Driving seat: 3 UK | Huawei MiFi

The route to me trying out the 3 UK | Huawei mobile WiFi device was a circuitous one. Whatleydude put me in touch with his colleague Michelle who works on 3 UK’s mobile buzz programme when I found out my broadband repair was going to take a year.

Ok first about the whole MiFi thing, its one of them name contractions like TomKat (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes) or Brangelina (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) only this time it is mobile WiFi.

I was intrigued with the device as as a kind of broadband equivalent of the hurricane lamp that my parents keep just in case of power and gas blackouts. This is the point at which Michelle would like me to tell you that the device is not designed to be a broadband replacement.

3 UK seem to envision it as a way of breaking the chain that traditional mobile broadband has had to the laptop via the dongle. Allowing devices like the iPod Touch or a PSP to connect or allowing laptops to share the same connection. A secondary advantage of this is that the device doesn’t require operating system-specific drivers, unlike dongles.

So what does it all look like?

Huawei 3G Mi-Fi unit

The MiFi unit fits in the palm of the hand, its a nice but unremarkable piece of product design. It has a battery hatch on the back and the SIM socket is beneath the battery.

Huawei 3G Mi-Fi unit

The box also contained a charger, instruction cards and a standard mini/micro USB connector on the battery charger.

Huawei 3G Mi-Fi unit

Huawei 3G Mi-Fi unit

To be honest with you, the instruction cards aren’t needed as set up on the device is so easy to do. Once you have the device well-charged it is self-explanatory.

You switch the wi-fi device on, connect to it on your laptop or iPod.

You are then given access to it once you have completed a user name and password which comes preconfigured with the device. I ended up having to test it outside my home as my house seems to be a pretty good approximation of a Faraday cage and I couldn’t get a mobile signal.

The device isn’t a replacement for broadband but if you need a connection or the broadband equivalent of a hurricane lamp then you’re in luck.