The only reason why I bought this was because my cable modem died on Friday and I couldn’t wait till Tuesday to get a replacement. Since my business and fun depend heavily on the internet, I decided to give the Sprint OverDrive Pro a shot. Yes I do have a Verizon USB 3G card from work but the connection speeds are terrible averaging at 500k/200k.
Sprint has an excellent return policy where they give you 30 days to try out the service and will even refund the usage! The plan itself is the most cost effective compared to Verizon and AT&T where they cap BOTH your 3G and 4G usage! Sprint offers a $44.99/month plan for 3GB 3G and Unlimited 4G usage. 4G is all over the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California which works out great from where I’m at.
Why bother doing an unboxing? It’s because the box itself sort of reminded me of the iPhone packaging so why the hell not. As you can see it’s a little bit bigger than but the concept is about the same. The OverDrive Pro comes with a micro USB cable, charger, and a quick setup guide. The unit itself is very light and takes up little space in a laptop bag or backpack!
Setting up the OverDrive Pro was incredible easy. The web based interface is much more simpler to use than the Linksys Router or even the AirPort Extreme. When you turn on the unit, the LCD screen will tell you to login to the OverDrive and enter in the WiFi password. From there on you configure everything else through your web browser. You can even configure port forwarding and port triggering to optimize your bit torrent downloads 😉 Overall, setup took about 3 minutes or less and I was up and running on 4G. I have my iPad 2, iPhone 4, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air all connected simultaneously without any problems.
I am fortunate enough to live in an area where 4G/WiMax is just about everywhere and I am even able to receive excellent reception indoors. I was in a Pho restaurant, MacDonald’s, and now at a Sizzler as I type this with 4G at full bars. I did notice that the OverDrive tends to heat up quickly when in 4G mode but it’s not that big of a deal. I’ve been using this for almost 5 hours and there’s about 15% battery life left. It’s lasting longer than my MacBook Air and I had to switch to type on my iPad 2 because of that! Here’s a quick comparison between my Verizon Wireless 3G USB modem and the Overdrive…
As you can see, the Sprint 4G is about 4.5X faster than 3G downloading, and about 2X faster uploading. In real world use for just surfing the web and sending emails, you won’t notice that much of a difference, but if you want to stream in video, watch Youtube videos in HD, 4G is the way to go. I also noticed that 3G sometimes lags when streaming in music from Slacker but I have no issues on the OverDrive.
The OverDrive Pro does a little bit more than just provide a mobile hotspot. It also features a MicroSD card slot in which you can create your own mini NAS and share up to 32GB across the network. I haven’t really found much use for it, but some people might. There’s also a built in GPS where you can find restaurants, businesses and other nearby attractions using the web interface which again, I don’t have much use for it because there’s this thing called Google that already does that!
If you are in need of a wireless hotspot, the Sprint OverDrive Pro is the way to go. It’s amazingly portable, the network is reliable with high speed performances, has great battery life, and has the most cost effective rate plan. However, if you are on a budget and need internet on the go, add a tethering plan to your cell phone, or even suffer a little bit using the free public WiFi offered in coffee shops and fast food joints such as StarBucks and MacDonald’s!