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[Review] Vodafone Pocket WiFi (R208)



Vodafone Pocket WiFi (R208)

If you’ve ever needed to use WiFi while on-the-go either on your laptop, or on a non-3G capable device, then the Vodafone Pocket WiFi R208 device is for you!
It also has its own battery to run off on so you can save your smartphone tethering option for later use, or just to save some juice! (no pun intended)

The Vodafone Pocket WiFi R208 is the latest 3G mobility device from Vodafone which supports the company’s fast [up to] 42MBit/s DC HSPA+ network that is available in the areas of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Please note that this device does not support Vodafone’s new 4G network, but a spokesperson for Vodafone said that a portable WiFi device is being implemented.

The device itself, is about the size of a small smartphone and weighs around 145 grams in total. It only comes in the white color, and has a small LCD screen that displays all your icons – signal, WiFi on (and it also shows the number of devices connected with a small number beside the WiFi icon), new messages, and the battery. It also shows you how much Gigabytes you’ve used, and if you double-click on the power button, it also gives you the WiFi information (SSID and passphrase). A WPS button is also included.

The device is charged through a micro USB and has slots for a microSD card and a standard SIM card. It also has a hole in the corner of the device for you to either attach it to a keyring or cord.

If you find that signal strength is not good in an area you’re in, you can attach an antenna to the small antenna connector at the corner of the device.

There was also a portal you could go to, when you were connected to the Vodafone Pocket WiFi, that it would show you more detailed information on your plan, data etc.

I did have a minor issue though. In some urban areas I used the device in (at the same spot without moving), sometimes the device would drop out of a full signal for at least half a minute, then it would automatically go back to full six bars of signal.. Not sure if this was just a lucky device or a bug.

The speeds on this portable WiFi was also good enough to stream a non-HD video without buffering, and the speeds were noticeably faster in central Auckland than in West Auckland, or the North Shore. I did manage to do a speed test on the North Shore, and it did give me a speed of approximately an average of 3.5Mbps down and 1Mbps up. These below average speeds were probably due to the location I was in. (But I was at Northcote shopping center.. to be precise.)

Having said all that, the battery life on this was actually quite impressing! I would be able to leave it on for a full day (from 7AM to 8PM) without recharging, of heavy use and it would just be about dead (with probably half-an-hour to an hour left of juice at 8PM).

So if you do go around either central Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch a lot and stay in hotels with crappy WiFi, then this device would be a no-brainer for you to get!

The device can be bought from Vodafone at vodafone.co.nz and costs $199 for ‘Device only’ and currently (as of the 8th of March 2013) comes with 2GB of data with 2 months to use it, or you can purchase it with an On Account plan for $99.

Disclosure: Vodafone has supplied me this device as a product sample. They were kind enough to offer me some data for the purpose of testing this device.