Clear Spot 4G - Apollo review: Clear Spot 4G - Apollo

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
  • Overall: 8.3
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 9.0

Average User Rating

1.5 stars 13 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Clear Spot 4G - Apollo mobile router provides fast cellular Internet access to up to eight clients at a time, with affordable unlimited data plans. The Apollo incorporates a large LCD that shows helpful information about the device, and the battery lasts a long time.

The Bad The Apollo doesn't support 3G, Wireless-N, or text messaging, and is comparatively bulky.

The Bottom Line For those who live or travel within Clear's 4G coverage, the Clear Spot 4G - Apollo is an excellent mobile-broadband option and wins our Editors' Choice Award.

CNET Editors' Choice Aug '11

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The Clear Spot 4G - Apollo is the first 4G-only mobile router we've seen and we love it. The device provides very fast Internet connections, works very well out of the box, and displays all the important information on its large and helpful LCD screen. It's also affordable, costing around $99 with no contract required (or it can be leased for $6 per month), and comes with unlimited data plans that start at just $45 per month.

On the downside, the Apollo, though compact, is a little bulkier than other mobile routers, such as the Sprint MiFi 4082 or the Samsung SCH-LC11. Also, as a router, it doesn't support Wireless-N but just the old Wireless-G (802.11g) standard, which caps at 54Mbps. And the fact that it doesn't support 3G means that you won't have a backup connection when you're out of Clear's coverage area.

Nonetheless, if you're within Clear's 4G coverage, all things considered, the Apollo makes one of the best, if not the best, 4G mobile Internet access solutions on the market.

Design, ease of use, and features
Completely square and measuring 3.4 inches on each side and .7 inch thick, the Apollo is a compact device. It's not compact enough for you to slide it into a wallet or hide it in your pocket, though it's very light, just 4.5 ounces. On the bottom, the device comes with two ports for external antennas (not included) and a slide-open cover for a battery bay that houses an included lithium ion 2200 mAh rechargeable battery. The router won't work without a battery even though it comes with a separate power adapter. It can also be charged using a standard Micro-USB cable via any USB charger, such as that of an iPad or a computer.

On one side, the Apollo has a power button that you need to press and hold for a few seconds to turn it on or off. On the other side, there's a mute button to keep the router completely silent. This is because the router otherwise emits a short and rather quiet ringtone each time a Wi-Fi client connects to or disconnects from its network. We actually found this ringtone incredibly helpful, but for those who want to use the router incognito, there's the option to mute it.

On top the router has a large (for a router of its size) LCD that shows important information, including the 4G signal strength, number of connected Wi-Fi clients, battery gauge, Wi-Fi network's name and its encryption keys, and current speed of the 4G connection. By far, this is the most informative LCD display we've seen on a mobile router. To conserve battery, the LCD would turn itself off after about 10 seconds or so, but turns back on after a single press of the power button.

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Where to Buy

Clear Spot 4G - Apollo

Part Number: CNETCLEARSPOT4GAPOLLO

MSRP: $99.00

See manufacturer website for availability.