Netgear Unite Explore in hand green background

Netgear Unite Explore 815s Review

Mobile hotspots, like the Unite Explore 815s, are a great way to help make sure that you can stay connected on all your devices even when you’re away from the office. Picking out the perfect hotspot device can take a bit time. Hopefully, this Netgear Unite Explore 815 review will help make it easier.

Keep reading to learn all of our insider secrets.

Our Review of the Unite Explore 815s

Unite Explore on concrete front view

The Unite Explore 815s is without a doubt one of the top hotspots on the market. It’s powerful and has an incredible battery life. The design is simple and the interface is user-friendly. In review, it is a tremendous hotspot device.

The electronics experts at Mr Aberthon give the Unite Explore a ranking of 4.8/5, which makes it one of the highest ranking hotspots available.

It’s price of $159 (with free shipping) makes it our #1 choice when recommending affordable brand new hotspots to our customers. This is the most competitive price on the market.

Specifications of Netgear Unite Explore 815s

Netgear Unite Explore 815 Tilted Front View
Netgear Unite Explore 815
Size4.5″ x 2.8″ x 0.8″
Weight6.3 oz
Screen Size2.4″
Resolution320 x 240
Device Slots15
Content FilteringYes
Guest LoginYes
Battery4340 mAh battery

Build and Looks

Netgear Unite Explore 815 water splash

Let begin our review of the Netgear Unite Explore 815 with the easiest topic, its looks! In case you’ve never seen the Unite Explore mobile hotspot , the design is pretty simple. Size wise, it’s about the size and shape of a deck of cards, but slightly more bulky.

The Explore is 4.5 x 2.8 x 0.8 inches, and weighs 6.3 oz. This means it is convenient enough to fit in any pocket or bag. Even though holding the device isn’t necessary in normal use, it still feels solid and easy to grip.

Looks wise, there isn’t a lot to tell. There’s a small color screen, which gives information such as connection strength, battery life, number of connected devices etc. It isn’t a touch screen, which does give some of its competitors a slight advantage. Despite that, setup via any browser, including on your phone, is easy.


Netgear Unite Explore on brick wall with leaves

A surprising feature is the Unite Explore is MIL-STD 810 compliant. This means it’s water and dust proof, plus shockproof to the extent where the odd drop shouldn’t cause any damage. Should you leave it in a backpack or other bag, and this gets wet, the protection offered means the Explore will likely survive its dip.


Netgear Unite Explore 815 bottom view

These days 4G is a necessity, and 5G is definitely approaching. Unlike some hotspots, which are limited to 3G, the Unite Explore does indeed have 4G. You can connect up to 15 users at any time, do keep in mind that the more you connect, the more strain there is on your mobile data bandwidth. The Explore has Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, so there’s plenty of distribution bandwidth to connected devices, assuming you haven’t overloaded your 4G connection.

In testing, speeds were better than just about any other mobile hotspot, including other 4G models. An added advantage is the use of dual-band Wi-Fi, with both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz in use. This not only means more compatibility with older devices, but that the much less crowded 5 GHz band will allow much better speeds.


Netgear Unite Explore front view

Any connection to the hotspot is via a password, of course. You have the choice of giving this password to friends and family or creating guest access. With guest access, you can specify for how long someone can connect, and provide a single use password.

You also have the option to set filters to prevent kids or someone else accessing content you’d rather they didn’t.

All in all, the security options are what you’d expect from a top of the range mobile hotspot.

Review of Battery

Netgear Unite Explore Replacement Battery w-9

One advantage of mobile hotspots is that the hardware inside is pretty compact. Other that a single PCB and a couple of connectors, there’s little else of note. This leaves tons of room for a large battery, and Netgear haven’t disappointed. The huge 4340 mAh battery will provide up to 22 hrs of use if there is just a single device connection in use. More devices will use more power, of course.

A neat feature is the ability to charge your phone from the Unite Explore. Simply connect the two with the adapter, and the phone will charge as though it is connected to a power source. Charging speed isn’t particularly fast, it is worth noting. It is, though, certainly a great backup in case of power emergencies.

Similar Hotspots to Unite Explore

The unite explore is genuinely one of the best in the market. Here are a few other hotspots that have similar features.

1. ZTE Velocity

ZTE Velocity front view

The ZTE Velocity can connect up to 10 devices at once, so not as many as the Unite Explore 815. Similarly, the Velocity can have a separate guest network. It will generate a one time password so you can keep your regular password private. A downside is the smaller battery capacity, a 2800mAh Li-ion allows for 10 hours of use. Compared to the Unite Explore, it’s 4340mAh battery allows for 22 hours of use. In terms of weight, the Velocity is only an ounce lighter than the Unite Explore 815.

2. Netgear NightHawk MR1100

Netgear NightHawk front view

The Netgear Nighthawk MR1100 is more for the tech savvy user or someone looking for even more power than the Unite Explore already has to offer. The battery for the Nighthawk is a 5040mAh Li-ion with 24 hours of use. While the battery capacity is larger, the hours of use is only 2 hours longer than the Unite Explore. Where the NightHawk has the upper hand is with connected devices. The NightHawk can connect up to 20 devices at once, its definitely made for sharing with others.

3. Netgear Unite Express

Netgear Unite Express Tilted Front View

The Netgear Unite Express is the most simple of the bunch. Like the ZTE Velocity, it can only connect 10 devices at once. The battery is also smaller than the Unite Explore 815 at 2500mAh with about 10 hours of usage. The Unite Express is more of a budget hotspot for those who do not need the extra frills.

Summary of Unite Explore

Unite explore bottom view on grass

In this review of the Netgear Unite Explore 815 , it’s easy to see why it is a mighty hotspot. It would be easy for companies like Netgear to just produce basic plastic boxes with some sort of air card installed, and not much more. To be fair, though, with the Unite Explore, they’ve created something worthy of the flagship tag.

There are some limitations, such as the lack of a touchscreen, but that becomes less crucial after the initial setup. Battery life is superb, and speed of data transfer is excellent over 4G.

We’d prefer faster charging speeds, but it’s a big battery to fill, so we’re going to give the Unite Explore a break on that one. Overnight is still plenty of time for a full charge.

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