Hands On with Novatel MiFi 3G/4G from Sprint, Verizon

Though the MiFi mobile hotspot router devices have been announced for 4G networks for Sprint and Verizon Wireless in the U.S., neither model are available yet–Verizon Wireless says its 3G/4G LTE model will launch in the first half of 2011 while Sprint says its 3G/4G WiMax model is coming February for $50. We did have an opportunity to talk with the good folks of Novatel about their device and we took some snapshots of both models.

The Sprint model has a brushed aluminum look with a chrome border and matte rubberized soft-touch coating to the back side. Sprint’s branding is also a bit more subdued than the Verizon Wireless model, though both are very similar.  Also, the LCD display on the right hand side of the Sprint model seems less bunched than the Verizon model, displaying 3 icons instead of four for crucial connection status information and battery life monitor.

The Verizon Wireless MiFi model shows off its 4G prowess in bright red 4G LTE red lettering. Also, instead of the brushed black metal look on the Sprint model, Verizon Wireless goes high gloss on its model.

Both models will be able to connect up to five other devices via WiFi on the same mobile broadband connection to either Verizon Wireless’s “rule the air” 4G LTE network or Sprint’s Now 4G Network or 3G CDMA/EVDO connections. Also, both units are slightly thicker than their 3G-only first generation MiFi devices while maintaining similar lengths and widths.

Moreover, these MiFi units will be similar to the GSM MiFi units and support a microSDHC card slot, which can be used for sharing data and files between connected devices.

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