Battle of the Netgear Hotspots: Unite Express Vs Unite Pro

The Netgear Unite Express and it’s sibling the Unite Pro are, at first glance, very different. So, because if that, is there any point comparing them?

The answer is a clear yes. Although the names alone imply two different ends of the same range, are the differences really so great? If you can do all you need with the Express, which is available at a much lower price than the Pro, why wouldn’t you? Conversely, if you can make use of all the extra power and capabilities of the Pro, again why wouldn’t you?

In essence, all mobile hotspots do the same thing. They allow you and up to 10 or 15 other people all use a single mobile data connection. This is good for controlling what your kids are up to, or keeping a check on data or roaming costs.

For the purposes of this comparison, we should say that the Pro does do things a bit better, a bit easier and for quite a bit longer.

Unite Express

Unite Pro

Size (inches)

4.4 x 2.7 x 0.6

4.41 x 2.68 x 0.75

Weight (ounces)

4.65.82

Touchscreen

No

Yes

Screen Size

1.77”2.4”

Device Slots

10

15

Content/Site Filtering

NoYes

Guest Login

Yes

Yes

MicroSD Card

NoNo

Data Speed

4G

4G

Battery Capacity

2500mAh2500mAh

Battery Life

10hrs

16hrs

Battery Boost Feature

NoYes

Rugged

No

No

Big Differences

There are a couple of quite obvious differences which, on the face of it, might cause you to choose the Unite Pro over the Express.

Netgear Unite Pro Mobile Hotspot Front Image

Netgear Unite Pro

The first is the inclusion of a 2.4″ touchscreen which makes setting up and running the device very simple. Adding and changing passwords, allowing guest accounts and more are all done on the touchscreen. With the Express, although there is a 1.77″ color display, it is only good for seeing relevant information. You can see connection status, how many people are connected, the battery life and one or two other things. If you want to actually make changes, you must do so through a web browser.

This can still be done on your smartphone, you don’t need a desktop/laptop to make any of those changes. The Pro’s touchscreen might, though, be a convenience that some people will want or need.

Another is the battery life. Despite having the same battery capacity, the Pro offers 60% more life from a single charge. As the display of any device is one of the biggest battery draining components, this is a pleasant surprise.

Smaller Differences

The number of connections to each device is also quite different. You can connect up to 10 devices to the Express, but up to 15 on the Pro. But how much does that matter? Although it’s a big difference, ask yourself how many times you’re going to need more than 10 slots. You need a pretty big family or to be on vacation with a lot of friends to get any worth out of the extra 5 slots on the Pro.

Netgear Unite Express Tilted

Netgear Unite Express

Looking the other way, the Express has a seemingly big advantage on weight, and also a smaller advantage on size. 4.6 ounces to 5.82 ounces is actually quite a difference in raw terms. The Pro is actually over 20% heavier than the Express. But let’s put that in perspective. If we were talking about cars, or even people, 20% is a lot. It makes one much, much heavier than the other. When we’re talking about something that is about the weight of a pack of cards, though, it doesn’t seem quite such a big deal.

The Unite Pro does have the ability to transfer battery charge to your smartphone which may or may not be useful. Of course, if you take it from the Pro, you have less time before that starts to die. If you have no hotspot, you then have the choice of using your smartphone with all the roaming charges that come with it. It’s a choice, but a great one? We’re not sure.

The Summary

The touchscreen and battery life might just swing it to the Unite Pro for us. Both are considerable upgrades from the Express. Everything else is really just small enhancements.

But, for all that, we’re talking about two mobile hotspots which are very far apart in terms of price. The Unite Express is available at such a low price that it seems criminal to ignore it. Although not quite a “disposable” device for the money, it wouldn’t be that much of a disaster to lose or break it. With the Pro, as good as it is, the cost is likely to warrant you taking a little more care.

Given that you might just throw it in a pocket or bag, can you guarantee it’s safety? Both these mobile hotspots are sure-fire winners. The Pro is an outstanding performer, and well worth the cost if the upgraded display is important for you. The Express, though, it’s so cheap that you’d almost be mad not to buy it.

Rachel C.
Rachel C.
Rachel is the researcher and blog writer for the Mr Aberthon website. She grew up in Brooklyn, New York and eventually made her way to Connecticut in order to become a part of the Mr Aberthon Team. She is passionate about technology and electronics, and nothing gives her more pleasure than discovering insights into the latest gadgets to hit the electronics market.