The concept of a multifunction device is nothing new in the technology sector. We're more than bored with most multifunction printers, computers are multifunction by design, and although it wasn't that long ago that mobile phones only really did one thing, we couldn't go back to those days now. The Optus Mini WiFi Modem is perhaps the first try we've seen at a portable 3G modem-router that incorporates multiple functions, although not in a way you'd expect. The incredibly reflective surface of the modem also doubles as a compact mirror. So if you've been dying to check the status of your lippy while surfing the web, you now can.
It's a curious decision on Optus' part to use the word "Mini" in relation to its 3G modem, as compared to models such as Vodafone's Pocket WiFi or Virgin's Mobile Broadband WiFi modem the Mini WiFi Modem simply isn't. At 96x57x11.5mm, it's the size of a small smartphone.,
Optus is still a service rather than a hardware company, and while it bears prominent Optus branding on the front, the rear of the Mini WiFi modem reveals its true hardware origins. It's a re-badged Huawei E583C with Optus-specific firmware, and more specifically, an HSPA-capable 802.11b/g router that works, not surprisingly for an Optus product, on the 900/2100MHz wavelengths. Up to five compatible devices can connect to the Mini WiFi at any one time. Huawei's page for the E583C suggests top speed range of up to 7.2Mbps for this particular model. Like many portable modem routers, it's also capable of acting as a storage device via microSD card. If you're working from a system that lacks Wi-Fi, it's also possible to use the Mini WiFi Modem as a tethered USB modem from the unit's mini-USB port.
Despite having such a large display screen, the one thing you won't see much of on the front of Mini WiFi Modem is connection detail. The OLED display takes up a tiny fraction of the front display, and once it's shown the Optus splash screen, you'll be given three small lines of information relating to the current connection.
Optus provides "up to" 8GB of data with a relatively generous six-month expiry, although there's a sting in the tail of that offer, which we'll cover shortly.