MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.
Virgin Mobile 4G WiFi Modem
Virgin's WiFi Modem is the first 4G mobile broadband device to launch on the network but speeds aren't the best
- Decent battery life
- Good value 4G pricing plan
- Easy to read display
- A little chunky
- 4G speeds aren't impressive
- Non-removable battery
The Virgin Mobile WiFi Modem is the first 4G mobile broadband device to launch on the network. It's a little heavy, the battery isn't removable and the speeds it produces simply aren't as fast as competing devices.
Optus MVNO Virgin Mobile has offered a 4G service since late 2012, but its WiFi Modem is the first 4G mobile broadband device to launch on the network. It's a little heavy, the battery isn't removable and the speeds it produces simply aren't as fast as competing devices.
A gloss black brick
The Virgin Mobile 4G WiFi Modem is a battery powered, portable wireless modem that's manufactured by Chinese company Huawei. The E5576 device is a little heavy at 150g and certainly not as slim as a modern day smartphone at 15.5m thick. As a comparison to devices already on the market, it's smaller than the Optus 4G Mini WiFi modem but not as slim as Telstra's pre-paid Wi-Fi 4G modem.
The glossy front effectively hides the OLED display when its not in use, but it's slippery and attracts plenty of fingerprints.
The Virgin Mobile 4G WiFi Modem has a gloss black front and a matte black finish on the back and sides. The glossy front effectively hides the OLED display when its not in use, but it's slippery and attracts plenty of fingerprints. Unlike many other Wi-Fi modems on the market, the 4G WiFi Modem's internal battery isn't removable.
The Virgin Mobile 4G WiFi Modem is reasonably straightforward to use. The highlight is a small but readable OLED screen that displays plenty of information including signal strength, the network type (3G/4G), the number of devices connected and a battery level indicator. There's also connection time and how much data you've used displayed along the bottom of the screen.
There's a large, single power button on the front that is recessed into the case of the modem. The silver button has an attractive white light that pulses when the modem is connected, which is a nice touch. On the top you'll find a standard sized SIM card slot, a reset button and a microSD card slot, while a standard micro-USB port for charging, a WPS button and an antenna port that can be used to boost reception in flaky coverage areas are on the bottom. If the battery is flat the Virgin Mobile 4G WiFi Modem can be connected to a computer via the included USB cable and used as a wired modem.
To change any of the settings, you'll need to access the modem's Web interface. It's accessible by pointing your browser to http://192.168.1.1 and logging in using the default password supplied. The Web interface is both straightforward and functional. Options include editing the SSID name and password, editing the APN, changing the screen time and a host of other advanced networking and security options.
4G speeds aren't as quick as rival networks
The 4G WiFi Modem is obviously marketed as a 4G device, but will switch over to Virgin's (Optus) regular 3G network if 4G coverage isn't available. According to the telco, Virgin 4G coverage stretches up to 10km from Sydney's CBD to cover suburbs like Little Bay and Arncliffe in Sydney's south, Dee Why north of Sydney, Vaucluse and Bondi Beach in the east and Silverwater and parts of Homebush in western Sydney.
Like all mobile broadband products, the speed of the 4G WiFi Modem will depend on a number of factors.
The 4G network also services parts of Newcastle, including areas like Maryland, Edgeworth and Cessnock, parts of Wyong and Tuggerah on the Central Coast, and selected areas in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Toowoomba.
When you're in a 4G coverage zone, the Virgin Mobile 4G WiFi Modem promises maximum theoretical download speeds of up to 50 megabits per second (Mbps), which is around seven times faster than what you can achieve on the 3G network. These are maximum, best case scenarios, however, and the results we achieved were significantly less. Like all mobile broadband products, the speed of the 4G WiFi Modem will depend on a number of factors including time, location, network coverage, signal strength and congestion.
When using the Virgin Mobile 4G WiFi Modem in a 4G coverage zone, we only managed to achieve download speeds of up to 12Mbps but generally found speeds hovered between 6Mbps and 8Mbps on most occasions. We tested the device at multiple locations including the Sydney CBD and North Sydney, both areas served by Virgin 4G coverage. Despite testing the device with full 4G reception, we were unable to achieve speeds of over 12Mbps, a disappointing result. Upload speeds were also less than stellar, generally hovering around 3Mbps.
We found the 4G WiFi Modem's battery lasted around four hours before needing to be recharged. This is a better result than Telstra's Mobile 4G Wi-Fi modem, which lasted around 30 minutes less when we reviewed it last year.
The Virgin Mobile 4G WiFi Modem is available now for $0 upfront on the $59 plan over 12 months. The plan includes 13GB of included data to use each month.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo Find X2 Neo review: Class Act
- 2 Oppo Find X2 Pro review: The Ultimate Alternative Flagship
- 3 Sonos Arc review: The Main Event
- 4 Moto G8 (2020) review: Win some, lose some
- 5 iPhone SE (2020) review: What's old is new again
Latest News Articles
- Telstra temporarily trim NBN 100 prices for new FTTP and HFC customers
- Mafia remake gets pushed to September 25
- The Sonos Move is now available in Lunar White
- Samsung's Galaxy Note 20 due for an August 5 reveal
- AMD Ryzen 3000 XT CPU review roundup: Slightly faster, slightly pricier, and a shoulder shrug
PCW Evaluation Team
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
- Why do gamers like RGB Lights?
- Huawei Matebook X Pro (2020) review: The real deal
- Oppo Find X2 Pro review: The Ultimate Alternative Flagship
- Everything you need to know about Smart TVs
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?