Today we give you the Vodafone Mobile Wi-Fi R205, or as I like to call it – “the white thingy”.
What is mobile Wi-Fi? Well, it’s a portable router which uses cellular network connection to distribute internet goodness to up to (in this case) five devices. That is, of course, if you’re in a good network reception area.
So what’s it like?
On the outside it’s very neat. It’s quite small (96x50x14mm) and light. White in colour, with a silver-metal effect Vodafone logo on the front. There’s a power button on the right side, and memory card slot on the left side. The display has three lines, which proves to be enough to give you all the information necessary. All in all, it looks a little bit like Eva from Wall-E… or is it just me?
Unfortunately, while it’s a nice bonus if a gadget looks nice, it’s not just about the looks. We need it to work, and we need it to work well.
So, does it work as it should?
Well, partially. I had it with me at all times over few days. Used it at home, used it on the way to work, in the cafes, in the park. So I did use it where it was designed to be used.
Being a mobile Wi-Fi it relies on network availability. Providing you live/work/commute in the area with good Vodafone reception, you should be fine. I did some speed tests when within the 3G area, and it was good. Here’s some screenshots done on Nexus 7.
At some point, I managed to get 3G+ signal, which allowed me to stream Netflix on N7 and it went without a glitch:
Unfortunately, when I ventured into areas with a bit dodgy reception (like Oxford city centre), that’s where the weak points came out. Our mobile Wi-Fi got confused, started showing 3G but refused to serve a connection, then lost the 3G but delivered slow connection. I wasn’t even able to do speed tests there and then. Not to mention the battery behaviour. All in all this device is not the strongest when comes to battery life (lasts about a day on average use). While within a weak 3G signal area, device lost its charge in just over 2h!!
So is it worth it?
In my opinion - not really. See, big minus in all this is that Vodafone charges quite a bit for their data packages. In Oxford, their network is known for being stable the further you get from city centre. Which probably means you’ll be at home. Where you’ll use broadband. Idea behind it is, that you’ll use your phone, tablet, laptop connected to it when out and about, and with Oxford’s reception this is rather unlikely to happen. Besides, one thing we have to remember. This uses 3G network, so technically, you could just use your smartphone and create mobile hotspot, which would do exactly the same job as this device. Only without £49 one off cost and £20 per month on a rolling contract - really, Vodafone?
If you live/work/study in strong Vodafone reception area, you just want to plug in and go and are not really bothered about the cost – by all means go ahead and get it. Probably ideal for businesses and businessmen on the move.
But if you’re like me, and move around quite often, or don’t like paying £20 on top of everything else – just use your smartphone.