Road warriors need fast Web access on the go, without having to rely on Wi-Fi hotspots. The new Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MiFi 5510L offers speedy LTE goodness for up to 10 connected devices at the same time. Add in epic battery life and a low $19.99 price, and this Jetpack is a must-have accessory.
The Jetpack 5510L is rectangular with rounded edges, giving it an almost pill-like appearance when viewed from above. There's a slight flare near the bottom, which gives the device an almost trapezoidal look. Measuring 3.9 x 2.4 x 0.6 inches, it's a little smaller than the Verizon Jetpack 890L, which measures 3.5 inches square, but not as small as the 5510L's predecessor, the MiFi 4620LE, which measured 3.7 x 2.3 x 0.5 inches.
Outlining the top of the 5510L is a red ring, which illuminates while the device is charging or when the display is active. It's a nice design touch that sets the Jetpack 5510L apart from other hotspots. A black-and-white, 1.54-inch OLED display sits in the center with three capacitive-touch buttons just below it. The forward, backward and check buttons help users navigate the interface and menu options.
The top edge of the Jetpack 5510L houses the power button and micro-USB charging port. While we appreciate the inclusion of the charging cable and plug, we wish the cable were a little longer. We had trouble getting it to reach from a coveted Starbucks power outlet to the adjacent table. Thankfully, you can also charge the device via your computer's USB port.
The Jetpack 5510L can provide 4G LTE connections to 10 devices at once. This hotspot will definitely keep your data party going, though you'll want to keep an eye on your usage, which you can easily view via an option on the main screen. This MiFi can also connect up to five devices when using a 3G connection.
Have a bad memory? You can easily find that the Jetpack's password in the Menu under Wi-Fi Name/Password. Other menu options include Connected Devices, Messages, Mobile Network, Software Update, About Jetpack and Jetpack Home, which takes you back to the main screen.
If you want to change the Jetpack's password, you'll have to access the device via its website using the address and admin password found in the "About Jetpack" section. While we think it's a bit of pain to have to use another login and password to change the initial password, it would be a nightmare to try to enter a new password on the Jetpack 5510L's small display.
Users will want to check for software updates. Verizon has stated that the Jetpack 5510L will be upgraded to the 4G LTE AWS 1700MHz band in a future update.
Verizon touts that it has the largest 4G LTE network in the United States, covering close to 89 percent of the population in 476 markets. By comparison, AT&T's 4G LTE service is available in only 149 markets, and Sprint's 4G LTE is available in a paltry 67 markets.
The Jetpack 5510L was a speedy performer during most of our tests in the Chicago area.
Using Speedtest.net, the average download speed was 21.75 Mbps, with a top speed of 31.71 Mbps and a low of 14.49 Mbps. For uploads, the Jetpack 5510L averaged 10.02 Mbps, with a top speed of 11.76 Mbps and a low of 8.67 Mbps.
Unfortunately, the Jetpack 5510L was not the fastest hotspot when we downloaded OpenOffice. The device took 6 minutes and 27 seconds to download the free office suite to our notebook. While that's 45 seconds faster than average, we've seen other hotspots take half that time.
While surfing the Web with the Jetpack 5510L, we found ourselves double-checking that we were connected to the hotspot instead of our home Wi-Fi. We found that CNN.com loaded in a speedy 5.6 seconds, Laptopmag.com in 5.7 seconds and NBCNews.com in just 6.1 seconds.
The Jetpack 5510L is rated for 8 hours of battery life and will disconnect after 30 minutes of inactivity to preserve its charge. In our LAPTOP battery test, which involves loading webpages every 30 seconds, the Jetpack 5510L lasted a whopping 14 hours and 43 minutes. Over the course of using the hotspot intermittently over a few days, there was still approximately half a charge left.
The Jetpack 5510L also works while it's plugged into your computer via USB, making it unlikely that the device will die if you have a cable handy.
The Jetpack 5510L costs $19.99 with a two-year contract. The only type of plan available for the hotspot is the company's "Share Everything" pricing scheme. If you are already a Verizon customer, the hotspot is a $20 a month add-on to your plan. Those signing up for a new plan have one of five options: 4GB for $30 per month, 6GB for $40 per month, 8GB for $50 per month, 10GB for $60 per month, or 12GB for $70 per month.
The Jetpack 5510L is $199 without a contract and month-to-month service, which costs the same monthly as contract service.
The Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MiFi 5510L is an excellent choice. This device offers speedy performance and very long battery life in a compact design. And it can connect up to 10 devices at once. If you don't plan on using this MiFi religiously for two years, you may save money by paying the contract-free price and going with month-to-month service. Either way, this Jetpack will serve you well.