When covering CES every year I always like to make sure we have a hotspot with us to help get our articles done everywhere and not rely on shared hotspots or even the crappy and expensive hotel data that’s all over Las Vegas. This year we teamed up with AT&T and they provided us with one of their Velocity mobile hotspots made by ZTE. With all the different carriers and so many different folks out there using LTE did the Velocity live up to its name?
The Velocity is an oval shaped device with a 2.4″ TFT LCD display on the front. What makes it good is the ability of being touchscreen which may or may not get on these hotspots. With that you have the ability to do just about everything on screen rather than pressing hard buttons. It will even tell you how much data you used and how much you have left. On the top is a slot of microSD cards going up to 32GBs, a WPS setup button and power button. Flip over to the bottom and you have a microUSB charge port and sim card slot.
It’s rather easy and straightforward with AT&T’s Velocity Hotspot. On the main screen is the Wi-Fi connection name and the password you need. This way you don’t have to flip through options to look for it and is handy and on the spot for sharing purposes. If you click on the “Wi-Fi” button you can access other options such as using 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bands and how far you want the range of Wi-Fi to go. I didn’t even realize there was 5 GHz option till going into the options and actually ended up using both versions. There is also a feature to divide how many you want on the main Wi-Fi or if you want to have some for “guests”.
Using this for almost a week straight in the streets of Las Vegas, I’d have to say there was no downtime and this hotspot provided great data when I or my team needed it most. It fared 10x better than the included hotel internet I’ll say that much. At times I was getting anywhere from 10-20MBs down. It was tested with numerous devices such as an iPhone 6, Nexus 6, Samsung Galaxy Note 4, MacBook Air, Nexus 9 and two Surface Pro 3s. Being able to change it to 5 GHz to use with the Surface Pro 3 was a great benefit. The signal strength was good too as I would have it in my hotel room and a colleague could still use it in their room next door.
Battery life wasn’t bad as I’d get about 10hrs out of it constantly and maybe charged it once or twice. With its 2800mAh battery it did charge pretty quickly as well. I’m not too much a fan about having to login online via a connected device to change login info but I guess it could be worst.
Pricing on the AT&T Velocity by ZTE has it currently at $0.99 on a 2yr contract or $149.99 without one. You can get a DataConnect only plan for $50 which will give you 5GB or check out their other plans which can vary depending on your needs. They have Mobile Share plans from 300MBs up to 100GBs depending on your appetite.
If you need a hotspot and don’t want to tether from your mobile device, the AT&T Velocity is a great assist. You can assist all its options on the device itself and its touchscreen is pretty responsive. I realistically couldn’t find much wrong with it at all. If you are an AT&T subscriber definitely give it a try if you need mobile data on the go.