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Back to Blog • Posted on November 11, 2014 by admin
Mobile hotspots have gone from a luxury to must-have accessory for many business travelers. Most smartphones have since added hotspot functionality, but it is not a dedicated hotspot that doesn’t drain the phone’s all-important battery.
This is why companies like Novatel Wireless are insistent upon rolling out new hotspots every so often. But really, why upgrade? The network hasn’t changed; last year’s Verizon hotspots already had LTE support. Well, it turns out that Verizon’ Novatel Wireless-sourced Jetpack 4620L actually does have a better display — but that’s only part of the story. On closer inspection there are a number of differences: the bright chrome accents are gone, for one (these kinds of devices tend to get abused and thrown around), Along the lower edge, you’ve got a standard Micro USB port, multicolor LED (which flashes different colors depending on charging state and type of network you’re connected to), and an external antenna connector protected by a rubber flap.
The 4620L comes with two battery options and battery covers. The standard battery comes in at 1,500mAh and the extended one rated at 3,000mAh. With the standard battery attached, the device looks roughly the same as older MiFis. One would be hard-pressed in a quick glance to tell the 4620L from the older 4510L that it replaces. The 1,5000 mAh battery will provide 3.5 hours of battery life; comparable to the 4510L. But the optional extended battery will last up to 7 hours, double that of its predecessor.
Perhaps the most annoying thing about the 4510L was that it was needlessly fussy about charging. You couldn’t use it either as a hotspot or a tethered modem while charging over a computer’s USB port. In other words, it was useless when the battery was low. Thankfully, that’s been totally fixed out of the box in the 4620L — charging is now totally effortless whether you’re connecting it to a wall charger or a PC.
Download speeds also have a slight performance upgrade when compared to its predecessor. In most cases the 4620L sports DL speeds from 8.5Mbps to 12.5Mbps and uploads of 4.5Mbps to 10.5Mbps; ping times are consistently around 50ms. These are all good numbers and roughly what one would expect knowing the carrier’s typical LTE performance capabilities. The 4510L tended to clock in slightly slower. However, the real advantage is the consistency of performance. While the 4510L frequently experienced network hiccups and disconnects, this is rarely the case with the 4620L. Again, this was expected of a 2nd Generation 4G LTE device, and Novatel did not fail to deliver on this expectation.
Overall, the differences between these two devices may be only sin-deep. However, the range of slight upgrades on the 4620L from the 4510L makes for a much more stable device. With newer models coming out every 8-12 months, this iteration in the Jetpack series has already maintained its viability through three generations. It’s only current failure is it’s inability to connect on Verizon’s new 4G XLTE network. While this may cause some to rush out and purchase the MHS291, or 5510L, the reality is this network is not all its made out to be. Essentially, XLTE serves to only expand LTE network coverage on a new band, and reduce the traffic burden on urban LTE networks. In essence, the existence of the XLTE may help the speed performance of the 4620L, and unless you are in a rural area with XLTE only, the 4620L is not a significantly less competent than new Novatel devices.