MiFi v2: The Good, The Something and the Not So Ugly

So my second trial of the MiFi has come to an end (boo!)

The new version was launched by Three last month, and had a few improvements based on feedback on the original model. Because of my previous blog post, Michelle at ThreeMobileBuzz offered me a trial of the new one so I could compare them.

I took my MiFi out quite a bit this time. It came to Boston Tea Party a few times (if you’ve never been to BTP, you MUST! They do such yummy cakes, and have a massive selection of tea. Also their Park Street branch (my favourite) has a gorgeous little “secret garden” which is lovely to sit in during the summer. You might even see the shabby robin!) where it was a lifesaver – BTP offers free wifi with The Cloud, but I’ve never been able to get it working, and none of the staff there seem to know how it works either!

It came on the bus with me (after moving house, I now have a 40 minute bus journey to and from work everyday. This is me trying to use the time efficiently!)

It even came to work with me everyday, where I spent my lunches reading Google Reader applying for jobs and updating the blog.

The new version was a lot nicer to use as well. You pressed one button to turn it on, and then waited a little bit. Instead of having to decode the icons and colours (what does a green M mean again?), the new screen would tell you what it was doing. It was nice as well to see how many devices were connected to it at one time – obviously would be more useful if more than one person was using it so you could work out what was using it! Appearance wise – I much preferred the matt black and silver combination to the previous white plastic look.

The control panel (if thats the right word?) was much more useful to me as well – I only use Macs outside of work, and the old versions Windows only application was pretty useless to me! The new MiFi now has a web based control panel which not only gave the same information at the actual screen (useful if you’ve put the MiFi over on the windowsill for example) but also information about data usage, any text messages that you’ve recieved (and could send them as well – useful I’m sure for some people) and even what websites you visited most (interesting!)

I liked the old MiFi, but this one is even better. Its so easy to use, I’d be quite happy to recommend this to anyone – even my dad! I’m seriously considering this for myself as well, although that would be dependant on the signal strength in Somerset.

The v2 MiFi is available on both pay as you go contracts and pay monthly ones. You can choose whether to pay for the… well, its not a dongle is it. Device?… or have it on an 18 month contract and pay a little extra each month.

Hello MiFi v2

So you might have seen recently that I was trialling the MiFi from Three to see how I got on. My general response was that I liked the idea of it, but the design of the item was a bit meh. I don’t like buttons that I have to jab in a certain order, I like to turn something on and for it to Just Work.

An hour after that post published, Michelle at ThreeMobileBuzz got back in contact with me to offer me a trial of the next version of the MiFi.

Its a lot nicer looking – white plastic only looks good on Apple products (thats why I didn’t go for a white Dell netbook – it just looked wrong!) and gives much more information on the screen.

I’ll be giving this little MiFi a workout to see just how good it is, and will report back (of course. You lucky lucky people)

Goodbye MiFi

So my two (and a bit) week trial of the MiFi unit from Three is over. I’m going to miss it actually. Its been so handy to have it in my bag and to just turn on when I wanted to get online (hello job applications at lunch – things are just so much easier on your own computer!) and it seems as fast as the wifi at home.

Well, when its in a good signal area.

And theres the main problem with the MiFi device that I trialed.

Heres the device with all the lights happily lit up (forgive the slight wobblyness – I was on a train!)

But after a few seconds, they all go off. Which is a bit useless really, because if (for example) you’re on a train, then theres bound to be little patches of areas that you will just get no signal. But you wont know this until the browser (or whatever you’re doing) times out. Pretty annoying really.

The other thing that I wasn’t so keen on with the MiFi was that you turn the device on, wait for it to stuff and then you have to press the connect button. Why? If I’m turning on the device, then I want to use it!

I’m told that these problems have been addressed with the arrival of the new MiFi unit, which is making it a bit more tempting towards purchasing one.

However. I was lent this device by Michelle at ThreeMobileBuzz which meant that everything was all set up for me. Three unfortunately does not have the best customer service, something which Alex found a month or so ago when he bought his iPad and after switching it the next day for the 3G one, he chose to go with Three as he has been an active customer for quite a long time. He had such trouble just trying to get them to put the iPad SIM account onto his old account!

I love the idea of the MiFi, and the signal/service was pretty decent wherever I used it (O2 always crapped out on me between Reading and London, but Three held up reasonably well with little black spots) but its a shame that other networks with better customer service don’t offer this device!

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