Clear 4G+ Mobile Series S USB modem review: Clear 4G+ Mobile Series S USB modem

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.3
  • Design: 9.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 9.0
  • Service and support: 8.0

Average User Rating

0.5 stars 4 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Clear 4G+ Mobile Series S USB modem offers a very fast Internet connection for a single computer and comes with an unlimited 4G data plan. The modem has a nice design with built-in software and can work with both 3G and 4G networks.

The Bad The Clear 4G+ doesn't allow for text messaging. Its download speed fluctuates and the modem runs rather hot when used for an extended period of time.

The Bottom Line The Clear 4G+ Mobile Series S USB modem makes a great Internet connection for anyone who lives in an area where Clear's 4G coverage is available.

CNET Editors' Choice Dec '10

Editors' Top Picks

The Clear 4G+ Mobile Series S USB modem is an excellent alternative to the LG VL600 LTE USB Modem from Verizon. It has a better design, similarly fast speeds, and, most importantly, it comes with an unlimited 4G data plan.

The only major drawbacks we see is that Clear's cellular coverage is not available everywhere. And in our testing, the Clear 4G+ registered more fluctuating download speeds than Verizon's VL600.

If you live in and travel within Clear's coverage, the Clear 4G+ Mobile USB modem is a great deal at $115 (with a two-year contract, or you can lease it for $6/month), considering it comes with an unlimited 4G data plans for just $55/month.

Design, ease of use, and features
The Clear 4G+ Mobile Series S USB modem looks like a big piece of candy, with a round, flat shape. Its USB head is collapsible when not in use, and can swivel 90 degrees when opened up, allowing it to fit in any USB port, even those that are typically hard to reach.

On top it has two status lights, one for 3G and one for 4G. These lights flash green when the respective connection is in use. The modem works with both 3G and 4G networks, one at a time. It also has a small port for an external antenna (not included), which is a nice feature when you're far way from a coverage area.

The feature we like the most about the Clear 4G+ modem, which you won't find in Verizon's VL600 modem, is that it includes a small amount of storage in the form of a CD-ROM drive. This drive contains the Clear Connection Manager software that prompts you to install it the first time you plug the modem into a computer. This is really convenient in case you need to use the modem with another computer in which the software has not yet been installed.

The Clear Connection Manager software took just about a minute to install; after that, it runs each time you plug the modem into a computer. It takes about 30 seconds to search for the network; then all you have to do is click on "Connect" to establish the broadband connection. We found that the original software included within the modem tends to pick the 3G network as default, and you have to manually switch to the 4G network. However, after an update, which was done automatically, this problem was fixed.

Editors' Top Picks

 

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Where to Buy

Clear 4G+ Mobile Series S USB modem

Part Number: CNETCLEAR4GS

MSRP: $115.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

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 networking and storage products, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.