So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Telstra Corporation Next G Turbo 7 Series USB Modem
- Fast speeds with 98.8 per cent coverage in Australia, reliable, ease of setup, USB connection
- Plans still quite pricey, expensive international roaming
The new Turbo 7 Series cards are the fastest we've reviewed to date. Although plans are still quite expensive, the Next G service is impressive on a whole.
Price$ 149.00 (AUD)
Telstra's latest wireless notebook cards claim to deliver download speeds bursting at up to 6Mbps, and upload speeds of up to 1.3Mbps. The Turbo 7 Series, marketed at business users, come in ExpressCard or USB variants and are the fastest mobile broadband cards we've reviewed to date.
Capable of connecting to the Internet at High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) speeds bursting up to 6Mbps, the Next G Turbo 7 Series USB modem card offers an enticing alternative for users without a PCMCIA or ExpressCard slot. Despite quoted burst speeds only achievable in CBD, metro and selected regional areas, the Turbo 7 Series remains the fastest card on the market to date. The Next G network covers 98.8 per cent of Australia's population and the speeds we achieved were some of the best of any mobile broadband service we've reviewed.
We formally tested the USB Modem in our office (based in St Leonards), though we also used it travelling in and around the Sydney and North Sydney CBD zones. For consistency, we performed a number of tests, ranging from small amounts of data like e-mails and Web browsing, to streaming services and then the downloading of files ranging from 1MB to 49MB in size.
For basic e-mail and Web browsing, the Turbo 7 Series is excellent, loading common sites like The Sydney Morning Herald and News.com.au, while it also experienced no major issues streaming video from YouTube.
Downloading files while in a HSDPA coverage area (St Leonards), we were able to achieve speeds of up to 350KBps but regularly fluctuating between 170KBps and 260KBps. For example, a 49MB iTunes download took 3min 22sec to download, averaging a speedy 248KBps. To ensure consistency, we downloaded the file three times, the Turbo 7 Series producing a low of 178KBps, to a high of 268KBps for the 49MB file.
The Turbo 7 Series features international roaming, meaning the service can be used in a number of countries overseas. Unfortunately, the device is limited by the network it's running on, so speeds will be slower until other countries up their speed capacity. At $15 per MB, it certainly doesn't come cheap.
The included Telstra Turbo Connection Manager software is quite basic, but fairly effective. You can take a quick glance at current connection strength and the amount of data sent and received in your current session. The step-by-step quick start guide comes in handy for first time users.
Telstra offers a range of plans and pricing for the Turbo 7 Series, depending on usage patterns. For more details, check out the data plans data plans available. On a 24-month contract of $59 or more per month, the Turbo 7 Series USB Modem can be purchased for $149.
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