If you want to buy a data card and confused about the features, companies and pricing. Then this topic will definitely help you and give some good data card buying tips. When it comes to electronics gadgets, many times we are misled by retailers and e-commerce websites. Why? Because we are not aware about that technology and how it works. If it comes to data cards, I have seen many people bought a WCDMA data cards and complain about slow 3G speed. Let’s get rid of these confusions and proceed to buying tips for data cards.
1. How much connectivity speed a data card supports?
This is the most important factor about data cards. Many of us do not know about the technical information like what is WCDMA, HSDPA and so on.
we will not going to discuss the details of the technology (It will be a very long story, even if we will just define and differentiate the technical terms). You may check this wikipedia article to know about mobile broadband. But, you should make sure that the device you are going to buy is not just a 384 Kbps speed device. To get the good internet speed buy data card having 3.6 Mbps (or 7.2Mbps will be a better choice) connectivity speed. All modems show this information on the product manual or description on the box. If you are looking on e-commerce websites then check the description.
Also, depending on the location you may choose a high speed data card. Countries like USA and UK, who adopts early technologies, residents should buy relatively costlier modems. e.g. which may support 4G also or can provide speed up to 21 Mbps. (Like this Modem)
If you live in India or other developing countries where latest technologies are costly or even not available then you might consider a cheaper ones. (Like this one)
2. What should be the price range?
Another important factor is pricing. A $25 modem is better than $75 ones, if you can’t cover the cost within a year or two. Since, Mobile technology is changing and getting better and better than there is no need to waste money if it is not cost-effective.
Also, 3G modem will have no role in status symbol so it will be a wise decision to choose a relatively cheap data card dongle.
3. Which company I should rely?
Deciding the brand is not hard with Dongles or modem for people. Choose a relatively established company who have good support in your local area. Nobody will like to wait for a long time for a cheap ($25 or Rs. 1500) devices.
So, Brand do not matters a lot.
4. Is my data card locked by network?
Another important factor about the data card is it locked or unlocked. This is more important factor than brand if you are going to buy a cheap data card. Normally, If you buy a data card from your operator. You have much chance to get a locked Dongle. And in this conditions, we can’t use that data card with other networks.
Choose an unlocked data card dongle instead of locked unless there is a huge margin in the pricing.
5. Where to buy a data card?
I guess this will be the last question in your mind. And the best answer in short is “Compare data cards online” and choose the best one for you. Then go to your local market and compare the price (if possible).
Purchase the device from local market or online shopping. The choice is yours. There will be no difference where you buy the data cards. The only thing you should consider is pricing. Also If you choose to go local market then you may include the cost of convenience in the price of the modem, If you don’t have anything else to do nearby the market or shop. 😉
6. Additional tips for buying Data cards:
- Now a days almost all dongle are coming along with inbuilt micro SD card reader. Also check this feature.
- Online shopping is not cheaper than moving to local shop.
- If you are buying online then check the product rating and sort with popularity to get the best in your country. This will short the good devices quickly.
- If you live in India, then I will prefer Micromax MMX 353G or Huawei E173. (A cheap 7.2 Mbps modem)
- Or, also check this Huawei E355. It has inbuilt WiFi.
- Some 3G modems comes with inbuilt call functionality also. However, I always doubt over usability of modem as phone. Also check this if it matters to you.
- At last, Check for USSD functionality to check the remaining balance. At least, All indian telecom operator support this feature. It might be sometimes frustrating if you have limited usage 3g plans and have no other way to know remaining balance in your account.
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