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T-Mobile's new, versatile Samsung LTE Mobile HotSpot Pro (model SM-V100T) is designed to provide two things that many need when out and about: fast Internet and extra battery life. And it delivers.
This is the first mobile cellular router I've seen that can also work as a juice pack. And despite the sizable 3,100mAh battery on the inside, the device remains very compact, smaller than a few other hotspots I've reviewed.
In my testing it offered very fast T-Mobile 4G LTE Internet access to up to 10 Wi-Fi clients at a time; charged any mobile device that uses standard USB charging; and, when used as a juice pack, could provide enough juice to fill up an iPhone 5 from empty while still working as a mobile router at the same time.
My only complaint is the lack of a touch screen, which makes it inconvenient to change the mobile router's settings. All things considered, though, even at the current rather hefty one-time cost of $170 (or $50 down payment plus $5/month for 24 months), the Samsung LTE Mobile HotSpot Pro is still one of the best deals for mobile users, and if you're also looking for a juice pack, there's no other option better than the Samsung LTE Mobile HotSpot Pro for now.
Compact all-in-one design
The Samsung LTE Mobile HotSpot Pro is unlike any other cellular mobile router I've seen. At a glance, it sure looks like one, being about the same shape and size as the , slightly thinner, in fact. It also comes in black with a red stripe running along its sides and is a fingerprint magnet.
On the inside, however, the Samsung comes with a much more powerful 3,100mAh battery. And there's more: the red stripe conceals a red USB cable that helps makes the little router so unique.
You can easily peel this red cable completely off the device's side and use it to charge it using a USB port (the router also comes with a separate power adapter and another standard USB cable). Or you can just pull out its Micro-USB B-male end to charge another device while you're charging the the HotSpot Pro via its regular USB female port using another USB cable. This is because the other end of the red cable actually goes into the little router's A-female port (similar to one found on your computer), which no other mobile hot spot has. And with this port, when you're out and about, you can use the HotSpot Pro as a portable juice pack to provide your smartphone or tablet with much-needed extra battery life when need be. And when you're done, you can easily put the red cable back onto the side of the little router.
|Dimensions (inches)||3.53 X 3.88 X 0.52 inch|
|Cellular||GSM Quad(850/900/1800/1900), UMTS(850/1700/1900/2100) LTE(700/1700)|
|Wi-Fi||802.11a/b/g/n 150Mbps, selectable dual-band|
|Clients supported||10 concurrent Wi-Fi clients |
|microSD card slot||Yes, as a card reader only, no streaming|
|Cost||$170 or $50 plus $5/month x 24 months|
|Monthly data cap and cost||500MB, 2.5GB, 4.5GB, 6.5GB, 8.5GB and 10.5GB for $20, $30, $40, $50, $60 and $70, respectively|
When connected to a computer, apart from charging its internal battery, the HotSpot Pro can also work as either a microSD card reader or a tethered modem. By default, the former is enabled but you can change this option via the router's Web interface. In my trial, however, the tethering option is currently disabled; perhaps because T-Mobile doesn't want it to work as a tethered modem.
And finally, as its main purpose, the HotSpot Pro is a mobile cellular router that connects to the Internet using a 4G LTE (or 3G when you're outside of 4G coverage) connection and shares that with up to 10 other Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
A straightforward, non-touch mobile hot spot
On top, the HotSpot Pro has a 2.2-inch QVGA screen that displays the signal strength, connected clients, battery level, data meter, and any awaiting text messages. This screen is completely static, meaning you can't change anything about it since it's not touchable (like the case of the ) and there's no navigation button.
The only buttons that the hot spot has are the power button (which you need to press and hold for few seconds to turn the device on or off) and the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) button, which starts the two-minute window when other WPS-enabled Wi-Fi clients can enter its Wi-Fi network. And these are actually all you need to get started. Out of the box, you just need to turn the mobile router on and you're good to go. If you have devices that don't support WPS, the default Wi-Fi network information, including the network's name and password, is printed on the router's underside by the battery bay.