I think I've used my Huawei E5 around 5 times outside my home office already since I got the device two weeks ago. So far, the experience has been great.
Me with the 'Wow-Huawei' girls during the Philippine launch of Huawei E5
Let me share the 5 things I like about this portable router;
1. You can use it with any service provider.
Unlike other portable wifi devices, my Huawei E5 is not locked to one service provider. You can use Smart, Sun or Globe SIM card with this one.
2. It's easy to use.
The only thing that's a bit complicated about using it is the set-up (, which Jeremy will explain later) and trust me, it's even that hard to do. After doing the quick install, connecting to it is a breeze.
3. Its design matches that of my other gadgets.
Huawei E5 looks sleek. Its silver finish and minimalistic appeal make it an ideal device to pair with my iPod Touch 4G, titanium-plated ThinkPad and HTC Legend, at least looks-wise. I think it also looks great with my Nokia N900 and Nokia N8.
4. It's quite durable.
Last night, I accidentally dropped my E5 on a wooden floor from a height of around three feet and amazingly, it came out unscathed. Now, I'm not recommending you try this with your device or with a demo unit. What I'm saying is, this device won't break just like that.
5. It underwent quality assurance and it's NTC-approved
All Huawei E5 units from GComm are approved by NTC, have undergone QA and come with warranty. So you can rest assured about what you're getting and the after-sales support.
So am I recommending it? Yes. Here's the thing; At around Php 6,000, I have to admit that Huawei E5's price tag is a bit on the steep side. However, what you're paying for here is having the flexibility to use any service provider anywhere you are, at any given point. This should come in handy when dealing with location-based signal strength. With Huawei E5, you can swap SIM cards depending on which service provider has the stronger signal in your location.
iPad and Huawei E5
Last month, GComm lent a review unit to my friend, Jeremy Go of Second Wind Running Store. Here's what he wrote about the experience of pairing the device with his iPad;
My Huawei E5 Review: (aka An Idiot's Guide to Using the Huawei E5)
It has been a few weeks now since I’ve had to return the E5 tester unit which I was using and I miss it terribly. Along with my WiFi only iPad, it had become a never-leave-home without it gadget. I can honestly say that being stuck in traffic is so much easier when you can facebook and youtube, all in a 9 inch screen!
Now, I have to admit, it was not always smooth sailing for me and the Huawei. The 1st few days, I couldn’t use it at all! Let me explain why.
When I 1st got the tester unit, I came with the unit and a USB cord.
The unit itself was pretty much like a cellphone with no keypad and/or speaker. Opening it up, looks something like this.
All you have to do was insert a SIM card, ensure the battery is fully topped up and you’re good to go... or so I thought anyway.
With regard to the SIM Card, I had wanted to try all 3 providers but I could only find a Smart and Sun SIM only package, the only Tattoo SIM I could find was bundled with a USB modem, which I obviously did not need. Oh well, Smart and Sun it is.
I started with the Sun SIM and charged up the E5 by attaching it to my laptop. After an hour or so, I turned it on and a minute or so later it started broadcasting a signal. I quickly clicked on the E-5XXX on my iPad setting and was asked for a password, which was helpfully written on the back of the E5. ( You can change the name of the device and the Wifi password in the settings later on.)
So there, my iPad was connect, the E5 had a signal, I was ready to go... or so I thought.
Err, no. Long story short, I was not connected to the internet. Hmm, I bet the Greenhills dealer ripped me off by selling me a defective SIM card! No matter, good thing, I bought two! Err, same problem with the Smart SIM couldn’t connect to the internet... Grrr, rotten dealer, all his cards must be defective!
No matter, I will not be deterred! I’ll use a SIM card which I know works!
Dad, can I borrow your WeRoam modem? I just need to borrow the SIM Card.
Long Story short... still no internet. Hmmm, I’m pretty sure I’m missing something, what could it be??? Well, I’ll figure that out tomorrow.
So ends my 1st day with the E5!
Anyway, I won’t bore you with the details of how I finally figured it out, let me just say that the internet is a valuable tool!
The problem turned out to be that I didn’t set the “config settings” (Yeah, it’s a techie term, but stay with me here, we’ll get through it together), I had thought it would be like a cellphone or a USB disk which is “plug and play”, apparently not.
This forum turned out to be particularly helpful and I finally got the E5 to work after playing with the quick set up feature. (Please note that the screen shots in the forum will be different as they seem to be using an older version of the E5 and that 99% of the time, admin passwords is “admin”.)
Anyway, after all the techie stuff was over and done with, my life with the E5 was a breeze. It would automatically connect every time I turned it on and my iPad never had a problem paring to it. When I needed it I would turn it on and place it in my pocket and I was ready to go anywhere!
Signal and speedwise, I’d say that Smart had better coverage than SUN and I never really had issues with download speed. Sure it’s not blinding fast, but was never frustratingly slow either. Though I would have to say there were some, very few times when I couldn’t seem to get a signal.
During my time with the E5, there were a lot of cool “features” I discovered with the device, one, it that since it uses a USB to mini USB charger, I can use my iPad charger to charge it and also the car charger I use for my Motorola. The car charger thing was particular useful as battery life was a little less than I would prefer around 3-4 hours of continuous use.
Last thought, the one thing which really makes my iPad + E5 combo better than my father’s iPad 3G is that I can share Wifi. These days almost everyone had a Wifi smart phone. I once had 3 of my friends checking NBA scores, stock prices and reading news all from my 1 device!
That being said, while I would definitely love to purchase a Mifi device, I am still hesitant over the almost 6k price tag, especially since Globe and Smart offer monthly installer on their (older) Mifi devices. (Editor's note: Then again, those mifi devices are locked to one service provider) Perhaps if Huawei would offer a 6 or 12 month no interest plan, I’ll be hooked! (Editor's note: That's a good idea, actually. Maybe GComm can partner with credit card companies to offer monthly installment plans on their devices. Needless to say, it's a highly-effective way to sell gadgets at least here in the Philippines.)