Clear 4G+ modem review: Mobile Internet delight

CNET's review by Dong Ngo covers the new 4G+ USB modem from Clear, which is a great way to access the Internet from a PC.

The Clear 4G+ Mobile Series S USB modem is a great way to get access to the Internet, period.
The Clear 4G+ Mobile Series S USB modem is a great way to get access to the Internet, period. Dong Ngo/CNET

I recently reviewed Verizon's VL600 4G USB modem and found it a painful conundrum that the modem is superspeedy and yet Verizon's data plans are superlimited (and expensive). That problem is solved with Clear's 4G+ Mobile Series S USB modem.

This modem is very similar to the VL600 in that it offers extremely fast Internet access using cellular signals.

However, it has a few advantages. First of all, it's more compact, has a swiveling USB head (which would fit in any USB port, even hard-to-reach ones), and comes with a port for an external antenna. It also has built-in storage for the Clear Connection Manager software, which is required for it to work. That means all you need to carry with you is the modem itself; there's no need for a software CD as in the case of Verizon's VL600.

In our testing, the Clear 4G+ was also very fast, though its download speed fluctuates a lot, ranging between 5Mbps and 14Mbps. The VL600 was a lot more consistent. To make up for this, the Clear 4G+ comes with a single data plan that offers unlimited 4G Internet access. This means you can download and stream movies as much as you want without worrying about having to pay more than the monthly fee, as long as you don't use the 3G portion of the plan.

The 3G part of the plan is just a backup in case the 4G connection isn't available where you are, and, unfortunately, it does comes with a cap of just 5GB per month and you'll have to pay another 5 cents per additional megabyte.

Also note that even at 5Mbps, which was the slowest download speed of the modem in our tests, it is still fast enough for high-definition movie streaming and large file downloading.

If you live and travel within Clear's 4G coverage area, the 4G+ Mobile Series S USB modem is a great way to access the Internet from a PC. It's faster than most existing home broadband services and, at $55 a month, it's about how much it costs to get Comcast cable Internet service in most areas.

For more information, check out the full review of the Clear 4G+ modem here.

About the author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.


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