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Cingular 3G LaptopConnect Card Option GT MAX 3.6 Review

Our Verdict

This AirCard is globe-trotter friendly.

The Option GT MAX is affordable, easy to set up and use, and delivers fast throughput in 165 markets where Cingular's HSDPA network is deployed. You'll also have data-roaming capability in more than 125 countries, which Sprint and Verizon don't offer. (3G data coverage is available in more than 24 of those countries, but in the rest you'll be limited to EDGE speeds.) Unlimited BroadbandConnect service costs $79.99 a month, or $59.99 with a qualifying voice plan. We were impressed with the connection speed in our suburban Philadelphia test locale.

A handy quick-start guide walks you through loading the software, sliding the SIM card into the PC Card, and then inserting the PC Card when prompted. Initialization takes just a couple of minutes the first time you press Connect. The whole process took us about ten minutes.

Surfing was more than satisfactory, with loading in 14 seconds (point of reference: over Wi-Fi, the site loads in about 4 seconds), and our Gmail Inbox popping up in 10 seconds. Uploading a 991KB file to an FTP server took around 32 seconds, and downloading a 5.62MB file from that server took an astonishingly fast 34 seconds.

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