OK, I'm approaching senior citizenhood and this is my FIRST venture into any kind of WiFi, hotspot, data plan, etc... My cell phone is a Tracfone, and it is seldom used. I bought the Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go MiFi in order to enable internet access for my new Samsung Galaxy Player 5.0, because I am using this device as a mini tablet, and we don't have WiFi at home, just slow dial-up.
Basically, the device has so far met all my expectations and if anything, exceeded them. I can get online, browse the web, download some smaller apps (mostly productivity types), check email, read blogs and news, view an occasional YouTube video, download ebooks and use various apps and that's all I need. I have also used it to upload full resolution, high quality pictures taken with the camera on the device to photo album websites. The MiFi device is small and easy to slip into my purse if I need to go out with it.
I like the 1GB of bandwidth that comes when you buy the device from WalMart. Amazon has sometimes offered the device cheaper on sale, but you get half the bandwidth (500MB) for the $20 top-up card when you go that route. I preferred to pay a little more up front for the device and then reap the benefit of twice the bandwidth for the same money spent on top up cards. As far as I know, the bandwidth increase is for the life of the device.
Where the item falls down a bit and the reason I have rated it 4 stars instead of 5 is that I felt the documentation and how to set it up was not anywhere near as clearly written as it could be. The whole process was very confusing! First, a quick start guide that was supposed to be in the box was NOT present. I was able to download documentation in PDF form from the Virgin Mobile site, but that was still not as clear as I wished. It kept referring to computer set-up, and as we don't have WiFi at home, my computer is NOT WiFi enabled. For a while, I thought I'd just have to give up and return the device. I was really frustrated! Going to the specified link for setup from my computer just brought up a "page not found" error.
However, all was not lost, it finally occurred to me to just try and connect via my Samsung Galaxy Player 5.0 and try the link through the browser on that. I didn't think it would connect, because I did not yet have any credit in my account via top up cards, having not been able to establish the setup for an account via my computer, but I guess it is set up to let you connect for the first time to register an account. Good job, Virgin Mobile, but it would be useful to state this in the documentation! Some of us are complete newbies to WiFi and mobile hotspots and mobile devices.
Once I figured out that I could do all the setup steps through my Samsung mobile device via the browser and my desktop computer wasn't required at all, I was good to go. I bought and added a $20 Top Up card to my account and it has easily lasted me a month. And that's despite downloading at least two large game apps with it and numerous smaller apps! This sort of thing does tend to eat through bandwidth faster, but as my normal daily use of bandwidth is fairly light in nature, I have had no trouble making my 1GB allotment last the entire month, with room to spare. I am even able to create a secure hotspot for my husband's device if needed.
When we get home WiFi, I won't need the MiFi as much, but the device will then come in handy for traveling, so I have a secure hotspot and don't have to risk using public hotspots for checking email or other secure connections. It's been a great purchase!
Currently, for the month I have owned it, the device has functioned flawlessly. I have not yet had to contact customer service for any reason.
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