Verizon's Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot review: Fast, not so furious
CNET Editor Dong Ngo's take on Verizon's Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot SCH-11 cellular router.
Dong NgoSF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
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.
In our experience, Verizon's claim about offering the fastest 4G network has been consistently correct in CNET tests. Its LG VL600 LTE USB Modem proved the fastest among its peers, and now the Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot SCH-11 is by far the fastest among 4G cellular routers CNET has reviewed. But it's far from perfect.
Measuring just 3.5 inches by 2.3 inches by half an inch, Verizon's compact and good-looking Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot SCH-11 is about the same size as Sprint's MiFi 4082 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot or T-Mobile's 4G Mobile Hotspot ZTE MF61. All three routers support 3G and 4G networks and offer Internet access for up to five Wi-Fi clients.
However, the similarity ends there. The Samsung device doesn't support most features available in the other two, such as GPS, Wi-Fi Protected Setup, an external antenna port, microSD slot for network storage, and so on. The router doesn't even allow Wi-Fi clients to communicate with one another. It's just a simple router that shares a very fast connection to the Internet.
So how fast is it? In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Samsung SCH-11 consistently offered download speeds of around 9.5Mbps and upload speeds of around 7.3Mbps, about two or three times the speeds of the alternatives from T-Mobile and Sprint. Basically it's fast enough to justify the lack of features.
What the Samsung mobile router can't justify, however, are the data plans Verizon offers with it. There are two of them that cost $80/month and $50/month with the monthly data allowance of just 10GB and 5GB. When these caps are reached, users will be billed another $10 for each gigabyte.
Considering the fact that the device allows you to burn through 10GB of data in just less than two hours, these caps are just way too low for the speed the router offers. So you just need to watch your usage carefully.
To find out if the Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot SCH-11 is the right mobile Internet solution for you, check out the full review.