Optus Wireless Broadband USB Slimline Modem
Optus introduces a prepaid billing system for its latest mobile broadband package.
- Prepaid billing system, competitive price, USB doubles as a microSD card reader, software installed on USB modem itself
- Data charged in 10MB increments, fluctuation in speeds, slower than competitor offerings
Although prepaid wireless broadband will definitely appeal to some, the fact that Optus charges data use in 10MB increments is a setback. This package may be suited for occasional use, but erratic network speeds will make many turn to other offerings.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
Vodafone and Telstra have recently launched new mobile broadband solutions, and now Optus has followed suit. Although the USB Slimline modem is almost identical to its competitors' offerings, Optus is offering prepaid pricing packages, which it claims is an industry first. While the pricing is competitive, performance is inconsistent overall and data use is charged in 10-megabyte increments.
Optus’ USB Slimline Modem is rated at a theoretical maximum speed of 7.2 megabits per second (Mbps) over the telco's HSDPA network. The network is currently being upgraded and is set to reach over 96 per cent of the Australian population across an area of 690,000 square kilometres by Christmas. For now, though, the network covers over 80 per cent of the Australian population, so not all users will be able to take advantage of HSDPA speeds. As with all mobile Internet devices, keep in mind that the actual speed achieved will depend on a number of factors such as device capabilities, your location and equipment, as well as network usage at the time.
Like Telstra and Vodafone’s offerings, the USB Slimline Modem is a compact device. Aside from its size, its main appeal lies in the fact that the software required to use the service is installed on the USB device itself. This means much more flexibility in terms of using the unit on multiple computers. It connects via USB, so it offers a flexible alternative for users of desktop PCs and notebooks. Conveniently, it also doubles as a USB flash drive; there is a microSD card slot included that can house cards of up to 4GB in size, although no card is included in the sales package.
The Optus package is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X, and it is simple to set up. Simply plug the modem into a spare USB port on your notebook or PC, install the software and you are up and running. We had no issues using the software on either a PC or a Mac.
Speeds were erratic to say the least. Although the Slimline Modem can attain a potential maximum speed of 7.2Mbps, in the real world this is unlikely due to congestion and signal strength. We performed a number of tests, ranging from sending and receiving small amounts of data, like e-mails and basic Web browsing, to using streaming services, and finally we conducted some basic downloading of files (ranging from 1MB to 60MB in size). Speeds tended to vary on a day-to-day basis but generally the USB Slimline modem had no problem with basic Web browsing, loading pages swiftly.
Testing the modem in our offices in St Leonards, Sydney, and in Sydney’s inner west, we downloaded several files ranging in size from 10MB to 60MB in order to measure speed. Using the modem both with the external antenna and without, the modem delivered average download speeds of 120-212 kilobytes per second, though on some occasions the speed dropped to as low as 82KBps.
Optus’ prepaid wireless broadband package costs $199, which includes a USB modem, SIM card and 2GB data allowance. However, the biggest issue with the Optus package is the fact that data use is charged in 10MB increments, even if you use less than that. To compensate for this, the first 30MB of data used per day is deducted as 10MB, which may prevent small amounts of usage (for example, quickly logging on to check a few e-mails) costing you a fortune.
Join the newsletter!
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Apple iPhone X
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Toys for Boys
Xbox One X
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 4 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
- 5 Giabyte Aorus X9 Gaming Laptop review: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Microsoft delves deeper into AI with new kit bag of tools
- Samsung unifies smart-home products with Bixby 2.0
- Dropbox go pro with Dropbox Profesional
- Intel launches AI-driven anti-money laundering solution
- Nvidia unveils Pegasus, an AI computer that can power fully autonomous vehicles
PCW Evaluation Team
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro review
- Dell Inspiron 5675 Gaming Desktop review
- Hands On: Our first impressions of Sony's a7R III
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- CCChange ManagerNSW
- TPSenior Business Analyst - GISQLD
- FTCloud Architect - AWS, Azure, ADOther
- CCSCCM EngineerNSW
- FTField ConsultantOther
- TPBusiness Intelligence Analyst|Software DeveloperQLD
- FTSenior Systems Engineer (WINTEL)ACT
- FTSenior PHP Developer / Team LeadNSW
- CCWintel Messaging Engineer l Office 365 / Exchange / Skype for Business / AzureNSW
- CCPortfolio / Relationship ManagerNSW
- CCScrum Master - BrisbaneVIC
- CCDevelopment Lead - Java - TelcoVIC
- CCMid - Level SAP Test Analyst (Brisbane)NSW
- FTIT Service DeskSA
- FTPractice Director DevelopmentSA
- FTSenior Siebel DeveloperOther
- TPBusiness and Test Analyst | Student Management SystemQLD
- FTMid-Level Drupal Developer (Brisbane Location)Other
- FTDigital Content ProducerOther
- FTApplication Support Technical LeadQLD
- FTSenior Network Engineer - Incident & OperationsOther
- TPSupport Java RoleNSW
- FTSenior Software Engineer - C++QLD
- CCTechnical Business AnalystNSW
- FTAutomation TesterOther