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QUICKVIEW: Huawei E180 HSPA Mobile Broadband USB-Stick
Posted by Arne Hess - on Monday, 24.08.09 - 18:05:57 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 29492x
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Not yet the latest but still one of the feature-richest, functional and stylish Huawei mobile 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.

The overall 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).

Final Conclusion

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 America).
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

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