Pros:Internet virtually anytime, anywhere, free from Verizon
Cons:Relatively large USB modem, big easy target
The Bottom Line: What's not to like? It's a freebie!
I dont know about you, but Im getting a little tired of waiting for Wi-Fi. It seemed just a couple of years ago everyone was predicting Wi-Fi to be ubiquitous in just a short time.
But the reality falls far short. Sure, if youre waiting in Ft Lauderdale Airport, youre likely to pick up a signal. You may have to pay to use it but its there. Hotels have jumped onto the bandwagon too.
But sometimes you just find yourself in places where Wi-Fi is just another word. A good example of that occurred to me just this past weekend. I was down in the Florida Keys and of course I had my laptop with me. It was getting late and I thought it smart to phone the hotel and let them know I was going to be late. Rummaging through My case I couldnt find my confirmation and a call to 411 didnt get me the phone number as they had recently changed their name.
I had made my reservation with Hotels.com and knew that if I could go through my email or go to their web-site Id be on the right track. But, how to get on-line?
Verizon Broadband Wireless
About a month ago I started subscribing to Verizon Broadband Wireless. Basically, anywhere I could pick up any kind of Verizon signal I could get on their EV-DO network. In subscribing I had my choice of three different modems for my laptop. My choices were a PC card, an express card, or the USB720. My choice? The USB720. In moments I was on-line and retrieving my hotels.com confirmation. All from a parking lot in Key Colony Beach, Florida.
Why the USB720?
I wish I could give you all kinds of technical reasons for my choice. But frankly it all boiled down to cost. It was free after instant rebate, and given satisfactory performance, whats free is for me.
The USB720, is predictably a wireless modem that fits on any open USB port on your machine. The modem is a USB 1.1 (Original USB) device, capable of speeds to 12mbs, more than sufficient to handle Verizons Broadband Network advertised speed of 1.5mbs.
What I Like
Well, lets not forget that free thing. Free is good. But, beyond that, the modem is solidly built and easily and securely stored when not in use. A flip-up signal amplifier is included, but frankly, to date has not been needed to obtain or maintain a signal.
Installation of Verizons software was straight-forward and took only a few minutes. The modem is activated in seconds from Verizons desk-top icon.
What I dont like
This is a relatively large USB device. At 3.5x1.5x.7, it is a rather large appendage sticking out of the side of your laptop. A careless bump into something could damage your USB connector, if not the modem itself. But aside from this concern, the modem has worked flawlessly.
A Useful Tip
I was reading a blog post somewhere on the USB720 and came upon a useful tip to deal with the concern stated above. The modem comes with a short, compact USB cable, ostensibly to allow you to place it in a better position to obtain a signal if necessary. This blogger recommended putting a piece of Velcro on the modem and the back of your laptop cover. Held securely in place there out of harms way, the modem can be attached to your laptop with the USB cable. Ive tried this suggestion. It makes your USB modem and laptop port a lot less vulnerable.
My Bottom Line
First, let me say that Im hooked on Verizons Wireless Broadband Service. Okay, its a bit pricey, but I figure if the good Mrs. Xeno can spend $37 for a bottle of hair-conditioner, Mr. Xeno can spend $59.99 a month for Internet access. Remember that justification. It may come in handy.
As far as the USB720 is concerned, it seems like a good deal to me. I recommend it.
© Rudi Xeno 2008
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