I have spent the last thirty days with Verizon’s 4G network and first LTE USB modem. There is only one thing I can say: HOLY [email protected]&T!! This modem is fast! I mean BLAZING fast!! There is not much you cannot download, stream, or access over the Verizon 4G network.
Out of the box, the LG VL600 measures 3.9 x 1.5 x 0.6 inches and weighing 1.8 ounces. It is encased in a simple and sleek black enclosure. The USB adapter flips out of the enclosure with a four-color LED service indicator. Additionally, there is a USB extension cable to attach the device to a laptop screen to improve reception (though I never used it). Setup is automated and easy. Just pop in the included driver CD or download the latest VZW Manager software – then you are good to go.
The LG VL600 USB modem delivered the fastest mobile wireless downloads I have EVER experienced. It was shocking. Over a month’s time, I tested the Verizon Chicago LTE deployment. This included locations in the Loop, West Loop, South Loop, Northwest Suburbs, West Suburbs, and Lake Geneva, WI.
Needless to say, Verizon has done an excellent job covering the city and its surrounding suburbs. Using Speakeasy Speed Test (www.speakeasy.net/speedtest), my best tests achieved download and upload speeds of 21.4 Mbps and 8.3 Mbps respectively. That’s 4-5 times faster than the Verizon and AT&T 3G services – combined. I even tried the LG VL600 on the ‘El’. Riding the Blue and Red Lines, I achieved consistent download speeds between 7.5 – 9.2 Mbps with uploads speed at 3.6 Mbps. These numbers are incredible considering the train was moving at 35 – 45 mph. Even more impressive, while driving at 65 mph to and from Lake Geneva, WI, the LG VL600 reached download speeds of 7.8 Mbps and upload speeds of 2.2 – 3.6 Mbps. I was able to download movies from iTunes, stream music from Pandora, and connect to a corporate network via VPN. Verizon 4G LTE is truly impressive.
The LG VL600 costs $99.99 with a 2-year contract ($249.99 Full Retail Price). You won’t overpay for the Verizon 4G LTE network. For $10 more than a 3G-only plan, a user can start on 4G. Verizon 4G service plans are as follows:
- $50/mo. for 5GB
- $80/mo. for 10GB
- Overage charges are $10 per GB
Compared to other wireless carriers, Verizon’s plans are middle of the road.
- Sprint offers a $59 3G/4G plan for unlimited 4G data (a 5GB cap applies to 3G data-only)
- T-Mobile’s 5GB plan (w/ Unlimited Hotspots) for 4G modems costs only $49.99/mo
- AT&T’s DataConnect 3G/4G plan costs $50.00/mo for 5GB
- Clear charges $55/mo for 3G/4G with unlimited 4G OR 4G only for $45 per month.
LIKES: Speed, performance = WICKED (that’s good)
DISLIKES: No unlimited plans. Modem is bulky. Sticks out from notebook. Blocks other USB ports. No Mac support (yet)
BOTTOM LINE: LG VL600 allows access to Verizon’s amazing 4G LTE network. The VL600 is faster than offering by Sprint WiMax and T-Mobile HSPA+ networks. While testing shows incredible performance and speed, data speeds will probably dip as more wireless subscribers join and use the network. As impressive as the performance of the VL600 is, device size, plan pricing, and lack of unlimited plans are disappointing.