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Huawei E5 “Pocket MiFi” Review




There was a time when mobile Internet was considered a luxury service. It was only limited to corporate executives who needs mobile Internet to access Outlook emails and SharePoint files. Globe’s Visibility and Smart WeRoam were still uber expensive and you’re locked with a contract. Prepaid 3G or even EDGE connection is non-existent.

Then 3G USB dongles came and swept the world by storm. 3G services are now more accessible to everyone. Students can now have mobile Internet on their laptops to do their research, thesis and homework almost anytime and everywhere as long as you have a 3G connection. Prepaid data is cheaper and unlimited postpaid data plans are now starting to catch up.

The only caveat with 3G USB dongles is that you’re only limited to one computer at a time and that’s assuming you have an extra USB port to use. “Pocket MiFis” or mobile wireless modems solves that single problem and offers additional features no one ever thought they needed one (maybe it’s just me). Huawei E5 is an upgraded version of the MiFy offered for a limited quantity by Globe.

Huawei E5 “Pocket MiFi” is a mobile wireless modem. You put a 3G-enabled sim card on it and it becomes a mobile Wifi router. You can connect up to 5 different wifi devices that can input a password. It’s a 802.11b/g router. You can also send text messages. It also act as a normal 3G USB dongle when connected to a computer via the included mini USB connector. So technically, you can connect 6 devices in total, the computer its connected to and 5 more WiFi devices.

The main difference of the E5 to the one sold by Globe is that the E5 now has a LED screen to see the signal, if you’re connected, the remaining battery life and how many devices are connected. I find this feature worth the upgrade.

I used my postpaid Globe Tattoo SIM on the E5. I was getting a good 1MBPS down speed here in Manila. I never had an issue connecting 5 devices at the same time. Just keep in mind that the speed you will get is dependent to your 3G speed connection. I tried using the unit while inside a moving car along EDSA. My iPad and iPhone 4 are connected to the E5. I never lost the connection while moving. I was able to browse the web and download apps at the same time.


What I like about the E5 is its size. It’s so pocketable — it can easily fit in your jeans’ pocket. It is half the size of a regular phone. The unit is also unlocked so you can use it with any network. Since it’s unlocked, I was able to use it on my trip to Hong Kong. I used a One2Free SIM and I was getting a download speed from 2MBPS to 3MBPS down. While riding the MTR (HK’s version of our MRT), moving and underground, I was getting 2MBPS speed! The unit can get speed up to 7.2MBPS.

If you have an iPhone 4 or iPod Touch 4G, you’ll know that FaceTime is only possible over a WiFi. And because I was using the WiFi router, I was FaceTime-ing while walking the street of Mongkok. How awesome is that? During my stay there, I was confronted to download a 650MB Snow Leopard OS update. I was able to download it using the E5 in a coffee shop in just under 30 mins. This is important note because E5 has its own battery that can last 5-10 hours of use. If you use it continuously with a 3G connection, it can last up to 5 hours. But if you walk around and use it occasionally, let say with an iPod Touch, it can last for half a day. To maximize the battery, you need to power it off when not in use.

If you use the E5 as a normal 3G USB dongle and connect to a laptop, it will charge the unit and can still be used as a wifi router at the same time. It’s very convenient if you’re in a coffee shop with your classmates or officemates doing some research or reports. You wont be needing 5 different 3G USB dongles.

Setting up the unit is pretty straightforward. You just need the APN setting from your internet provider. The unit, when connected to a computer for the first time, will install a management software. You can send and receive text messages using the software. You will need this if you want to get load updates from your network. Another feature of the device is the “connect” button. This is ideal if you’re using a prepaid SIM. You can connect or disconnect whenever you want.

Conclusion:
If you love your Globe Tattoo or SmartBro dongle, you’ll love the Huawei E5 even more. I seriously don’t know how to live without it anymore. The Php5,995 price tag is worth every peso. If you own more than 1 WiFi-capable devices, Huawei E5 is a must-have gadget.

The unit is now available in the Philippines. You can contact your favorite gadget stores.

Gcomm Business Corp. is the exclusive distributor of Huawei E5 Pocket MiFi in the Philippines. You can contact them at (+632) 659.00.72 or email at [email protected]

Editor’s Note: Dale is a reviews & special assignments contributor for YugaTech. This review had some minor revisions from me. You can follow him on Twitter @dalekins. – Yuga



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97 Responses

  1. al says:

    this is my on my wishlist for christmas! its a bit pricy though,for now

  2. Sabana says:

    I just purchased an E585 off eBay a week before this was announced nearly a month ago and I still haven’t received it. Only a couple of hundreds more then I could’ve gotten this instead right away :(

  3. kannuchi says:

    I can also do this with my N8’s Joikuspot application. Usb-charging with my laptop as well.

  4. jun says:

    i am going to buy one.. sang store na kaya available ito ?

  5. bernz says:

    is it available here in cebu?

  6. Leo says:

    used my samsung wave as wifi router, 3 connections max. cannot use globe sim (cannot connect to packet data) to share internet, only sun cellular.

  7. Leo says:

    used my samsung wave as wifi router, 3 connections max. cannot use globe sim/globe tattoo (cannot connect to packet data) to share internet, only sun broadband wireless.

  8. khaygie says:

    I’ve been waiting for this. Where could we buy?

    -Sent via YugaTech Mobile App

  9. zgkent says:

    used my old laptop or my nokia c6 as wifi router for the house and on the field…., the laptop also acts as a hardware based firewall/filter…^_^

  10. tdh1023 says:

    android phones running on froyo could do the same thing….without carrying an extra gadget

  11. calvin says:

    nice review dale.

    for those who tried using their smartphones as mobile ap, don’t you find it slower as compared to using a dedicated mifi router? another drawback is your phone will drain its battery faster.

  12. Jen says:

    @jun, @ khaygie – I just ordered one from Electroworld in Greenbelt 1 yesterday. I can get my order this week daw. Check it out!

  13. Mimi says:

    For the guys who used their smartphones as a mifi, can you still call and text while it’s broadcasting the wifi signal?

  14. dale says:

    @Calvin – Thanks Calvin! See you and Abe next week! :)

  15. yuga says:

    @merlin – yes, it’s the E5xx series indeed.

  16. dong says:

    @sir abe: a bit off topic. do you have any news/update on the release of huawei ideos here in the philippines? read a blog post regarding the launch that is supposed to be today (december 1). TIA

  17. JayB says:

    Is this available in Vmall Greenhills? And which store? TIA

  18. Teknisyan says:

    Hotspot in your pocket!!

    Heheh.. nice… I’m not sure kung mag pickup ang ganitong device a pinas, considering the cost of the plans and the type of service they (Smart and Globe) have.

  19. Jeric says:

    is that windows 7 on a macbook? dual boot?

  20. Harley says:

    is it available in davao? i really want this since my wimax from globe is not so reliable! i have a lappy and berry.

    thanks for the very nice review! worth buying indeed!

    peace!

  21. jerome says:

    Using the uk branded one from ebay. Easy to setup and use. Got it off ebay. Works like a charm!

  22. yuga says:

    @dong – launch is today.

  23. islacom philippines says:

    I currently own the older model the one on the right. Open line.
    works well especially with Globe Sim.
    If only we could find a way to bypass the fair user clause set by Globe
    1GB quota cap usage.

    Globe is better if you are moving.

    The one that Yuga got looks great. and it seems to have a better battery than the previous model.

    Question: Does it have the same battery as the old model, the one on the right?

  24. Jhay says:

    I guess it’s worth every centavo.

    Careful about surfing the web while driving a car. It’s no different from texting while driving. It could be a recipe for disaster.

  25. jun says:

    thanks.. I will try to contact someone in manila to get me one there :) salamat

  26. jcruze057 says:

    can I tradein my huawei E5832?

  27. jcruze057 says:

    can I trade in my E5832?

  28. tic says:

    hello sir abe! i have a question po, kc sa province namin we don’t have 3G signal, only GPRS and sometimes edge. will this pocket myfi work?

    thanks a lot!

  29. xtian1986 says:

    nexus one wifi tethering = problem solved.

  30. xtian1986 says:

    i mean Android.

  31. amon says:

    am i the only one who notices that he used Windows 7 Pro on his MacBook? i gotta buy that Myfi too.

  32. Diane says:

    @tic – Yes the Myfi will work. It supports both 2g and 3g services

  33. Bryan says:

    @amon: nope, back read and see for yourself hehe.

  34. pathetic says:

    you can purchase to thinkPC Online for only 5,999 only. order now! http://www.thinkPC.com.ph

  35. oyo says:

    Bought it 5350php ATC 3rd floor. Model Huawei E585 open to all sim cards.Older Model 4k at Globe Telcom. but it is lock to globe. iPad wifi-now its iPad wifi+3g with this device and can connect 4 more gadgets. Now that is uber cool :)))))

  36. kimpossible says:

    sa infomax moa nasa 15k ito. tapos yung ideos 22k daw. di ba overpriced?

  37. ces says:

    bought one straight from gcomm. they were super helpful and i was able to get my unit delivered to me within a few days! awesome buy! :D

  38. jun says:

    just contact thinkpc.. and had reservation online.. and pick it up at thinkpc sm north edsa… nice staff.. very helpful..

  39. hello sir abe! i have a question po, kc sa province namin we don’t have 3G signal, only GPRS and sometimes edge. will this pocket myfi work?

  40. Katy says:

    Bought this last Nov and now planning to use it in HK too, Where do i buy the One2Free sim and how much is the rate for data?

  41. mimi says:

    @ Internet Hizmetleri – Yes the device will still work on 2g, but of course tour download/upload will be faster if you have 3g

    @ Katy – There is a one2free store in Causeway Bay near Times Square. But when I was there out of stock so I bought a “3” data SIM from 7Eleven. The SIM with HK$ 69 load was $69 and unlimited data for 24 hrs was only HK$28. Good deal & super fast speed!

  42. new2E5 says:

    sino po may alam how to set this up with Sun Broadband SIM card? i was able to make this work pero ANG BAGAL. then laging na-didisconnect yung wifi connection. perhaps i just did something wrong, kaya kung sino po may alam, can you refer me a site or something, or you can reply here. thanks!

  43. Tess says:

    @ new2E5 – try changing the mobile network setting to WCDMA Only. Log on to your routers config page and switch to WCDMA only instead of WCDMA preferred. Make sure your disconnected from the network first before changing it or you can’t

  44. new2E5 says:

    @Tess. thanks! kinalikot ko na yung config then i was able to make it stable and fast. And i also changed that setting

  45. Blake Griffin says:

    Get yours now available at Villman Stores

    you can have this and pay with 6 months installment
    Zero interest

    Go get one now!

  46. jun says:

    i own e5836, got in thinkpc at sm north.. cool.. just tried globe and smart.. it is working… much better connection with my pluggit..

  47. exespert says:

    yuga you posted the distributor of huawei e5…

    i wonder if i can also get other product from them like huawei fones?

    like U8800 IDEOS X5 which is cherry mobile nova at a much lower price?

    BTW im planning to get this huawei e5 for my GF, thats why im asking so that ill buy them at the same time if possible.

  48. m says:

    anyone who tried the huawei e5830 from suncel? i just got one last week..the battery won’t last an hour! the unit doesn’t serve the name “pocket” as in, kasi i have to make sure it is connected to my laptop or tablet via its cable.
    i wonder why, only 2 days from the time i got the unit i went back to sun shop megamall and complained about it,,,they replaced naman kasi me 7 days replacement warranty, kaso ganun pa din.
    the battery icon will blink (red) then after a few minutes it will blink green then steady green..when you detach the cable, it will blink red again.
    tried to charge for an hour, 2, 3, sometimes nag overnight na wala pa din.
    anyone who have the same experience?

  49. Aivan says:

    What is `CSL` network?

  50. Lauren says:

    Hi! I found this review of the huawei E5 Pocket wifi very helpful that I bought myself one. I find it hard to use here in the philippines though since I put in a prepaid sim card in, though if there is load, the reception is great. I bought all smart, sun and globe prepaid sim cards to try out who’s got the better coverage (since sim cards are so cheap nowadays).

    anyway, I find myself going to be in HK in a few months, and may be travelling there for quite a few times a year. With international roaming rates of globe (my main line) a bill shocker, I want to try out the pocket wifi when i go there. I saw that you got the csl one2free sim on it. I found myself researching on prepaid sims of hongkong, but sadly most of them talk about mobile data prepaid plans. I know I only need a 3g/edge sim for the pocket wifi to work, but I am confused to which one to choose. Please help! email me anytime! thanks in advance. also I found this site that compares the mobile plans if you need it : http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/14262632-post15.html

    hope you can help me :)

  51. John says:

    Hi! Does in needs load? Malaki ba ang kuha ng load?

  52. Joseph says:

    Hi! Can anyone help me with the E5? I don’t quite understand what is the “connect” button for. I tried switching it off by depressing the button but nothing happened. I also did not see the “Global” icon when I first used it. I am using a post-paid mobile broadband SIM card from a local service provider in Singapore. The Big RED one! Cheers

  53. arj says:

    is it possible to openline this with those that are locked with certain telecos?

  54. AkoSiBatMan says:

    Would this work in the US, using T-Mobile, Virgin, or AT&T? Thanks! :)

  55. Tata says:

    I would like to know if there is cheaper on it…i have cheaper phone here in united states but it is not open line…kaya nga if pwde young cellphone na mura lang…

  56. Bon says:

    Saw this deal on YugaDeals. Looks like it was just lifted off from a Huawei E5836s seller on TipidPC. Not much of a ‘deal’.

  57. Nicky says:

    kailangan ba yan ng Load??

  58. Polariz says:

    Pwede pa rin ba akong maka-supersurf50(globe) or unlisurf50 (smart) if ever I use this Huawei E5?

    please reply..so I can decide if I’ll buy it or not..

  59. Rizza says:

    has anyone tested how far can you put the devices from the mifi?

  60. razorous says:

    Hi, where are the good spots in Manila that can give you fast 3G connection? I got my MyFi from Globe, but I am only getting 0.50mbps below when doing speedtest via ipod touch… :(

  61. Lisa says:

    I bought one after reading this blog (that was a few months ago). Sad to say, I was NEVER successful in getting the signal strong enough to get me to any website. I bought Huawei E585 from a store in Megamall, that has “3GB” sticker, and the “Three.co.uk” logo on the box. I used a prepaid Globe tattoo SIM, and even our postpaid 3G Smart SIM, to no avail. I have tried it on different occasions, different places where normal internet signal is available. The unit has full bar signal on its icon, but it doesn’t get me anywhere. Anyone can explain why this is so?

    • razorous says:

      Settings probably… The Huawei E5 we got from Globe had different profiles/preset in its setup page for 2G, 3G, etc. I’m guessing since yours is not from any local isp, you might have to enter these details manually: apn, username, password, dail-up no. etc

  62. alex says:

    Can some one help me port forward this device. Tnx in advancd

  63. Lala says:

    My pocket wifi from sun cell is Huawei E5832, does the E5830 battery extender also fit my pocket wifi? I also have the same problem with its battery. I sometimes just use a charger to directly charge it compared to charging it thru plugging in my laptop

    please help.

  64. oliver says:

    hi, i have the E5832 from sun, all good and running smoothly, i only got one slight concern, coz when i installed it on my desktop, windows 7 specifically, the LAN icon appeared to be a signal connection and says “unidentified network” but i have an internet access, does anyone know a tweak on how to change it or turn it back to its original state? thanks in advance!!!!!

    • honeychai says:

      hello Oliver just bought my pocket wifi from suncel and i’m running Windows 7 as well and after installation i’m having the same connection as what you’re getting..i thought there’s something wrong with my settings or pc , well probably it’s the OS since if you check the user guide their sample is using a Windows vista..if you have some insights or answers to this can you pls let me know? i wud very much appreciate help..connection is ok don’t have any problems.. thanks

  65. @HuaweiDevicePH Good morning! Please follow us as we simply share news on innovative devices that we are excited to share with Filipinos! #Letssimplyshare :)

  66. Janssen says:

    Hi, What is the service provider you tried in HK? Thank you.

  67. Jay says:

    To those who needs compatible charger, try to look for Motorola chargers, and look for higher amperes or milli amperes so it will charge faster, although a much higher 5.3v should be ideal but 5v w/ 1000ma is ok, I’m still checking how long it should be charge but it’s better than pc USB charging..and keep it set on 20min standby mode if not being use to save battery.

  68. Bob Reyes says:

    Is there an app that can tap the SMS function of the Huawei E5 aside from the built-in one that should be accessed using a web browser?

  69. Does anyone know when the replacement iphone os being brought in?

  70. Jet says:

    This article is so informative and helpful – I needed to know if there are any mifi units i could buy (Smart or Globe etc) while here in the Phils. on vacation.

    The price didn’t matter (well it did) coz even online (amazon) it’s pretty much the same $$. I was decided to get one (open-line unit) but didn’t have enough time when I arrived.

    For the 1st few hours in the Phils., I was just using my phone to access the net with my Smart prepaid sim i bought the moment i got here, UNLI 50 (Php50 for 24hrs). not bad.

    Now in the province, I remember dowloading almost a year ago a so-called JOIKUSPOT on my Nokia E51), pero never tried it before. I checked my phone downloads and minutes later, I have my E51 as my 3G modem/ hotspot and using UNLI 50 (smart sim)…. My laptop and ipad can see it as a free wi-fi, my nephews were able to connect too.

    PROS – it’s free. (Joikuspot light version)
    – waaaaay faster than Smartbro i used to have.

    CONs – it’ll eat up your cel battery so fast that it’s better to plug it in continuously while connected.
    – you cant change the name Joikuspot as SSID and cant put a password, so anyone w/in range can access w/o u knowing it.

    – be aware of your 24hr. period time, otherwise you’ll be charged 10pesos/30mins. use (that happened to me! 2.5hrs!:))
    – their full version costs 9 euros!

    For those who want cool gadgets, then the Huawei mifi is yours. I myself wanted one too. Otherwise, this Joiku stuff will do the work. Really not bad for a free download. :))

  71. nixon says:

    is there some one who knows to openline the E5832S? TIA.

  72. Stefano says:

    Hi Sir Yuga,

    I thought this is just like the Globe USB dongle. Why am I having a hardtime installing to my laptop of windows 7 premium OS? Is there an app that can tap the SMS function of the modem like the dongle?

  73. I don’t normally look at these kinds of internet sites (I’m a pretty shy person) – but even though I was a bit shocked as I was reading, I was undoubtedly a bit excited as effectively. Thanks for giving me a big smile for the day

  74. ron gervacio says:

    how much e5 wifi

  75. biztech0514 says:

    Two new Huawei Mobile WiFi are available. Huawei Mobile WiFi E586 (up to 21 Mbps) Srp is PhP5990 while the E560 (up to 7.2 Mbps) is PhP399.This connects up to 5 devices simultaneously.

    • ron says:

      Huawei Mobile WiFi E586 (up to 21 Mbps) PhP5990 Huawei Mobile WiFi E560 (up to 7.2 Mbps) PhP399 ?

      this is the correct price?

      thank you!

  76. acero says:

    what is default password of this unit?

  77. madz says:

    is there a huawei device that can support both desktop and wifi devices?

  78. rowena galvez says:

    i was very interested with this product since i am planning to go to HK in 2 months time and i read that wifi in HK is NOT FREE.so i was thinking like if i still use my globe postpaid internet sim with this device, will i still get a signal in HK? or do i really need to switch sim cards? please tell me what you think.

  79. Chenggai says:

    Does anyone know how to make this openline so I can use it on Smart sim?

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