Vodafone 7.2 USB "Stick" Modem review

4.5 out of 5
The "Stick" is available on the £25 Mobile Broadband flat rate and prices for the device itself start from £49 with an 18 month contract

For

Even smaller than the last one, easy to install, fast connection speed

Against

7.2 connection speed still limited

Vodafone has expanded its range of high-speed USB Modems with a new "Stick" design that as well as being super small and lightweight, is capable of connection speeds of up to 7.2Mbps.

But, it's worth noting that these impressive speeds - up to 22 times faster than that of "normal" mobile broadband - are currently only available in a few locations throughout the UK.

Coverage is continuing to be rolled out in the London districts of E1, E1W, E14, EC1, EC2, EC3, EC4, NW1, SW1, W1, W2, W8, W9, W10, W11, W14, WC1 and WC2.

In addition to the capital's coverage, 7.2Mbps can also be enjoyed at major airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, London City, Southampton, East Midlands, Liverpool, Manchester, Belfast City and Belfast International.

The new USB Modem Stick is Vodafone's smallest and slimmest yet and is no larger than a standard USB flash drive.

It really is tiny and lightweight and to say that it offers you full-fat internet connectivity anywhere there is mobile phone coverage makes you marvel at the wonders of tech today.

With the claim that it will work out the box, the Stick is compatible with both Windows - Vista and XP - and Mac OS X so we were interested to see just how quickly we could be up and running online.

Installing the software is refreshingly easy - we used a 2GHz Intel Core Duo MacBook running Mac OS 10.4.8 to test the E172. Simply insert the CD and follow the instructions. That's really all there is to it.

It uses your default web browser to take you through the steps then places the installed software within your "Applications" folder.

To activate the device, just go to "Internet Connect", again within the "Applications" folder and select "Vodafone E172" and click on the connect button.

By all accounts, it would be even easier on a PC as you don't even need the install CD to get going.

This is a great device, that enables fast access to the internet. Possibly our only complaint, and even this is slight, is that the device itself is a little wide, so if your machine has two USB ports side by side, unless you have a USB extension cable, you won't be able to plug anything else in, as it takes up a bit of space. But, said USB extension cable is included in the pack, so just remember to take it with you.

If you're worried about someone accessing unsuitable content, Vodafone has it's own set of filters in place that restrict access to adult sites for example.

Verdict

If you need internet connectivity where there isn't Wi-Fi coverage, then this is the device for you. Small, simple to use and effective when in use, we can recommend this new offering from Vodafone.