Option iCON 401 review

Get mobile 3G broadband with an existing SIM card – but does it work out better value for money?

Option iCON 401
The Option iCON 401's software needs Mac OS X 10.4.3 or higher

TechRadar Verdict

Potentially useful, but you'll need the right tariff and use an existing SIM card


  • +

    Mobile broadband with your contract

  • +

    Nicely made

  • +

    launch2net software pleasant to use

  • +

    Good internet connection


  • -

    Quite expensive

  • -

    Slightly confusing instructions

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Mobile broadband has finally taken off. All the phone stores are full of offers and networks are breathing a massive sigh of relief as they finally reap all their cash back from their multi-billion-pound acquisitions of 3G licenses. But what if you have an existing mobile contract that gives you 3G broadband access? Enter the iCON 401.

Just slot your current SIM card into the stick and you can bring broadband mobile internet to your Mac. If you can get data on your mobile, chances are your SIM will work with the 401, but we really can't stress enough that you'll need to check out the fine print of your data plan to make sure you don't end up with a huge bill.

MicroSD slot

The 401 is a fine, if expensive, addition to your mobile armoury – and it adds the ability to insert a MicroSD card to save files to it. Additionally, you can plug in an external antenna.

The stick itself is actually made by Option, but distributor Nova Media directs Mac owners to use its own software, launch2net (check for a later version on the website when installing). It's a convenient app to control your net connection and tells you the time you've spent online as well as the amount of data downloaded and uploaded.

The connection to the internet is seamless and the software works far better than many software apps supplied by mobile broadband providers. However, it lacks the simplicity of the latest generation of plug-and-play installation-free sticks.

Our final opinion, however, has to be governed by the price, and we'd recommend this stick only if you definitely need to use an existing SIM card. Plus, if you need to make add-ons to your tariff, it'll be worth doing some sums – the cost of the add-on each month, plus the cost of this stick, may mean you're better off signing up to a mobile broadband deal separately.


Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site T3.com. Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.