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Once you get past the basics of mobile hotspot features and performance, it gets a little trickier to pick any kind of winner in any kind of comparison exercise. The exercise gets even more difficult when the two devices in the comparison are as good as the Netgear Unite Mobile 770S and the ZTE Velocity.
Both are great performers and will never let you down. But is one of them a worthy victor over the other? Let’s see…
Side By Side
|4.3 x 2.7 x 0.6|
4.5 x 2.7 x 0.5
Yes – Up to 32GB
Battery Boost Feature
As mentioned above, the basics of any mobile hotspot device are fairly similarly catered for as regards the components used. The nature of what they do demands a certain level of convenience and performance. Rarely, though, does it require anything more.
Because of this, manufacturers have chosen to follow a familiar path when designing their latest hotspot releases. For all but the top end hotspots, 10 seems to be the de facto number of possible connected devices. With this comes guest logins and other security features to prevent the network being compromised.
The size and weight of both the Unite 770S and the Velocity also aren’t a million miles apart. The Velocity is a fraction larger and heavier, but it’s so little a difference that you really won’t notice. Battery capacity is slightly different, but the stated life is identical. This probably bodes well for the Unite 770S, as it show it to be more power efficient than the ZTE device. Not by much, but it’s there.
Both hotspots separate themselves from the crowd by incorporating a 2.4″ color touchscreen. This not only provides connection information and signal data, but also means you can do any admin on the device itself. Those hotspots without a touchscreen must be administered via a web browser. It’s not a big deal to do that, but there’s no question that doing it right on the device is very convenient.
With the touchscreen, setting up a new network ID or password takes just seconds. It also makes setting up guest access much easier.
The final excellent addition on both is the implementation of dual-band Wifi. This allows the use of the much less crowded 5Ghz network for Wifi devices, meaning less interference and potentially faster speeds.
And Yet So Far
There’s a glaring omission with all the Netgear mobile hotspot devices, and that’s the lack of a MicroSD Card slot. It might not seem like such a big deal. But when you can stick a load of movies on an SD card and all the family can watch them without having to put them on their own phones, it’s a big deal. If you have an old smartphone that you let the kids play games on, add the ability to watch movies and you have a car trip that has the potential to be unlike any previous trips.
It’s not just for movies, of course. You can share any files vis the MicroSD card, as long as the receiving device can handle the file format. This gives the ZTE Velocity a massive advantage over the Unite Mobile 770S, there’s no doubt.
There’s no contest, really. There would have been but for the lack of the MicroSD card slot in the Unite 770S, as everything else is too close to call. Add to that the fact that the ZTE Velocity price tends to be a little lower than the Unite, and it starts to feel like a runaway victory.
In defense of the Unite Mobile 770S, though, it is a fantastic device that shows how good a mobile hotspot can – and should – be. Yes, there’s no card slot but, if that’s not a big deal, then it’s basically a dead heat.