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Three MiFi Huawei Wireless Modem E586 review

The best way to get mobile broadband for tablets and laptops?

Our Verdict

For

  • Hugely easy to set up and use
  • Light and portable
  • Good connection speed

Against

  • Awaiting HSPA+ rollout

The way the tablet market has shaken out, it looks like those who want 3G built into their iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will have to pay a hefty price for the privilege (on the iPad, for example, having the option costs an extra hundred pounds). And that's before you get to actually paying the networks.

The MiFi was introduced as a cunning way to reduce this cost, and not just for tablets, but laptops, media players anything else Wi-Fi.

What devices such as the Three MiFi Huawei Wireless Modem E586 do is connect to mobile broadband, and act as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to five devices, making it ideal for Wi-Fi-only iPad owners, or even iPod touch users.

As you might expect, you've got your choice of monthly or pay-as-you-go plans, with the MiFi E586 costing around £90 on PAYG with 3GB of data for three months. The contract pricing hasn't been announced yet, but the previous model, the E585, was free with a monthly package.

Three mifi 586

You may be asking that, if there's already a MiFi out, what's new about this one? What does the extra digit in the 586 get you?

Aside from a small redesign of the front fascia to being all glossy black, and the addition of a Key button that shows you the SSID and WPA key for connecting to the device, this is an HSPA+ modem, offering up to 21.1Mbps download speeds.

Three is rolling out HSPA+ to its networks during this year, so there's no guarantee yet if you'll be able to get that sort of speed in your area (and even you are in the right area, odds are you won't get that much anyway), but being future-proofed for more speed is no bad thing.

Three mifi 586

The MiFi is nice and light, weighing just 81g, so you won't really notice it if you just sling it in a laptop bag or in your pocket.

On the side of the MiFi is an on/off switch, which you press once quickly to see the OLED display, which we'll go into on the next page. On the bottom is a micro-USB port for charging or making a wired connection to a computer.

Three mifi 586

There's also a microSD card slot, which supports cards up to 32GB. The idea is that you can share files stored on the card with the devices connected to the Wi-Fi network.

In the box you get a long USB cable and a short one, a mains plug, and a charging cradle for proudly displaying your MiFi to all.

Tech Specs

Product TypeWireless Router
Broadband Transmission TechnologyCellular
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g
ISM BandYes
UNII BandNo
USBYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyHSDPA, EDGE, GPRS, HSUPA, UMTS
Product FamilyMiFi
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 2100, WCDMA 900
Wireless Transmission Speed54 Mbps
Brand NameThree
Form FactorDesktop
ISM Maximum Frequency2.40 GHz
ManufacturerHutchison 3G UK, Limited
Product NameMiFi Wireless Router
Product LineMiFi
Manufacturer Part NumberE5830
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.three.co.uk