Three MiFi E586: Verdict
The 3 MiFi Huawei Wireless Modem E586 is a tablet lover's best friend. You can save yourself the outlay on something like a 3G iPad, get the Wi-Fi-only version and spend the rest on Haribo (or whatever the kids are into these days).
There is a question to be asked as to whether one is necessary for you, though; many phones, including lots of Android handsets and the iPhone 4 now have the ability to share their 3G connections with a Wi-Fi hotspot – just like the MiFi is intended to do.
There are lots of reasons not to do this – you may not want to drain your phone's battery this way, or the MiFi may get a faster or stronger connection than your phone – but it may be worth exploring before you splash out, or sign up for another contract.
The MiFi is the very definition of convenience. Simple to set up, completely painless to use, and light and small enough to forget about when carrying it.
The connection quality was generally very strong, and this translated into good practical browsing speeds. You may not get 21Mbps, but you can load websites, check Facebook and even watch videos with ease.
And, yes, it's likely to be a damn sight cheaper than getting a tablet with 3G built in.
The fact that it's hard to know if and when Three's HSPA+ rollout is coming to your area is frustrating, and the MiFi E586 has the usual caveats of mobile broadband – areas of mysterious dropped signal, for example – but this is just a fact of the technology as it stands.
Though we do see the MiFi as being good value for money, it does suffer from the fact that it could be considered an unnecessary extra if your phone can serve the same function.
The Three MiFi E586 is a very handy little device, and anyone looking at getting a 3G tablet or laptop should definitely consider it before splashing out on the pricier hardware.