Verizon's 4G VL600 modem dangerously fast (review)

CNET's Dong Ngo's take on Verizon's new 4G USB modem.

The VL600 4G USB Modem consistently offers download speed at around 12Mbps.
The VL600 4G USB modem consistently offers download speed at around 12Mbps. Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET

We often complain about how our connection to the Internet is not fast enough. And for the most part, it's never really fast enough, especially in this era of YouTube and hi-def online movie streaming.

After using Verizon's 4G VL600 USB modem, however, I've learned that fast speeds can, in fact, be too fast. Here's why:

Verizon's 4G VL600 USB modem is truly a speed demon but you don't want to enjoy it too much because of the limited data plans.
Verizon's 4G VL600 USB modem is truly a speed demon but you don't want to enjoy it too much because of the limited data plans. Dong Ngo/CNET

During the course of reviewing the product, I found that it's the first, if not only, cellular consumer device currently on the market that offers the download and upload speeds equal to or faster than those of high-speed broadband services, such as DSL or Cable.

To put this in numbers, the device consistently registered around 12Mbps, which means it can finish downloading 800MB of data (which is an entire CD) in just around 9 minutes, or a 2-hour Blu-ray movie at 1080p (about 10GB of data) in just slightly more than an hour. And chances are that's what you're going to do when you find out how fast it is.

Now this is great until you realize that 10GB is the largest monthly data cap that Verizon's top-tier data plan gives you (which, by the way, costs a whopping $80/month. The only other plan is for 5GB/month and costs $50).

It doesn't makes sense when the 4G connection shares basically the same data cap as the company's 3G connection. As the 4G connection has proved to be about 10 times faster, it should have around 10 times the amount of data allowance.

Of course, you can still use the device after the cap has been reached; it's just that it'll cost another $10 for each additional gigabyte, which translates into about $100 for another 10GB high-def movie.

So consider yourself warned: the VL600 is a great device to have on the go with your Windows laptop. However, those who are download-happy should think twice before getting it. Even with the most expensive plan, you can literally use up the monthly data cap in just about an hour.

For more information on its performance and features, check out the full review.

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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