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T-Mobile 4G Mobile Hotspot review: Fast speed to be enjoyed gingerly

CNET editors review the T-Mobile 4G Mobile Hotspot mobile wireless router.

The T-Mobile 4G Mobile Hotspot mobile cellular wireless router
The T-Mobile 4G Mobile Hotspot mobile cellular wireless router.
Dong Ngo/CNET

The T-Mobile 4G Mobile Hotspot looks like a chocolate bar and is supposed to be enjoyed like chocolate, too: slowly. This doesn't mean the device's Internet connection is slow, however.

In fact, it's significantly faster than the recently reviewed Sprint MiFi 4082 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot; it has average 4G download speeds of around 3.5Mbps and uploads at around 1.8Mbps in the San Francisco Bay Area. So why do you have to hold your horses when it comes to enjoying it?

The answer is because of the data plans T-Mobile has for the device. There are three tiers: $85/month, $55/month, and $30/month that come with a data cap of 10GB, 5GB, and 200MB, respectively. These caps don't mean you will be charged more when they're used up; rather, they trigger the reduction of the Internet connection's bandwidth. When this happens, the connection will be throttled down to a crawling speed of just 0.1Mbps for the rest of the month.

While this kind of pseudo unlimited plan seems a better deal than the cost-per-extra-MB alternatives, it can be frustrating when you need a speedy Internet connection, no matter the cost. There's no option for this.

Other than that, the T-Mobile 4G Mobile Hotspot worked well in our testing and offered up to six hours of battery life. The router features the legacy 802.11g wireless standard and can support up to five Wi-Fi devices at a time.

For more information on the router and to see if it's the right device for you, check out the full review of the T-Mobile 4G Mobile Hotspot.