Staying connected to the internet today has become more important than, well, a lot of other things. We’ve become so dependent on the net that even a single day without access to the network can disrupt our routine. As such, internet on the go is no new news. However, it isn’t always convenient to have a bulky laptop around with a dongle stick hanging to the side. Sure, there are smartphones, but then not all of us have the same needs. If you happen to have a tablet without a SIM slot or would want to save on costs by wiring multiple machines to the same connection and share the bandwidth, the device we are to review is just the thing for you.
Micromax MMX 400R is a MiFi device. Putting it in simple words it is an unlocked 3G dongle where you can insert your preferred carrier’s SIM card and tether the connection over a WiFi network. It offers features like a 1500 mAh battery, simultaneous connection with up to 5 devices and USB tethering. There’s also a microSD slot onboard.
Packaging and build
We’ll have to admit we were rather impressed with the packaging. The device comes neatly packed in a box along with a charger, a micro USB cable and a quick start guide. There’s no microSD card included but that is expected.
The device has been built well. The buttons and led on the device have been put well and the plastic doesn’t feel cheap. The overall dimensions of the device are close to 90 x 48 x12mm. That is smaller than any mobile phone, albeit larger than a USB dongle. You can easily pocket the device. There are two buttons on the bottom edge of the device and it has 4 LEDs on the front face.
The charger and USB cable provided could have been of better quality, but then at this price you can’t really complain.
Setting up and configuration
The device is rather easy to setup. It comes with pre-loaded settings for most of the Indian carriers. You can easily set up a WiFi hotspot. The setup offers many options, however most of us would have a hard time understanding much of it anyway, and it is best to be left for advanced users.
Usage and performance
The device offers tethering over USB as well as WiFi. We were easily able to hook up the device to a PC. We tested it by connecting it to a Windows laptop, an Android phone and an Android tablet simultaneously and had no problems whatsoever. There isn’t much loss in speeds and the connection worked just fine. The device boasts of speeds up to 7.2 mbps on the downlink and 5.76 mbps on the uplink.
However, one downside is that every time you connect to a network, it automatically redirects you to a Micromax page first time and unless you visit the page, internet access is denied. Not that it is a big issue, but it can get annoying at times.
The microSD card can be accessed via USB as well as over WiFi which makes it rather excellent for people with tablets having no expansion slot.
One thing we disliked about the device however, was that you cannot use it without the battery. That means if you want to spare the battery from the huge amount of heat this device generates (which is normal for a 3G modem), there’s no option. Even if you have plugged it to the USB charger, it still won’t function till the battery is in there. This takes toll on the battery’s health, as hot environments aren’t ideally suited for Li-ion batteries.
The device packs a 1500 mAh battery which offers surprisingly good performance. We were able to access internet for just under 4 hours on a single charge connected to a single laptop. That is more than enough if you ask us and since the battery is removable, you can always carry a spare one around.
Price and conclusion
Micromax has delivered a solid product here that though might only find use in hands of a niche of people, but it is a decent performer nonetheless. It can be picked for as low as Rs 2,300 and honestly speaking, that’s not much of an asking price. It comes with one year Micromax warranty. If you are looking for a device that can run Internet on your phone, laptop or tablet, it’s worth trying out this device.
Update: Second Impressions
After using the device for over a month we can confirm that this device is a disappointment. It frequently freezes during operation and starting up operation and there’s no other way but to remove the battery to restart the device. Also, battery backup has reduced to around 2-3 hours from 4 hours that we used to get earlier. For anyone looking for a good quality MiFi device we’d strongly suggest to look somewhere else.