the SIM card. While connected to a 4G network, the router can have up to 10 WiFi connections with internet access. While connected to a 3G network, only 5 of those connections have internet access with the rest having access to the local network only. The router supports the Wireless-N protocol with up to 150Mbps data rate and the effective range is approximately 150 feet meaning you can easily travel from room to room without losing your connection.
Performance and Data Plans
During the testing phase 4G coverage was found almost everywhere, and the only drops to 4G LTE occurred while traveling between cities in a moving car or train. Depending on where we were testing it, The 890L averaged between 6 and 17 Mbps for download speeds and 4 to 11Mbps for upload speeds.The Verizon Wireless Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot 890L has two data plan options. Verizon offers monthly plans for $50 and $80 with respective data caps of 5GB and 10GB. Each additional gigabyte is $10 with either plan. These data caps unfortunately limit the effectiveness of this device because at the 890L's high speeds these limits can be hit in just a few hours.
If the cost of a data plan is no issue, the 4G LTE speeds of the Verizon Wireless Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot 890L are really worth it, and the price tag (under $50) with new 2 year agreement for a device this good can't be beat. For heavy users, the 10GB/$80 per month plan works out to less than a penny per megabyte, not too bad considered the size and strength of Verizon's relatively large LTE 4G network. The ZTE manufactured 890L mobile hotspot device covers all based when it comes to features and ease-of-use.
Bottom line: Verizon's newest member of the Jetpack family of portable hotspots in definitely a winner.