Pocket-lint is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(Pocket-lint) - The Sprint ZTE Peel, $79.99, is an accessory that ends the fruitless search for Wi-Fi by turning an Apple iPod touch into its own mobile hotspot on Sprint’s 3G network. Each gigabyte of data will cost $29.99 per month, with additional charges incurred for additional data. Although the Peel enables Wi-Fi, it will not support voice calling unless you resort to a third party application like Google Voice.

The device itself is a lightweight yet bulky looking case designed for a second or third generation iPod touch. The iPod touch snaps into the Peel and is held in place by two claw-like edges of semi-pliable plastic. The Peel is designed to only hold second or third generation iPod touch devices, so you won’t have much success trying to make a first generation or fourth generation iPod touch snap into place. That said, the Peel will work with your first generation iPod Touch, it just won’t hold it properly so be careful when you pick it up, because it probably won’t be held tightly in the case. An iPod touch 4G won’t fit into the Peel at all.

There is an earphone adapter that allows you to plug in your headset through the Peel case.

sprint zte peel review image 2

The Peel itself is wire-free and battery powered so it requires an initial charge for around 4 hours before you can use it. Once it is unplugged from the power source, the Peel has around 3 hours of Wi-Fi juice, which is one of the major points of contention over this device. Some argue that this simply isn’t enough power for a Wi-Fi hotspot, especially when compared to a device like MiFi

The best mobile phone deals for the Samsung S21, iPhone 12, Google Pixel 4a / 5, OnePlus 8T and more

Once the Peel is sitting in the cradle, it is surprisingly easy to connect to Sprint’s Wi-Fi especially since there’s no initial set-up or additional software. The Peel only has one button on the back, so once you press it and when the green light is on, you’re ready to go. By accessing your iPod touch’s settings to see all available Wi-Fi networks, you can locate the “Sprint Peel” network within this list. Selecting the network and you will instantly connect to Sprint’s 3G network. It was surprising how easy and effortless it was to make the Peel work.

Once you’re connected to Sprint’s 3G network, it works at the standard 3G speed and allows you to access the web from your iPod touch. The hotspot also allows one other person to access your internet connection.

sprint zte peel review image 3

The major customer complaint out there is that Peel is priced at $79.99 for the hardware and $29.99 per 1GB of data per month. When compared to competitors like AT&T’s iPad data plan also priced at $29.99 but for twice the data, it’s confusing why Sprint would charge an extra $10 per month for 1GB of data. It’s argued that if Sprint charged $19.99 per month for 1GB of data would run in direct competition with its own 250MB data plans for laptops and aircards. Although it costs more, the upside is that Sprint doesn’t require you to sign a contract in order to use the Peel, unlike the process of selling your soul to AT&T for a cheaper, but stricter extended plan.

The higher monthly charge also causes problems for the estimated 1% of people that exceed 1GB of data per month and will incur the additional $29.99 charge. You may not be safe from this additional charge of 1 month.

Another problem with the Peel is that is uses cheap and insecure WEP encryption designed for low-security usage on the iPod touch as compared to the superior WPA encryption on the MiFi.

To recap

From a consumer standpoint, it seems like there are better, cheaper options out there that might provide more accessibility at a cheaper price

Writing by Lydia Leavitt.