Quick Hands-On With The Sprint Overdrive 3G/4G Hotspot

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Our report from Sprint's bacchanalian Overdrive launch

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Look out, MiFi – Sprint just pushed out your new baby brother, and he looks like a mean one.

The Sprint Overdrive is a mobile hotspot, not unlike the aforementioned MiFi. The idea is simple: turn it on, and you’ve got a WiFi access point pulling down data via Sprint’s third and fourth generation networks.

We just got our hands on the device for the first time, and while it’ll still be a few days before we’ve given it a rough enough run-through for a full review, we’ve got some first impressions to share.

What we like:

  • It booted up quick (about 15 seconds), and connected instantly.
  • It picked up a 4G signal, even in the middle of this thick-walled Vegas casino.
  • Built in GPS receiver
  • The speeds seem pretty dang good at first glance. We’re pulling down pages considerably faster on the Overdrive than we are on the 3G-only Verizon MiFi, though that’s still only about 1 megabit per second. This thing should be pulling down speeds a good amount faster than that, but we are in the middle of a casino during the middle of a cell-phone-packed trade show. We’ll run formal tests tomorrow when I’m in a more standard test environment. I expect it to be perform quite a bit better.
  • The WEP key shows on the device’s built in screen, so there’s no need to write it down and tape it to the back.

What we don’t:

  • Holy crap fingerprints. The Overdrive is made of a very shiny black plastic, which looks great – until you touch it. I’d gladly take a simpler texture if it meant I didn’t have to give this thing a soft cloth rub-down ever 20 seconds.

That’s all for now, folks – check back in a few days, I’m sure we’ll have more to say.

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