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Verizon Novatel "Jetpack" MiFi 4620L 3G/4G Hotspot Hands-On Review

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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Verizon Novatel "Jetpack" MiFi 4620L 3G/4G Hotspot Hands-On Review


Verizon has released their latest 3G/4G "jetpack" hotspot, the Novatel MiFi 4620L. Like its predecessor, the 4510L, the 4620L can connect to Verizon's nationwide 3G network as well as the growing super-fast 4G LTE network, and it serves as a WiFi hotspot for multiple devices. Like all of their 3G/4G Jetpacks, Verizon offers two service options for the 4620L: 5GB for $50/month or 10GB for $80/month.

If you're familiar with the 4510L, you'll notice that the 4620L also looks a lot like its hotspot cousin:

mifi 4510L vs mifi 4620L
The MiFi 4620L (top) is slightly larger than the 4510L (bottom)

Like the 4510L, the 4620L features a LED screen on the front that displays some helpful basic info about the status of the device (battery info, which network you're connected to, how many devices are connected, etc), but it displays quite a bit more info than the older model. Both models use Micro USB for charging, and both feature an antenna port where you can connect an external 3G or 4G antenna to boost your signal. 

mifi 4620l screen
the 4620L displays a lot more info than other hotspots
 
4620l antenna port
the 4620L features an antenna port for a 3G or 4G antenna (sold separately)

There are some substantial differences between the older 4510L and the new 4620L. Up to 10 devices can be connected to the MiFi 4620L (the 4510L only supported 5 at a time), and the WiFi range is MUCH better - the 4510L only broadcasts WiFi about 30'; the 4510L provides several times that range (similar to a standard 802.11n router). Unfortunately, there is no way to "turn down" the WiFi range to save battery power (some hotspots allow you to dial down the WiFi signal when you don't need the maximum range), so the battery life on the 4620L isn't quite as good as the older MiFis. Novatel plans to offer a 3000mah battery in the near future (that's about twice the capacity of the stock battery), and 3Gstore will have a 5000mah extended battery that will triple the battery life within the next 30 days.

The other major difference with the 4620L is the type of SIM card it uses. Unlike all the other Verizon 3G/4G modems and hotspots, the 4620L uses a Micro SIM - same as the Verizon LTE iPad. The downside to this is that if you have another Verizon 4G modem, like the 4510L hotspot, you won't be able to buy the 4620L and simply swap your SIM from one to the other. 

What we love:

  • WiFi range is MUCH better than any of the other MiFis/Jetpacks
  • Supports 10 WiFi devices (vs 5 with the older MiFis)
  • Features an antenna port for an external 3G or 4G antenna
  • Can be connected to a router if you need more range, want to connect more than 10 devices, have ethernet devices you want to connect, or if you need full routing functionality
  • 5000mah extended battery to triple the battery life will be available from 3Gstore within 30 days
  • Charges via USB (an AC adapter is included, or you can charge/power it through your computer's USB port)
  • LED on front shows battery info, connected users, cellular signal, and more

What we're not as fond of:

  • No way to turn down the WiFi power to save on battery
  • Can't be tethered to a computer via VZAccess Manager (all devices have to connect via WiFi - unless you add a router for ethernet access)
  • Gets warmer then other MiFis when in use
  • Uses Micro SIM instead of the standard SIMs used by Verizon's other 3G/4G devices (if you are planning on upgrading without extending your contract, your old 4G SIM card will not work)
  • No way to lock to 3G or 4G (this is possible on the 4510L) 

The MiFi 4620L is available now for $49.99 (after $50 mail-in rebate) with a new 2-year contract or eligible upgrade. Need a 3G or 4G antenna or router, too? Save $20 off any antenna or router when you sign up for your Verizon service through 3Gstore!


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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 April 2012 )
 
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