AT&T Unite

What we love…

Easy to use and setup and use after set up, good tools to keep track of data usage as well as strong battery life.  I loved that I could pull it out at a moments notice and be booted up and using it within a few moments so my “unproductive” time quickly turned productive!

What we’d love to see…

lower cost for data when using on a stand alone basis not on a contract; improved wi-fi range closer to what’s reported when you actually use it.

Summary

Good hotspot, simple to set up and use on the go.  Data outside of a contract can be a bit expensive, but overall easy to use even for inexperienced users.

AT & T Unite Hotspot by Netgear is a portable data solution on the go  featuring a hotspot touch screen and a pricetag of only $0.99 with a two-year contract or you can buy the data stand alone with a higher device cost of $149.  The Unite provides a fast 4G LTE data speed and allows you to tether up to ten devices at a time!  At one point, I tethered my iPad 2, iPad Mini, iPhone, laptop, another laptop and another mobile phone all at the same time without a loss of data integrity.  The hotspot lasts a reported ten hours when used and provides a strong data connection on the go.  The device turns on and boots up in about a minute as a hotspot and connects to the nearest cellular connection to allow you to stream on the go.  Depending on where you are in the country you may pick up different network speeds.

Opening the package, the Unite Hotspot was easy to set up and use and I had it up and running within 5 minutes of pulling it out of the box.  I was able to easily set up the device using the home screen settings: Wi-Fi, Messages and Settings.  I configured the device to my own secure network and password as well as managing the devices that I wanted to be able to connect to the hotspot.  There is also a guest network option as well.  I liked that the messages would remind me of how much data I had left when using the device.  For purposes of the test, I logged into a VPN (which typically lowers speeds significantly) to see how the hotspot would perform.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that I got speeds as fast or slightly faster than my high speed internet connection at home.  I suspect that was because I was on the 4G LTE Network at the time.   Speeds on the 4G LTE without the VPN were about 6 megs down and 4 up, although that varied depending on my location and the network I connected to.   When I tested it in other places and was only able to get onto the 3G network I still got very respectable speeds of usage.  I also found that once it was set up, it was easy to explain to others how it worked and provide the password for usage.  I also appreciated that you could buy data in increments that I needed rather than being tied to a contract and having to pay fees when I wasn’t using it. I loved that I could pull it out at a moments notice and be booted up and using it within a few moments so my “unproductive” time quickly turned productive even while eating for appointments or other times when I had only a few minutes.

In terms of enhancements, I would like to see a lower pay on the go data price as well as a bit of increased wi-fi range.  When using the Unite off contract, there are three options for data usage all of which last 30 days.   pricing for data is $50 for 5GB, or if you have a Mobile Share plan it will cost $20 per month to add this device to your current data allotment with AT & T. These prices are a bit high in my opinion since when you are streaming data such as a movie you can go through the allotment very fast.  The wi-fi range on these devices from my testing is about 30 feet which is respectable, but when multiple devices are tethered I found that the range went down a bit.  The device reports a wi-fi hotspot of up to 100 feet, but I was never successfully able to have it work that far.  Battery life was approximately 9 hours with multiple devices tethered to the Unite Hotspot.

Overall. this is a great hotspot simple and easy to use on the go.  I can see it being very helpful in a mobile workforce when you might need data but not have access to traditional wi-fi.  Data is a bit more expensive than I think it should be outside of the two year contract.  Battery life was great, and although the tether range was a bit limited I found that I had enough range with the ability to tether multiple devices on the go.  I loved that I could pull it out at a moments notice and be booted up and using it within a few moments so my “unproductive” time quickly turned productive!

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.