Netgear are one of the biggest players in the mobile hotspot marketplace, and manufacture a wide range of models. As with most things we buy every day, usually the more you pay, the more you get. With that in mind, this comparison looks at two of the hotspots a little further up the range.
|4.3 x 2.7 x 0.6|
4.41 x 2.68 x 0.75
Battery Boost Feature
We really need to start by talking about the very big elephant in the room. Or at least the very big battery in the Unite Pro. The 770S actually does a decent job of using the battery capacity it has. 10 hours out of a 2500mAh is pretty much the going rate for mobile hotspots, so it’s not like we can say that the 770S is underpowered. Instead, we need to praise Netgear for squeezing a 4020mAh battery into the Unite Pro. The huge battery gives up to 60% longer out of a single charge than the smaller battery of the 770S, which could be the difference on a long journey.
One of the oddities about high capacity batteries versus low capacity is the physical unit size that’s required. In an age of ever greater miniaturization, batteries are one of the few things that still need big parts for big performance. Current battery performance is still restricted by how much juice can be squeezed into a single cell on the battery. So, by definition, more power means more size which, in turn, means a bigger battery.
This increased size, of course, leads to increased weight and an increased overall case size. The 770S comes in at quite a diminutive 4.3 x 2.7 x 0.6 inches, against the Pro’s slightly bigger 4.41 x 2.68 x 0.75 inches. where the battery really shows itself, though, is in the weight. Again with the 770S, 4.2 ounces is about the average weight for a mobile hotspot, but the Unite Pro comes in at a fairly whopping 5.82 ounces. This trade off of battery power against increased weight will be purely a personal decision. A 40% increase in weight isn’t actually such a big leap with devices of this size, but it might matter.
The bigger battery of the Unite Pro does bring another benefit in that you can offload some of the charge to a dying smartphone battery. This can be very useful in some circumstances, of course.
Now that the battery size and its attendant weight has been dealt with, what about the rest of the comparison? Well, as it goes, there’s not a lot else to choose.
Both have a 2.4″ touchscreen, dual-band Wifi and 4G speeds. The only other material difference is that the Unite Pro can connect up to 15 devices against the 770S’ 10 devices. In real world use, this might not be such a big deal for too many people. If you are routinely connecting more than 10 devices to any mobile data connection via a hotspot, you probably really need more than a mobile hotspot of this type can provide.
If we had to choose a winner, it would likely be the Unite Pro, simply on the basis of that enormous battery. However, would we be happy with then 770S? Absolutely, and without hesitation. If 10 hours is enough battery life for you, then saving a bit of weight turns the potential list of benefits on its head. Aesthetically, the two do look about as different as its possible for two related mobile hotspots to look. The 770S is pretty much a grey block of plastic and glass, whereas the Pro with its slightly concave ends is a little more interesting visually. But we are talking about functional devices, and not design contest entrants, so don’t expect art decoration.