I received this product for free, as a part of the NETGEAR Ambassador Program, in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion.
Why in the world would I need a hotspot if my smartphone is able to do the exact same thing? I can just turn my smartphone into a hotspot to broadcast a Wi-Fi signal so that I can use the internet on my laptop, tablet, handheld game console, photo camera, and probably a few more other devices. Oh, well, maybe not. I guess that could be one reason.
I’ve been told that a smartphones can’t handle that many devices all at once, that the quality of the connection could drop, or could disconnect all together. I have not tried that, but one time I did connect my laptop and tablet to my smartphone,, and it got very hot and the battery drained like crazy.
Phone Hotspot VS Mobile Hotspot
The other day I used a Verizon Jetpack® 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot—AC791L by NETGEAR, instead of my smartphone. My family and I have been taking a language course and we gave access to the whole group to see if how the Jetpack would handle it. I set everything up on my laptop including a temporary password to share.
The device can handle up to 15 connections and we had 14 phones/tablets/laptops connected to it within minutes (it’s amazing how people go crazy over free Wi-Fi). I could easily scroll through the menu screen to see who was connected and on which type of device.
Internet at the class location is limited to only allow access to the group’s main site. Jetpack saved the day. Everyone was able to check their email and exchange documents that were saved in the cloud. We also watched a video on YouTube in which a bunch of young kids were singing a very catchy song, teaching us how to count. There was no buffering and the video played smoothly thanks to the 4G LTE speed (where available). I’ll never forget that song and the words it taught me. See, I really mean it when I say it saved our day!
With all the devices connected and the amount of data used, the battery was only down to about 91%. According to NETGEAR the battery can even last up to 24 hours. I could never have done that with my cell phone! The mobile hotspot even functions as a battery pack and has enough juice to charge your smartphone if needed.
Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot by NETGEAR
The Verizon Jetpack AC791L by NETGEAR can be added to an existing Verizon plan, sharing the data you’re already paying for, plus a $10 a month per device fee. Running the device by itself will cost $50 per month for 5GB or $80 per month for 10GB. The device itself is $200 or $50 with a 2-year contract. This mobile hotspot also works outside the 50 states, but you may want to double check as this can get very, or I should actually say extremely, expensive.
Do I really need to bring another device with me? That depends, of course. I think the Jetpack is great for large families, if you need to connect lots of devices at the same time, or when you need a reliable connection on a business trip. Plus, since this Jetpack runs on the Verizon network, you can be pretty sure that you’ll always get a great connection. That’s nice if the kiddos are on a cheap plan, cannot connect to the internet (if you’re in Yosemite National Park or something), and have a strong urge to share some Instagram photos.