Telstra Ultimate USB modem review: Telstra Ultimate USB modem

CNET Editors' Rating

5 stars Spectacular
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Super-fast data transfers. Solid feeling modem. Rotating USB connection.

The Bad USB port rattles when jiggled. Network experiences latency blowouts.

The Bottom Line Though so much depends on where you use it, the Ultimate USB modem has the potential to be faster than a fixed-line ADSL connection and doesn't cost much more than any other Telstra wireless broadband modem.

CNET Editors' Choice Sep '10

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Design

If this is Telstra's ultimate broadband modem then we have to say it certainly looks the part. The square body of the modem is constructed from a stiff, smooth plastic — a noticeable departure from the feel of flimsy plastic dongles in play in the mobile broadband space at this time.

The modem connects to systems via a rotatable USB connection, capable of turning about 270 degrees and of folding up vertically. This gives you a bit of flexibility in how you position the modem during use, but we also found it to be a bit rickety, as it wobbles gently when touched. We found it possible to disconnect the modem simply by knocking it — not the best idea for a device designed to be used away from desks and office spaces.

Like most mobile broadband modems, the Telstra Ultimate is powered via the USB connection. Under a removable panel you'll find a SIM card slot and a space for a microSD memory card, which is handy if you want the modem to double as a memory stick for backups.

Performance

As you probably know, the major drawcard for the Telstra Ultimate is its theoretical maximum throughput of 42Mbps. If this were possible, this would give users a connection to the internet twice as fast as is currently available via a fixed-line ADSL2+ connection. It is, however, almost impossible to achieve this theoretical maximum, with Telstra only advertising a practical (and enormous) range of 1.1Mbps to 20Mbps in select metro areas, and 550Kbps-8Mbps just about everywhere else.

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Where to Buy

Telstra Ultimate USB modem

Part Number: CNETTelstra Ultimate USB modem

Typical Price: $299.00

See manufacturer website for availability.