Those of you who’ve been wondering whether or not to put a MiFi on their Christmas lists might still be asking themselves whether it is really worth it.
MiFis are the pocket-sized mobile wireless hotspots which convert 3G signals into WiFi and I felt just the same about them until I took the plunge and picked up a pre-pay model from Three.
Ok, it’s handy to hook up to your laptop up to WiFi, but what does a MiFi really offer above and beyond the already well established 3G USB dongles on the market? Not a lot.
As for smartphones, well most provide pretty decent on-the-move web access via 3G as well as a reasonable user experience when trying to navigate even the most desktop oriented websites. Therefore, why swap your phone’s native 3G capability for a WiFi signal from your MiFi, which is really only converted 3G signal from another network?
Well, here’s a great example of why I always have my MiFi in my pocket.
As an O2 customer in the UK, I’ve taken up the offer from Sky TV of three months free streaming Sky Sports on my iPhone via their freely available Mobile TV app from the iTunes Store. Why? Well because it’s free of course, but also because I like the idea of dipping into the odd football match or news report when I’m out and about.
The downside is, the Sky application doesn’t allow streaming via a a 3G signal, therefore limiting my usage to when I’m at home (when, frankly, I’ll be watching it on TV). The good news is, the app does allow streaming over a WiFi connection and is more than happy with the signal pumped out by my MiFi. So, whilst it might just be converted 3G, it is more than good enough to allow me to watch great quality, flicker-free half-time scores and updates on Sky Sports Saturday whilst I’m pitchside at a real match.
Whilst I’m there, I can also boost any photos I take straight up to Flickr using the Eye-Fi card in my camera. So that’s a double whammy for Mi-Fi and another reason to top-up the data when my first bundle dries up.