Huawei E5770s Pocket WiFi

Some people have data plans on their phones. Others, like me, have it on a pocket WiFi (which I’ll henceforth call pWF) device – because WiFi sucks batteries less than data. 1 so you don’t end up with a phone that’s out of juice a few hours into the day The only problem of course is that the pWF itself uses cellphone data (and transmits via WiFi) – so the typical 1600mAh battery for such a device only lasts 6 hours – not nearly enough for a whole day’s use unless you have a powerbank handy.

While I do have a powerbank to use for both phone and pWF, our recent trip to Japan enlightened me to the fact that it can be cumbersome to have them both connected to it. So I prefer the powerbank to be used only for the phone if possible.

Another realization from our trip is that the pWF we rented can last a day – as it had a larger capacity battery (2600mAh). After a full day’s of normal use, 2 Granted, we were walking and taking photos more than we were surfing I still had 40% left. Perhaps the unit was more efficient in battery use – or perhaps it has something to do with the signal being readily available, 3 I hear that searching for a signal uses juice more than anything, so it may be that our crappy telcos give pWFs a harder time in general or both.

Whatever the case may be, that Japanese pWF lasted a day easily, and so it was decided: My current pWF (a Huawei E5331) was due for an upgrade. The search for a unit that had enough juice and worked with our cellular networks was on.

Didn’t have to look far. The Huawei E5770s was a unit that was compatible with our networks and seemed to check all the boxes right off the bat.

First, it comes with a whopping 5,200mAh battery. Considering my old pWF could give 6 hours with a 1,600mAh battery – then obviously the math says this will easily last an entire day.

One personal issue the monstrous battery life solved was this: I want my phone to be online all the time because in the event that I misplace it, I’ll be able to track it. But as I’ve mentioned earlier, having your phone’s data on all the time is a huge drain on the battery 4 Not to mention that my phone’s plan only had 400MB consumable data per month. – so using WiFi whenever possible addresses that concern.

In my case, I could now just keep mobile data on and not worry about going over my phone’s free data allotment – because it’s either I’m using our home network, or the pWF that lasts pretty much the entire time I’m out. The only time that’s left for it to actually use mobile data is when my phone is lost – which is ideal.

But perhaps you’re not like me, and feel 5,200mAh is a tad too much juice for your typical use. Not to worry, that extra battery weight is not wasted, it’s got a USB type-A slot that allows you to use it as a powerbank. It even cleverly incorporates a USB charge cable as a lanyard

Not only that, it also functions as a WiFi repeater/extender and can create a wireless connection from regular ethernet thanks to a RJ45 jack built right in as well.

Personally, this is great because I have an old CradlePoint CTR35 that was supposed to be precisely for converting tethered internet to WiFi. 5 I got it for traveling when WiFi wasn’t yet as ubiquitous as it is today The E5770s now merges the two devices and manages a size that’s right in the middle of both.

So at this point, every extra feature is already a bonus from my simple requirement of a pWF that can last an entire day of operation.

But wait, there’s more! It also accepts a microSD card so you can use it as some rudimentary storage device as well. I say rudimentary because it doesn’t function as a network node – in order to have “direct access” to the files, you need to access it through the HiLink App. If you’re not using the app (which is available for iOS and Android) then you’ll have to access the files through a web interface… which only allows you to put in or download from the SD card, not access the file(s) directly.

So for example you want to watch a movie – if you’re on a phone and have the HiLink app, you’re fine – just access the file through the app. But if you’re on a laptop – you’d have to access it through the web interface and download it to your machine before watching it.

I hope Huawei updates the firmware and allow it to function as a regular shared networked drive. For one I’d be able to use different network-enabled mobile apps to access the file (e.g. use a different video player instead of the built in OS media player) and of course on the desktop would just treat it like a regular shared drive.

But like I said, it’s already packed with value as it is – anything more, while welcome, is just icing on the cake.

Notes   [ + ]

1. so you don’t end up with a phone that’s out of juice a few hours into the day
2. Granted, we were walking and taking photos more than we were surfing
3. I hear that searching for a signal uses juice more than anything, so it may be that our crappy telcos give pWFs a harder time in general
4. Not to mention that my phone’s plan only had 400MB consumable data per month.
5. I got it for traveling when WiFi wasn’t yet as ubiquitous as it is today

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