The key to mobile hotspots isn’t so much what they can do, but more whether they do what you need. In the main, mobile hotspots perform a single function, and that is to allow access by more than one device to a single data connection.
There is, however, more to any given hotspot than that. Battery life, administration, login controls and more can all be useful and are all present to one degree or another. All this makes the mobile hotspot market incredibly competitive, where manufacturers try and keep costs down while making sure their devices perform adequately.
Even when two devices are manufactured by the same company, there is still the need to differentiate in some way. And so it is with Netgear and their excellent Unite Express and 770S mobile hotspots. But how different are they? Well, let’s see.
|4.4 x 2.7 x 0.6||4.3 x 2.7 x 0.6|
Battery Boost Feature
The Unite 770S is, if you like, typical of what you might expect from a de facto mobile hotspot. The features and performance encompass all that is needed to have data on the move without the roaming charges that often come with a data contract. But, in a mildly disconcerting about face, some of the features it has aren’t actually absolutely necessary to run the hotspot effectively. Or they are, but not at the level included?
All clear? No, maybe not, so here’s what we mean…
Mobile hotspots, in most circumstances, are very much “set and forget”. That is, once set up after purchase, with passwords etc., most people will never need to go through the process again. It might be necessary to do so, if you are a user of guest logins or one or two other things, but most people never will be. The Unite Mobile 770S has a 2.4″ touchscreen, which is used for all administrative actions on the device. The Express, though, has a 1.77″ display for information purposes only. To perform admin duties, you need to access the Express via a secure web browser interface. After that, you will see battery and connection status, and also the number of current connections.
The 770S, with its color touchscreen means all can be done on the hotspot itself. If you do foresee the need to make changes to the setup, then it makes the 770S the ideal choice.
Really, there isn’t anything else to compare. In almost every other respect, the two devices are identical. A little curiously, despite the extra weight you’d assume would come with having a touchscreen, the 770S actually comes in a little bit smaller and lighter.
The rest – battery life, connection numbers, both being 4G etc., are probably a result of identical components being utilised. The 770S does have some filtering options that the Express doesn’t have, but these are very rudimentary, and completely irrelevant for most needs.
It’s a simple decision. If you need/want a touchscreen, get the 770S. If you don’t, and will have no need to change settings later, get the Express.
Just be aware that the display upgrade does come at a price. Touchscreens are not cheap, and so the 770S is more expensive than the Express. Not by much, but you do need to look at it as another feature to add to the table above.