T-Mobile's 3G data card offering is called the Communications Centre. But is it all that it says it is? We take a look and find out.
In what has to be the worst piece of product branding aimed at the business sector the T-Mobile Communication Centre is bright pink, so much so, that you might even have to think about wearing sunglasses when you've got it plugged in to your laptop.
The colour might be ideal for a company logo or even a bridesmaid's dress, but next to a black laptop, you've got to be prepared for plenty of comments when you use it.
Now we've got the aesthetics out the way, what do you get for you cash? Like other operators, T-Mobile has included GPRS, 3G and WLAN connectivity in the card to make it easier for users to connect either via the phone or a wireless hotspot wherever they are around the country or globe.
With T-Mobile offering a plethora of hotspots around the country in petrol stations, airports and Starbucks, as expected the software includes an application that let's you know where your nearest hotspot is so you can wander down and get connected.
You can opt to merely connect to your own wireless network, and like other T-Mobile wireless products there is no discounts for those T-Mobile Hotspots, even though you've bought its branded Wi-Fi product.
The initial setup was straightforward and connecting the card each time we wanted to use it over our 2 week testing period caused us no problems. To make it easier you can set up three profiles; Home, Office and Mobile, and these allow you to automatically connect using different setups such as Wi-Fi or 3G depending on which profile suits you. It certainly speeds things up as switching from one connection to another and we found without using the profile manager the process is very long-winded.
The connection software is basic, but full of features. Those worried about costs can opt to set time usage and data usage thresholds so you don't go over a set amount. If you're on a budget it's a nice feature, but does have the side effect of cutting your connection mid-download if you've gone over your self-imposed limit.
The software also allows you to set specific programs to be used with specific connections and again this is ideal if you are worried about data usage and don't have enough self-control.
Overall the performance was very good. We experienced no connection issues in the various spots around the country we tried it. The built in SMS Center to send texts via the computer was a useful feature but nothing that stood out from other offerings from other operators' cards. However just like other units we've tested the T-Mobile Communication Centre will suck power out of your PC laptop faster that you could with a bendy straw.
So how does this rate against the other operators' offerings? It all comes down to tariffs and personal preference as for performance this is on a par with the other data cards we have tested at Pocket-lint.