20 Jul 2011
The folks at @WindMobile hooked me up with their Mobile Internet Stick a couple months ago to test out. I was contemplating posting this a while ago after I had a week or so to toy with it but instead opted to really give it a run for it’s money and run it through the gauntlet to give you a full review.
It comes in a nice package which contains the Wind Stick, manual, terms of service and mine included the SIM card to activate it. Pretty simple to get it all setup. Once you put the SIM card into the stick and then connect it to an open USB port it installs the software needed to run the internet. Then you’re off to the races.
Now, the Wind Stick runs on 3G. It’s advertised speeds are 7.2Mbps Download, and 5.76Mbps Upload. As a result, people shouldn’t expect this to replace their home internet at this time. It’s a “Mobile Internet” stick for a reason.. take it on the go. Something that’s complimentary to your home high speed.
I really ran it through it’s paces though.
- Browsing/Email: Ran fast. No real difference between this and a high speed connection.
- Torrents: Download was very slow and browser performance slowed. Obviously.
- Youtube: Required buffer time. A 3 minute video clip took about 45 seconds to load 75% of the way.
- Twitter/Facebook: Tweetdeck with it’s live updates performed beautifully. No slow down.
So for heavy users/media streaming… not going to make you happy and some will get frustrated. We all get mad when something doesn’t work NOW… and right NOW… NOW. We’ve got all this technology and we all get grumpy when something doesn’t work instantly. It’s probably a sickness haha. But yeah, that’s how people are.
With Speedtest.net I was able to get up 5.2Mbps, though the average of the 10 tests I did came to 4.5Mbps Down. Upload was actually pretty nice! The high was 3.2Mbps and averaged 2.9Mbps. That’s actually a faster Up speed than my home high speed!
Ultimately, it’s a pretty cool little supplementary tool for the person on the go. I go to Starbucks and use their wifi, but other times I’ll go somewhere else that doesn’t have free wifi and this was very useful! (Now if only I could connect it to my iPad…) The Wind Internet Stick currently has a promotion for unlimited bandwidth for $29 a month which looks to be a very nice deal.
Again, this isn’t a replacement for your home internet but rather a complimentary product when you leave your house. No contract with WIND, so could be a good thing to keep around and activate it for a month when you think you’ll need it most – for example when you’re moving and waiting the year it seems to take for these home internet companies to hook you up.
Performance: B (B for Download, A+ for Upload… overall a decent performance for people with patience. Streaming a little testy.)
Value: A- ($0 WindTab for the Stick and $29 a month for Unlimited Data, that price is limited to the next 12 months.)
Features: A (Connects to the Internet, what else do you want?!)
Overall: B+ (A good buy for someone who works mobile. No replacement for home/work internet though. Insurance Internet perhaps if your internet provider goes down, you move, power outage etc.)