I am a huge fan of mobile broadband. Since getting on the bandwagon last year, I can’t imagine not having my datacard with me to get online for work, uni or general surfing when out. I started out using my phone tethered via either Bluetooth or USB, which worked ok but wasn’t overly fast, was slightly unreliable and when using Bluetooth resulted in a dead battery after about 90mins.
More recently I switched to using a Novatel Merlin XU870 HSDPA datacard which is fabulous. Uber fast connections at the coffee shop, on the train, or (when the cable is out) at home. It’s also handy to be able to just open up my laptop, slide in the card and get online almost instantly, instead of having to mess around with my phone.
For convenience however, this can be bested by having an internal mobile broadband modem, or WWAN. Instead of using a card, just insert the SIM into a slot in the laptop, and you have instant, high-speed data access wherever you’ve got coverage. I’ve enjoyed such functionality on the HTC Shift and Fujitsu U1010, and for the first time I’m enjoying it on the more usual laptop form factor, in the shape of the Fujitsu P8010.
I’ve reviewed this laptop before, and apart from a few nigly little build issues, I liked it very much. Now they have installed a speedy HSDPA radio, I like it even more!
My carrier of choice for data, Three (based on price, not coverage unfortunately), has a very fast network in city areas, and as such is good for testing this thing out. As soon as I booted up the P8010 with my SIM inserted, the HSDPA management software locked onto the network with two out of five bars showing. Unfortunately I get poor signal at my house, but 2/5 is better than my Novatel card gets most of the time. It didn’t seem to affect the speed much either, with a simply astonishing test speed of over 2.1Mbit/s!
Surfing out at the coffee shop is an absolute pleasure, as is typing on the comfortable and sturdy keyboard. The screen still flexes when opened, which is a shame, but it is clear and bright in all maners of lighting, and is virtually unreadable from any angle other than dead on, which I suppose is a plus for those who value their privacy.
I unfortunately was only able to hold onto it for a week, since other reviewers were hungry to get their hands on it (and I was one of the first to receive it), and I am going to miss the instant internet hit offered by the built-in HSDPA. The convenience of not having to tote an HSDPA card around means all you need is the laptop in a sleeve, and a fiver to buy a coffee, and you can get some work done 😉