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Friday, 25 July 2008

Verizon's UM175 USB EVDO Rev-A Modem - First Impressions

Verizon Pantech UM175The Pantech/UTStarcom UM175 is Verizon's latest EVDO Rev-A USB modem. Made by the same folks who make the Verizon UM150, PC5750 and the Sprint PX500, the UM175 is 2.8" (H) x 1.1 " (W) x 0.6" (D) -- making it a bit smaller than the UM150.

Despite a trend where newer devices added more features compared to previous devices, the UM175 goes back in time and loses some hardware features that other USB modems from Verizon offer. While the USB727 and UM150 featured a microSD slot to store photos, videos, music and other documents on, the UM175 has no micro-SD slot. Nor does the UM175 have the LED lights that indicated the EVDO signal level being received, though it does have two LED lights to indicate that it is connected to the network. Don't look for an extendable antenna of any sort, either. The UM175 only has a "high-performance internal antenna" that did not appear to capture any better signal than the built in antennas of any USB modem we compared the UM175 to. Thankfully, the one feature that the UM175 does share with the older UM150 is the swiveling USB connector, which allows it to pivot/rotate out of harms way as shown in the photo below that compares the white UM175 to the older/black UM150.

 

Verizon UM175 compared to UM150

Another good feature only provides benefit to Mac users: the UM175 works great with the MacBook Air and OSX has built in drivers to support the UM175, making it easy to use without having to install the Mac version of Verizon's Access Manager software. Here is what the UM175 looks like attached to the MacBook Air:

Verizon UM175 works with MacBook Air

UPDATE: We just found a compatible antenna adapter cable and now have our entire selection of antennas available for the UM175 at 3gstore.com

Verizon UM175 adapter cable

The UM175 does ship with a Y-cable, which means that it can draw power from two USB ports if signal is weak enough to require more power. Keep in mind that if your UM175 does need to draw power from two USB ports, it really means you need to provide better SIGNAL, not more power.

The UM175 ships with Verizon's VZAccess Manager software that is compatible with Windows XP and Vista (32/64bit) and also with Mac OSX 10.3.x and up through 10.5 Leopard (but keep in mind that as stated earlier, Mac OSX Leopard users can easily use the built-in drivers and GUI).

Surprisingly, the UM175 worked with all the Cradlepoint routers. Much like the UM150, router admin info does not show any RSSI or signal strength info for the UM175 at all. UPDATE: Firmware 1.3 for MBR1000 & CTR500 now shows RSSI for UM175, though it may not be accurate. See screengrab below. Its also worth noting that while our testing showed proper functionality with no loss of speed, the UM175 is not officially supported by either Cradlepoint or Kyocera at this time.

Verizon UM175 with Cradlepoint PHS300
Verizon UM175 modem info in Cradlepoint admin

One question that many folks will always ask when any new 3G device comes out is, how fast is it? We've always maintained that all devices built to a particular "specification" are going to be as fast as all other devices built to similar spec, so long as they receive adequate signal. Our tests with the UM175 reaffirm that opinion as results were very similar to USB727, UM150 and V740 - all from same spot with great signal:

UM175 speed test. Same average as other Rev-A devices.

We anticipate that many customers will be inclined to want to buy the "latest and greatest" device, and will want our opinion about how the UM175 compares to other EVDO devices offered by Verizon. Our opinion is that the only thing the UM175 has going for it is the fact that it is the cheapest Verizon device that 3Gstore currently sells. How cheap?

3Gstore.com is selling the UM175 for just $39.99... which is once again, less than Verizon sells it for. After a $50 mail in rebate, 3Gstore customers will actually MAKE $10 by purchasing the UM175 from 3Gstore -- and more importanly -- they'll also receive superior customer and tech support from EVDO Experts that actually use and test these devices on a regular basis!

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 09 September 2009 )
 
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