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Optus E589 Mini WiFi Modem review: Optus E589 Mini WiFi Modem

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Typical Price: $34.95
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The Good Capable of great data speeds. Excellent battery life.

The Bad Some inconsistency in data speeds. Optus 4G coverage isn't widespread yet. Bulky device.

The Bottom Line If you're within an Optus 4G coverage zone, it's possible to achieve some blinding speeds at quite reasonable prices.

8.8 Overall

Review Sections

Design

Somebody at Optus has a sense of humour. Not because the E589 Mini WiFi Modem comes with a whoopee cushion and one of those not-quite-hilarious cans of exploding snake-like objects, but simply because they chose to call the E589 Mini WiFi Modem — a re-badged Huawei long-term evolution (LTE) modem, if you're fussed — a "Mini" Wi-Fi modem. Out of all the hotspots we've tested recently, guess which one is the largest, and by a wide margin? There are few Wi-Fi hotspots you could conceivably mistake for your smartphone, but the E589 Mini WiFi Modem could easily be picked up by accident when you're busy. Not that this happened to us while testing ... much.

One unusual factor with the E589 Mini WiFi Modem is that despite its rather large size, it only features a relatively small LCD display screen. It's nice and crisp in the same way that Telstra's Mobile Wi-Fi 4G is, but on a unit this large, it almost feels like wasted space.

Features

The E589 Mini WiFi Modem ticks all the usual boxes for a wireless hotspot product. It'll support up to five devices concurrently connected and sharing, however much data it can slurp down from the air, and supports microSD for a little shared expansion storage, if that's your thing.

Optus' 4G offering at the time of writing consists of a number of 4G LTE 1800Mhz sites across Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide. Regionally, it covers an area around Newcastle (where it held its first FD-LTE 1800Mhz trials) and the Gold Coast, but that's it for now. Optus has announced plans for a TD-LTE network in Canberra based around the spectrum it acquired as part of the Vividwireless deal that's expected sometime this year, but it's not yet clear whether the E589 Mini WiFi Modem will be firmware upgradeable to support that network; it seems wise to suggest that it's unlikely. As such, the E589 Mini WiFi Modem will only work at top 4G speeds across limited metropolitan areas, as distinct from Telstra's LTE rollout, which encompasses a wide number of regional centres. Depending on how you planned to use the E589 Mini WiFi Modem, that might not be a problem at all, of course.

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