4G Hotspot Summer Takeaway: Options for Staying Wirelessly Connected

 
 
By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2012-06-01
 
 
 

Sprint Tri-Fi Hotspot

Sprint sells the Tri-Fi, which can connect to 3G, LTE and WiMax, for $100 after a $50 mail-in rebate and with a two-year service agreement. Data plans start at $35 for 3GB of 3G/4G data and climb to an $80 option. In keeping with Sprint's "green" initiatives, it comes in a box that's made of 30 percent recycled paper, is printed in soy ink and has a glue-less construction.

Sprint Tri-Fi Hotspot

Sprint Tri-Fi Hotspot

The battery, which lasts eight hours, by Sprint's count, adds a bit of heft when connected, but it is really no hassle to throw into a computer bag or suitcase.

Sprint Tri-Fi Hotspot

Sierra Wireless Overdrive Pro 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot

Sprint also offers the Overdrive, another Sierra Wireless–made device, though this one connects up to eight devices to 3G or 4G WiMax. It sells for $50, with a two-year agreement and after a mail-in rebate. Data plans to go with it start at $35.

Sierra Wireless Overdrive Pro 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot

AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G

AT&T's Elevate can connect up to five devices to AT&T's 4G LTE network, with 3G as a backup. With no commitment, it's priced at $270. With a two-year contract and an online discount, you can pick it up for $70.

AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G

Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot 890L

The global-ready Verizon Jetpack can get you onto Verizon's 4G network—the largest LTE network around. While $250 at retail, an online discount and two-year contract can knock down the price to $20. Verizon's 4G plan pricing will apply.

Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot 890L

Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot 890L

Here, another view of the Jetpack, which measures 3.5 by 3.5 by 0.71 inches, weighs less than 5 ounces and offers up to five hours of battery life.

Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot 890L

T-Mobile Sonic 4G Mobile Hotspot

T-Mobile's Sonic lets a user connect up to five WiFi-capable devices to its 4G and 3G networks. After an instant online discount and a mail-in rebate card, the price drops to $100. T-Mobile's overage-fee-free broadband plans start at $40 a month for 2GB of data at 4G speeds.

T-Mobile Sonic 4G Mobile Hotspot

Virgin Mobile Overdrive Pro 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot

Virgin Mobile calls this "4G on the fly." No contract, no activation fees, just connectivity to Sprint's 4G network (WiMax for now) for $150. Virgin's contract-free monthly plans start at $35 a month for unlimited 4G data where it's available.

Virgin Mobile Overdrive Pro 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot

Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200

The Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200 is arguably the sleekest-looking of all—but there's no little window with 1998-era font telling you how much data you've used, or what state the battery is in, like there is on the Tri-Fi. It's also all 3G, all the time. Still, there's no contract, it can connect up to five devices and it sells for $100.

Virgin Mobile MiFi 2200

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