Sprint 598U EVDO USB Modem - First Impressions

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Friday, 09 January 2009

Sprint Sierra Wireless 598U 3G EVDO Rev-A USB Modem - First Impressions

Sprint 598U 3G EVDO USB Modem
The Sprint Sierra 598U and a quarter, on top of a standard business card.

The Sierra Wireless 598U is one of Sprint's latest 3G EVDO Rev-A USB modems. It ships with a clip and USB cable that allows a user to easily hang the 598U off the upright lid of a notebook computer so that the 598U is able to receive better signal, and is out of danger from accidental hits the device might take if it were sticking out of a USB port. The photo below shows the laptop clip and USB cable in action.

Sprint Sierra 598U notebook clip and USB cable
The Sprint Sierra 598U comes with a notebook clip and USB cable

Two LED lights provides connection status and the Sprint logos light up as a marketing gimmick -- and we mean they really light up! So much so that its easy for us to call this device the first 3G nightlight ever made! Click on the photo above to see the shot in the dark that will give you an idea how bright the 598U will be at night.

At 3.1" (H) x 0.9" (W) x 0.44" (D) the 598U is just slightly smaller than the Compass 597 that it is replacing and still significantly smaller than Sierra's first generation USB modem, the ginormous 595U. The photo below compares the Sierra 598U with the Compass 597 and the original 595U.

3 generations of Sierra USB modems
L-R: Sierra 598U, Compass 597 and Sierra 595U

What about the side view? How does this new 598U "stack up" against the current Sprint USB modems, and the other new modem - the Ovation U760? Like so, literally:

Stack of Sprint USB modems
Top - Bottom : U760, 598U, Compass 597 and U727

Like nearly all recent USB modems, the Sierra 598U features a tiny microSD slot, but this one can store up to 32GB of photos, videos, music and other documents -- this means that the Sierra 598U can hold enough data/files to serve as a decent emergency backup in case the big presentation on your hard drive dies!

As with the Compass 597 before it, the Sierra 598U ships with no software CD because everything you need for Mac or Windows is in on board memory and auto-installs upon insertion (so long as software isn't already installed). Additionally, the Sierra 598U takes advantage of Sprint's "One-Touch" activation feature, simplifying the process to get your device fully operational on the Sprint Mobile Broadband network. The 598U requires Windows XP or Vista (no info on Win2K support) or Mac OSX version 10.4 or later, including Leopard 10.5

Our customers always ask when any new 3G device comes out is, "... just how fast is it?" We've always maintained that all devices built to the "Revision A specification" are going to be as fast as all other devices built to similar spec, just as long as they receive the same signal to the same cell tower. Our tests with the 598U once again reinforce that opinion as results were very similar across all four USB modems in photo above - all from same testbench in Dallas, TX:

598U speed test. Same speeds as other Rev-A devices.

Sprint Sierra Wireless 598 USB Modem -- Features

  • Rev. A Capable
  • External Antenna Connector (see photo below. 3Gstore has several antennas for the 598U)
  • microSD memory expansion slot supports up to 32GB
  • Easy Sprint SmartView Installation: No CD required for software installation on Windows or Mac.
  • One-Touch Activation: just "one" more click after software installation, the device will be activated and ready to go.
  • Network Driver Interface Specification (NDIS): Supports Suspend and Resume after a period of inactivity, the laptop computer will go to sleep, or suspend. The Sierra Wireless 598U will remain ready to reconnect when the operating system wakes up, or resumes. Also supports Always On, Auto-connect, faster connection time and intelligent data traffic routing.
  • Sprint Location Services: users can take advantage of Sprint Location Services to conduct a locate and search inquiry. Using the GPS chipset embedded in the device, users can plot their current location on a map and then search for nearby points interest such as gas stations, banks, or restaurants. Users can also enter their own custom point of interest query.
  • In Sprint SmartView: Applications drop down for ease of access to tools like Sprint Speed Test, the Digital Lounge for Mobile Broadband and other pre-defined applications
  • Compatible with all devices supporting the Type A USB interface including desktops, notebooks, tablet PCs and PDAs
  • Built-in antenna
  • Messaging  Text (SMS) -- Windows only.

Sprint Sierra 598U antenna jack and adapter cable
3Gstore has high gain antennas for the Sierra 598U

By design, all devices like the Sprint Sierra Wireless 598U USB modem provide internet connectivity to the computer it is attached to. Many of our customers prefer to share the internet connectivity with multiple computers and even with their WiFi-enabled devices like the iPod Touch, or gaming consoles like the Nintendo Wii or Playstation 3 -- for those customers, the best solution is to use a 3G router like those from Cradlepoint.

Thankfully, the CTR500 and MBR1000 already fully support the Sierra 598U! For maximum portability, choose the CTR500 (shown below with 598U attached). For the most wifi range to and from the router and more versatility (because of its additional ethernet ports, two USB ports and expresscard slot) -- choose the MBR1000 (seen underneath the CTR500 and 598U)

Sprint Sierra 598U works with CTR500 and MBR1000
The Sierra 598U works great with Cradlepoint CTR500 and MBR1000 is selling the Sprint Sierra 598U for just $.01 and get $50 Mail-in Rebate
-- that means 3Gstore customers MAKE $49.99 after the rebate!

More importantly, 3Gstore customers receive superior customer and tech support from EVDO Experts that actually use and test these devices on a regular basis!  Also, includes CD for Snow Leopard and Windows 7 Compatibiltiy.

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 31 October 2009 )
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