yet the latest but still one of the feature-richest, functional and stylish
broadband USB sticks is the Huawei E180. At a size of 80 x 26 x 10 mm the stick weights
22 gram only and is based on a
Qualcomm 6290 chip. The E180 supports quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE Class 12 as well
as dualband UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA at 900/2100 MHz with HSDPA support up to 7.2 Mbps and
HSUPA support up to 2 Mbps (but the stick is 5.76 Mbps ready with a yet to be
released firmware upgrade). Quite typical for a Huawei USB stick is a the micoSD card slot which allows
to use the stick as USB drive as well.
Unlike many entry-market USB sticks which come with an easy to lose
protection cap, the E180 features an innovative swiveling USB connector and
basically, there are no removable parts which can be lost. However, the
swiveling USB connector has another advantage as well, it's adjustable in 0, 45
and 90° which can improve the reception in weak areas as well as it makes the
use on a Notebook, but especially on a Netbook more convenient.
quality is Huawei-typical rocking solid and the plastic doesn't feels cheaper at
all since it's a kind of matt black soft-touch finishing.
Like all the latest Huawei sticks, the E180 supports Microsoft Windows
2000/XP/Vista and - even not officially mentioned yet - Windows 7 as well as
Apple Mac OS and Linux and the installation on a Windows PC is plug-n-play, as
expected. After the stick is plugged-in, Windows recognizes the stick and
installs the drivers and connection manager software, which Huawei calls "Mobile
Partner", straight from the USB stick. There's neither a CD-ROM delivered with
the E180 nor is one needed. After the Mobile Partner is installed, the stick
can be used immediately since a reboot isn't necessary at all.
The used Mobile Partner version is the one Huawei uses for most of its HSPA
sticks today and offers a connection and profile manager, real time statistics
overview, and SMS interface and a phonebook which can be used to edit, add or
delete contacts on the SIM card. However, the stick cannot be used for circuit
switched voice calls (except VoIP-based calls).
As mentioned before, the E180 represents Huawei's generation slighly more
expensive but also nicer looking and smarter WCDMA sticks. As always,
the stick isn't available directly from Huawei but through carrier partners only
(often under a different name). Since it features the latest available HSDPA
speed (7.2 Mbps) and is 5.76 Mbps HSUPA ready, technology-wise it's a worth purchase.
Nevertheless, keep in mind it's not a world-roamer at all because it only
supports UMTS at 900/2100 MHz (and therefore WCDMA cannot be used in North
Design-wise it's one of the best looking UMTS sticks anyway and I definitely
like the swiveling USB connector because there's no cap which can be lost as
well as it allows to adjust the stick in the best and most useful position.
Cheers ~ Arne