Posted By RichC on August 2, 2013
Disappointing to say the least.
The latest device available from Freedompop (low cost/ free wireless hotspot) is the Sierra Wireless Overdrive Pro utilizing the Sprint 3G/4G WiMaxx network which I thought might be similar to their previous 4G only devices – Photon. Unfortunately the refurbished Overdrive Pros are all that impressive from the moment one opens the box and sees the “sticker” stuck to the mobile hotspot device.
The disappointment didn’t end there as the standard micro USB charging cable was a 110volt only model AND would not initially charge the device. I attempted to plug in another USB from my computer which was do-able but very slow. I tried another USB 110v (one from my JamBox) and it fully charged the puck overnight.
In the morning turn the Overdrive Pro on and found that my signal quality was low on both the 3G and 4G connections. Both my Sprint base iPhone and Photon 4G Freedompop devices worked just fine in precisely the same spots. I was able to finally connect by placing the new Overdrive device on a window ledge … but obviously an external antenna will have to be used (unless this puck is faulty?)
Once connected I updated the admin features and renamed the hotspot device as well as the password. I was able to connect with both my notebook and my iPad and after updating the Overdrive Pro’s firmware (a 50MB download) and I ran a couple speedtests at my home location. (3G registered 60% signal strength and 4G only 20% according to the admin web interface) The speeds were not all that different from my old tethered Palm Pre when it came to 3G, but were way behind the Photon device in the same location. The device also disconnects the WiFi regularly and frustratingly will not continue to charge when it is being used and plugged in. I receive the message “charging paused” from the control panel. Another glitch is that twice now the device has discharged to 45% battery power and completely turned off. This second time I have been unable to recharge and turn back on … it is now a “brick” … albeit a small brick.
I’ve put a service ticket call into Freedompop but who knows how quickly they will respond or even if they will be able to help. At this point I’m expect they will ship a new device … (update pending)
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