While these mobile routers share a few major features such as support for both 4G and 3G networks, and the limit of just five concurrent wireless clients, each has its own pros and cons. In the case of the Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot SCH-LC11, the main difference is where it matters the most: the Internet connection. It's by far the fastest of the three. On the downside, the Samsung also lacks many features found in the others.
The router's incredibly speedy Internet connection, unfortunately, is counterbalanced by the expense of the two data plans, which have monthly caps of 10GB and 5GB for a cost of $80 and $50, respectively. The router itself costs $100 with a two-year contract.
If you're a business user who needs a fast Internet connection on the go but doesn't do a lot of downloading, or you just don't care about the extra costs incurred when the caps are reached, Verizon's Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot SCH-LC11 makes the most satisfying mobile router among its peers. For those who are on a budget, however, we'd recommend alternatives from Sprint or T-Mobile.
Measuring 3.5 inches by 2.3 inches by 0.5 inch, Verizon's Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot SCH-LC11 is about the same size as Sprint's MiFi 4082 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot. It's compact and good-looking enough to be tucked away or show off on the desk.
On top, the Samsung has a large on/off button that you need to press and hold for a few seconds for it to take effect. Next to it is an array of tiny LCDs that show the status of the Wi-Fi network and the cellular network the device is connected to, be it a 4G or a 3G. The router doesn't have a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) button to support quick additions of wireless clients to the network. This means the only way to connect a client is to enter the encryption key manually. Another thing that users will miss is the lack of a battery gauge. In order to see how much juice left in the battery, you'll have to log in to the router's Web interface, which is a hassle and might not even be possible via a mobile device.
On one side the router has a standard Micro-USB port for charging that has a nifty cover to keep it from getting dusty. Unlike Sprint's MiFi 4082, this port doesn't support tethering, meaning that when it's connected to a computer, the computer won't gain Internet access via the router. This limits the use of the router to Wi-Fi clients only.
Out of the box, the router is set up with an SSID (Wi-Fi network name) and the encryption key, both printed on a label underneath the bottom cap that covers the removable battery. This means all you have to do is insert the SIM into its slot, which is under the battery, turn it on, and get wireless devices connected to this default network, and you're up and running. There's no setup required.
If you want to further customize the device, you can do that by going to its Web interface. From a connected computer, point a browser to the router's default IP address, which is 192.168.1.1.
Verizon's Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot SCH-LC11 has the least amount of features among the three 4G mobile routers we've reviewed. It doesn't support network storage, lacks WPS, and has no built-in GPS. It doesn't have a port for an external antenna, either.