Memo to @Clear: 4G Mobile USB Product Review .. wow!

Where Clear is good, they are very, very good. In my region, this includes:

  • Metropolitan Seattle (all over Seattle, actually)
  • Downtown Bellevue, lots of points around Bellevue
  • Downtown Kirkland, lots of points around Kirkland

.. and many points in-between. I think these guys are ahead of the game .. I hope they can get it together and make an impact.

I’m working with the the Clear 4G Mobile USB pretty much wherever I find myself these daze. My office travels with me: where my bag, is my office  .. etc., etc. .. you know the whole ‘hired gun’ deal.

However, this post is not about me: it’s about this spiffy device that I secured on the cheap from Clear. Yes: I’ve had my issues with Clear at my home, and have, in fact abandoned the service there, but I’m keeping this device. I come here to praise Clear, not to bury them.

I’m going to gush about the device and the service .. listing caveats first, praises second:

They call it a ‘mobile’ device: I would call it a ‘portable’ device:
While it is possible a 4G-to-4G handoff works, it is not my experience that the device works worth a darn while moving, say on a bus (I spend a lot of time on buses). From my home experience, I know the device can read a tower over a mile away (as the crow flies), so I’m always surprised at failed hand-offs between towers on short hops. That said, the device reconnects as soon as it can .. no muss, no fuss. It just works. It’s great for sync and Outlook (both of which have offline support). Not so good for online gaming while on the move (but who has time for games besides Angry Birds anyway?)

It is 4G only:
From the above-mentioned bit, I can surmise that the ‘glue’ between the 4G coverage is 3G. My real experience (with a similar Sprint USB device I used last year) supports this. I always had connection whilst in motion. The Clear device doesn’t recognize 3G, so unless you’re in a dense 4G area (see the Clear coverage map .. click ‘check coverage’), there is no glue. As above, the device reconnects seamlessly when it recognizes the strongest tower, which for everything besides streaming just works.

It is reasonably-priced:
The bang: $25 / month. That’s the sweet spot. Hold out for that price. Buy the service and return it within 30 days if you’re not satisfied (hint: be unsatisfied .. they might cut you a deal). Note: AT&T charges $60 per month for wireless USB, last I checked .. memo to AT&T: I cannot direct link to this content. While the AT&T device is truly mobile (unless you’re in an iPhone-infested area; YMMV), examine your own use case to see if you can justify the constantly-connected (to your wallet) lifestyle.

Got Sprint? Get Clear:
Clear IS the Sprint 4G network. Period. If you have a Sprint device and are enjoying 4G, you’re enjoying the Clear network. Check out how Sprint publishes their 3G and 4G speeds comparison, reach and area.

So, from Downtown Kirkland (from where I find myself tonight), during prime time:

The Clear 4G Mobile USB.

It doesn’t suck.

Want cheap and fast, but don’t care much about moving while connected? Call these guys.

About Michael Coates
I am a pragmatic evangelist. The products, services and solutions I write about fulfill real-world expectations and use cases. I stay up-to-date on real products I use and review, and share my thoughts here. I apply the same lens when designing an architecture, product or when writing papers. I am always looking for ways that technology can create or enhance a business opportunity .. not just technology for technology's sake. My CV says: Seasoned technology executive, leveraging years of experience with enterprise and integration architectural patterns, executed with healthy doses of business acumen and pragmatism. That's me. My web site says: Technology innovations provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses. That said, having the "latest and greatest" for its own sake isn't always a recipe for success. Business successes gained through exploiting innovation relies on analysis of how the new features will enhance your business followed by effective implementation. Goals vary far and wide: streamlining operations, improving customer experience, extending brand, and many more. In all cases, you must identify and collect the metrics you can apply to measure your success. Analysis must be holistic and balanced: business and operational needs must be considered when capitalizing on a new technology asset or opportunity.

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